How Not to Murder Your Husband, is definitely Stephanie Calman's funniest and most brilliant book and an absolute must. My children thought I had gone slightly mad, hearing the explosive laughter coming from my room at night, as I voraciously turned the pages. But this isn't only a satirical "how not to" book, it is also a carefully researched, poignantly executed, analysis of marriage, in the raw. Calman turns her lovingly caustic gaze on everything: sex, arguing, foreplay, childrearing, kitchen habits, garden sheds, therapy, nagging, shopping, bendy time syndrome and of course map reading - most things we deal with very well on our own, but when we share them with a husband they become impossibly difficult.
The book takes you on her journey to try and understand why marriage is so difficult and how, against all odds, some couples stay together. In the end we all know what it is she's saying - being able to laugh about it all, is the only way. One of my favourite chapters in the book is when she is asking her eleven year old son what he thinks about marriage. His thoughtful blunt answers are hysterically funny. When she asks him whether he thinks marriage is easy he replies:
`No. Never easy. Ever.'
This is a little too emphatic. I feel a sting of guilt.
`Why? Is it because we argue so much?'
Stephanie is horrified by this and tries another approach:
`Do your friends' parents have better marriages?"
That's a relief.
And that's it - by opening the door and allowing us in to see the scenes from her marriage and others we fall about laughing cathartically. Her utter honesty helps us to feel that relief as well.
If this book really is written to show how her husband is not as "perfect" as everyone keeps telling her he is, I closed the book at the end and still thought he probably was. In the words of her sister "Staple him to the bed. He is definitely The One." A brilliant book!!!