Some Context

I have the tendency to forget easily, like Dory from Finding Nero. If you asked me why I liked what I read last year, I’d tell you it’s the way the writing stirred some sort of emotion in me,  instead of sharing any details of the book’s plot. If you asked me what happened in Season 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen or Attack of Titan, I wouldn’t be able to share despite me insisting that these are my favourite anime.

The self awareness of my Dory self, together with the health issues that has plagued me over the last 2 months – and the coming 1 – has all cumulated in me being determined to pen down thoughts (that may or may not be spoiler) about books I’ll read this year in 2024.

One of my biggest accomplishments – completing a 328 page book “How To Stay Married” within 2 days…because I sacrificed my sleep and am currently regretting as I write this on the way to work.

It’s perhaps ironic to be reading this, given 1) this line of work which is viewed by many to be breaking marriages 2) I have 0 intention to get married. But a sibling I deeply respect recommended it and it has a 4.2/5 rating on GoodReads (anything above 4 flies with me).


This book, written in biographical style, details the story about the Harrison’s marriage thus far. The beginning candidly tells readers about how the story will spill the tea on how the events of Lauren affair affected the marriage. It hints that they’re still together, though it seemed open enough to leave me wondering if it were true.

At this point I’m questioning how interesting this story can be that it gets such a solid rating. But I continue anyway.

As the book continues, I get more insight into who Harrison is as a person (at least, who he says he is). If I’m honest I almost gave up towards the middle. The marriage seemed to be a mistake from the start and has 2 people, who have yet to grown and develop before marriage, scrambling to pick up the pieces and stay together. Harrison’s humour in his writing grows old and dry and excessive (I stand by this for the middle portion of the book). I’m annoyed by Harrison – he says he doesn’t want to shit on Chad but he does, which I suppose is part of his humour. He tries to be understanding about his wife and show self awareness, but he also doesn’t seem to! I persevere reading anyway – “sunk cost” I tell myself – and it’s worth it, because Harrison proves intellectual, raw and candid; the story riveting. This later half I shall not spoil, because only reading it will allow you to process and digest it in the way I did. Like a novel, I was left wondering how the remainder of the story would unfold.

I loved how:

  • in hindsight, readers can understand and empathise with both the “nature” and “nurture” factors that led to the various decisions in both Harrison and Lauren
  • at the end, there’s a chapter where Lauren herself comes in to write a chapter with her point of view. Short, but I love it.
  • Harrison’s views echos mine in some aspects of life – the irony of the church & its community, the
  • Neither Harrison or Lauren imposes their opinions on the reader. They merely tell their story as is, they share their awareness as is. Just like the community they found that embraced them as is, the way they presented their story felt the same
  • We see the couple’s awareness and growth throughout the story. It’s not linear. They acknowledge the difficulties throughout and the ones that still remain. It’s not a perfect “happy ever after”, and that realist in me LOVES that they’re being ‘real’ (ha ha).
  • Harrison’s humour caught on to me. I might have a better appreciation of the humour in the middle now that I’ve read everything and hindsight is 20/20, but I loved my own thoughts and feelings that grew and developed over the course of reading it. Good books do that to you. For now I still hold true that the front-middle portion ticked me off at times.

Side note: this book is not about convincing you to become a Christian, though the talk about the couple’s relationship with their faith & religion does get brought up in the book (that’s because it’s key to their story). Something to take into account, I suppose?. That said, for the sake of appreciating humour it would be nice to have some knowledge of the Bible. One of the paragraphs I laughed the hardest at involved a Biblical reference. I quote “when you step back, what you find is that Jesus can seem like a real asshole…In Matthew 8, he ruins a perfectly good herd of pigs by filling them with demons and sending them plummeting over a cliff”. LOL. On an unrelated note, he did get his citation of Matthew 25 wrong – it’s Matthew 15. #DYOR, heh. 

Ultimately, this book’s title hints at teaching one how to stay married. But it’s not a self help book and it’s not generalisable to an audience. The nature of their affair and marriage is so unique to their individual story and journey; it has a backstory (or one might call it reasoning). This book is a story, with potentially insightful takeaways or thought provoking paragraphs. As someone who has seen much in her time on earth so far & knowing the stories of many others, I cannot say that this would be relevant, applicable or even relatable.

That said, it was a smooth read, a good one, made easier with Harrison’s sense of humour which I grew to love in the later half. Would I recommend? Yes, yes, and yes.

P.S. To my dear friends who are avid readers, do consider downloading the app Libby (universally available) for reads that you feel are acceptable to do on your phone or tablet. It’s a lovely app, and I’ve used and loved it.

= END = 

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