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And So They Were Married

February 11, 2012

Florence Morse Kingsley’s And So They Were Married is the story of a young woman who, after her engagement, falls under the influence of a social-climbing friend and begins to live beyond her means. My great-grandmother used to say  that cheap is dear and dear is cheap, i.e. don’t practice false economy; buy good stuff and it will last. Elizabeth North’s friend Evelyn Tripp, though, seems to have internalized the “dear is cheap” part without actually understanding what it means. She insists — and somehow convinces Elizabeth — that she “can’t afford” not to live a fashionable and expensive lifestyle. Elizabeth succumbs to this non-logic, but her husband has a good head on his shoulders, and her grandmother is awesome, and with a little help from them the basically sensible Elizabeth eventually pulls herself out of her debt spiral.

Stories where you can see that the protagonist is making stupid mistakes and you know exactly what’s going to happen — and that it’s going to be bad — make me really unhappy. Impending doom is rarely fun, especially when it’s grindingly miserable doom rather than far-fetched and dramatic doom. Stories about people going into debt, in particular, make me tense and uncomfortable. And obviously And So They Were Married is 90% that very thing, and if it weren’t so short, I absolutely would not have finished it. But that’s not to say that it isn’t also pretty cute, or that the ending wasn’t satisfying enough to take the bad taste out of my mouth, or that lots of people who aren’t me won’t be completely fine with it.

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6 comments

  1. I downloaded this a while back so I’m glad you reviewed it. I will probably read it now, although I agree with you that “impending doom is rarely fun.”


    • It is pretty cute, and I will vouch for the doom not being too bad, so hopefully you can read it with more comfort than I did.


  2. Just the word debt makes me want to throw up. :X


    • I’m…somewhere in that vicinity. The only way I made it through this book was to say to myself, “look, it’s really short” every few minutes.


  3. Hi Melody

    I think that this kind of advice has been going on for such a long time (bad guidance from others concerning spending beyond your means)…which in so many cases leads to debt.

    I once had a friend at college who ran up very large students debts because her friend told her it was essential to reinvent herself and wardobe almost on a weekly basis,on the premise that she would be far more popular if dressed from head to toe in the latest designer garms;)

    Brian


    • Yeah, it’s a classic thing. People who have a lot of money have to justify their spending to themselves, and then act as if those justifications are universal.



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