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Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give Out May 16, 2017

We hear plenty about whether or not to get married, but much less about what it takes to stay married. Clichés around marriage—eternal bliss, domestic harmony, soulmates—leave out the real stuff. After marriage you may still want to sleep with other people. Sometimes, your partner will bore the hell out of you. And when stuck paying for your spouse’s mistakes, you might miss being single.

In Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, Ada Calhoun, acclaimed for her provocative essays in the New York Times Modern Love and Lives columns, presents an unflinching but also loving portrait of her own marriage, opening a long overdue conversation about the institution as it truly is: not the happy ending of a love story, or a relic doomed by high divorce rates, but the beginning of a challenging new chapter of which “the first twenty years are the hardest.”

Calhoun’s funny, poignant personal essays explore the bedrooms of modern coupledom for a nuanced discussion of infidelity, existential anxiety, and the many other obstacles to staying together. Both realistic and open-hearted, Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give offers a refreshing new way to think about marriage as a brave, tough, creative decision to stay with another person for the rest of your life. “What a burden,” Calhoun calls marriage, “and what a gift.”

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“Ada Calhoun has written the definitive meditation on marriage in all of its mystery and imperfection. It should be required reading for anyone considering it, and highly recommended for those who want to be reminded of why they did it in the first place.”
—Molly Ringwald

“What a witty, sexy, surprising testimony to the institution of marriage! It’s the best essay collection I’ve read in a long time, just astoundingly honest and insightful about what marriage really means. And I say that as someone who has been married 20 years.”
—Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City

“By turns hilariously candid, thought-provoking, and romantic, Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give gave me a richer view of the joys and challenges of marriage—especially my own marriage.”
—Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project

“Ada Calhoun is the friend we all need—the one who lets us behind the curtain of her good marriage to help us better understand our own. She’s smart, funny, and best of all, willing to bare all.”
—Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers

“Extremely funny and deeply insightful. With its generous spirit and breathtaking honesty, Ada Calhoun's instruction manual of a book recalls another all-time favorite, Anne Lamott’s classic Bird by Bird. This slim volume is brimming with practical advice, and should be mandatory reading for married people and anyone who's contemplated taking the leap.”
—Davy Rothbart, author of My Heart is an Idiot

“A warm, tart, corrective to the persistent conviction that a wedding is the neat end of a love story.”
—Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of All the Single Ladies

“Brutally honest, hilarious and unsentimental—but never unkind—this is a book for anyone who has ever had a thought (good or bad) about the institution of marriage. I devoured this gem in one sitting. I want to marry this book.”
—Susannah Cahalan, New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire

Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give is an uncommonly gracious invitation to rethink our relationship to an institution that often seems to have us doomed before we begin. There’s been so much cant, as they used to say in the 19th century, written about marriage, but Ada Calhoun’s book is honest about the struggle to love another person without congratulating itself for being honest, and if that isn’t a spiritual discipline, I don’t know what is.”
—Carlene Bauer, author of Frances and Bernard and Not That Kind of Girl

“This unflinchingly honest, astutely balanced probe of a most perplexing institution asks all the right questions. It sets up a conversation with the reader, who is challenged to reflect at each point, choosing between ‘No, that’s not me’ and ‘How did she know that?’ Most of the time, she knows.”
– Phillip Lopate, author of The Art of the Personal Essay

“True, funny, and wise, Ada Calhoun’s insight into the nature of marriage is a compulsively readable and sneakily profound primer on all interpersonal relationships. She should be required to give a toast at every wedding, Bar Mitzvah, and funeral she attends.”
—Leah Carroll, author of Down City: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Memory, and Murder

“This really spoke to me. It’s a beautiful love letter to what marriage is. Ada Calhoun seems like she’d be a ball to hang out with. Marriage: not so bad, guys.”
– Kathryn Hahn, actress (Transparent, Crossing Jordan)