Picks and Pans Review: Wedding Bell Blues

updated 08/07/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/07/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

100 Years of Our Great Romance with Marriage
by Michael Barson and Steven Heller

Where do you go to find out how to run a successful marriage? There have always been reams of how-to and advice books, and, of course, there is Hollywood. In this amusing and gloriously illustrated study, the coauthors (each of them married) explore both, and what an engaging mess it all turns out to be! The authors delve into authoritative-sounding tomes reaching back to the 1880s to excavate the advice that permanently damaged our great-grandparents. In 1913, for instance, one professor suggested that, owing to lack of self-control, it would be better for couples to sleep in separate beds. Then along came Hollywood and a whole new source of bad-marital modeling—one example being 1993's Indecent Proposal, in which Robert Redford offers Woody Harrelson $1 million for the one-time-only loan of his wife, Demi Moore. (Chronicle, $18.95)

Bottom Line: Read the book before booking the wedding hall

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