Married at Fourteen by Lucille Lang Day

I must begin this review by stating that I only read to page 80 of Married at Fourteen: A True Storyby Lucille Lang Day. There are 318 pages in the book, so my review will only deal with a small fraction of it.  

Why did I stop reading at page 80?  There were too many things about the book that I did not enjoy.  I thought all of the characters (and since it is a true story, not characters, actual people) were horrible.  Seriously, every single one of them is unpleasant.  Or at least they are portrayed by the author as unpleasant, which is another thing that I questioned about the book – the author’s  photographic memory of events that occurred around 50 years ago.  I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, yet she remembers every snide remark, every raised eyebrow, every single nuance of all of the people.   And really maybe she does have that fantastic of a memory, then I really feel sorry for her, because there are not many pleasant memories.

An example of how awful her mother was: 

When she saw her mother shortly after getting married…

The next time I saw my mother, I told her that someday I wanted to write about getting married at fourteen, to let the world know that teen love is lasting and real.  My mother, who’d been sitting on her bed, shot up abruptly, saying, “Don’t talk that way! You don’t want to be a writer!”  

I was surprised because whenever I said anything remotely amusing my father said I should write about it, but before I could ask her what was wrong with being a writer, her expression softened to a sly smile.  “Did you like it?” she asked.

It took me a moment to figure out what “it” was, because she’d always refused to talk to me about sex.  “Yes,” I finally answered.  I was surprised she didn’t know we’d been doing it all summer. 

“I never did.  Your father jumped on me like a mad bear.  I wouldn’t let him do it more than once a week.” 

That whole exchange is a perfect example of the way the people interact in the book.  It doesn’t make any sense to me.  Why would her mother be so upset about her being a writer – she didn’t care that she married at fourteen, but heaven forbid that she should be a writer?! She refused to talk about sex, but now turns all sly asking if her fourteen year old daughter liked it!   

I could give more examples, but really they are all similar.  Horrible people saying and doing horrible things.  I think that if I had found even one enjoyable person, I might have stuck with the book, but I didn’t.

I read the Amazon reviews (there are 3 at the time that I wrote this) and two people gave it glowing reviews.  So, please don’t take my word for it, if this sounds interesting to you, give it a go.

***Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book for review.

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Comments

  1. says

    I appreciate honesty:) My turn..you know the book about the snail?The title escapes me..I am TRYING to love it..it’s so scientific..I can’t really relax..:) It’s like being in Biology class..which I loved..but I want to hear more about her and less about the snail..I am reading at a snail’s pace..

  2. says

    I appreciate your honesty as well but I have to say that I have read the book and LOVED it and just thought that maybe before launching into a partial review, based on 80 pages, it would have been helpful for other readers for you to give us a short description of what the book is about so we’re able to make up our own mind about whether the subject matter interests us and therefore gain a perspective on your review.

    Thanks!

  3. says

    Things definitely were out of kilter, and that exchange with my mother illustrates it. The unpleasant and misguided things my mother and other adults said contributed to my becoming confused and alienated as a teenager and to my desire to get married at fourteen. I wasn’t just a victim, though. I was an active participant in creating my own destiny and made many poor choices along the way. One of the things I’m trying to do in the book is to show how a juvenile delinquent who does awful things can grow up and change, i.e., that we should not give up on these kids. My approach is to tell the stories that illustrate how things went wrong rather than to sum things up and explain what I learned. I also show how, as an adult, I came to understand my mother and forgive her for her mistakes as a parent. I was not a perfect parent either, yet my daughter grew up to be a marriage and family therapist. The book has many unexpected turns and ultimately a happy ending. Pam, I hope you’ll finish reading it someday.