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Much Ado about Loving    by Maura Kelly & Jack Murnighan Amazon.com order for
Much Ado about Loving
by Maura Kelly
Order:  USA  Can
Free Press, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

A Read for the Literary Lovelorn ...

Maura Kelly is a New York City columnist for the lovelorn and no stranger to controversy. She drafted an accomplice, Jack Murnighan, to provide a male counterpoint for her lovelorn ravings. If you love literature, you will enjoy this book, as she draws from famous characters and authors their flaws and foibles. She discusses at length Hemmingway's macho side as having a soft underbelly. Pip's great expectations are a tragic flaw. Overly talkative males, Jack Murnigham says, are insecure people, as is David Foster Wallace in Infinite Jest's infinite verbiage. Maura correctly notes that writing is a great refuge for the lovelorn.

Interspersed in the literary discussion are Maura's trials and tribs in the New York City dating scene. She admits to also blabbering, early in her dating career, endlessly on about hip, cool exploits in her personal version of Sex in the City. This cost her no second dates. She admits to rejecting some she should have kept. She weeps in the trenches for all of us and candidly admits mistakes.

Having been in the dating scene into her thirties, she's met them all: the creepy, the won't let goes, the liars, the distance lovers, assholic men, Moby Dickheads, serial cheaters, the mistreated and under-appreciated. By this stage, she knows them all well. Jack says it is indeed possible to love too much, as is Gatsby's problem. It's obvious that he's been hurt. Most of us have been.

In reviewing this from the perspective of approaching my seventies, I'm someone who's pretty much been there and made her own mistakes long ago. I found myself thinking of situations I could have handled much better, and I'm amazed at how much remains the same from the perspective of a couple of generations past. Those Maura rejected were best rejected. Even if they were rough jewels, she would not have been satisfied. To be ex is to always be ex. Anyone I've ever known who tried to get back together failed again.

My advice to Maura and Jack? Ya gotta believe. Once you meet that soul mate, it's a great and lasting experience. It can happen early or late. It must be mutual and complete. If it is not, the resulting problems hurt and hurt badly. It's no surprise that half the population divorces. At least these two authors have the wisdom to analyze what they are doing and recognize that literature is replete with love gone wrong. They can be confident that they are laying paving stones for getting it right and are most courageous for sharing in their book.

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