When Peter Davidson contacted me to review his book, Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel, I had not quite gotten geared up for reviews, but after reading the synopsis, I accepted the book, with the promise to get to it as soon as I could. I was instantly drawn in by the natural style of the writing and felt like I knew Davidson from his words. I could hear his conversation with his grandson, in the words of this book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Davidson is a skilled writer, who uses comedy to his advantage. This book is indeed a kind of a letter to his grandson, offering wisdom passed down from generations of men. It's, of course, mostly common sense, but common sense is sometimes tough to come by in marriage. I laughed out loud, more times than I can count, often because I was seeing how very hard my own husband tries. I wonder who offered him these pearls or if he learned the hard way before I came along.
One of my favorite aspects of this book are the "truisms" Davidson speckles throughout: "As the Marital Bus rumbles down the highway of life, there cannot be two people wrestling for the steering wheel, or surely the bus will crash. Know when it is your turn to drive, and when it is time to quietly sit in the back seat," or "Be careful what you confess to in a weak moment - women have a memory like an elephant." It's just one of the beautiful touches that make this book so infinitely readable. It is not a dry listing of cautionary tales; it is a hilarious walk through the pitfalls of marriage, and how to handle it when you happen to find yourself in one of the pits. Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel is a quick read with many marriage saving tips. While some of the advice felt old-fashioned, from an era when women ruled the home and men ordered the workplace, it was still very pertinent, and so lovingly offered that it made me long for that time when the roles were more clearly defined.
When I was in college, I dated a young man who was very attached to his mother's cooking. We had dated for several years, and he had dropped a few hints about engagement rings and the like leading up to Christmas. I was set with high anticipation, thinking, naively, that this was meant to be the next step in my life. Christmas morning came, and my gift from the young man was a skillet. No doubt he thought it was hilarious, suggesting that I'd have to learn to cook before he'd consider leaving his mama's house. That was probably the beginning of the end for me. That next fall, when I finished my coursework for my master's program, I packed my car and moved to California. Had I stayed, I probably would have cracked that man over the head with that skillet somewhere along the way. Davidson, in his infinite wisdom, cautions his grandson to "never give a woman an implement of work as a gift." Thank heavens that young man didn't have this book back then.
Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel should be on the reading list for every person heading toward marriage, not just men. It's the perfect engagement gift. I learned a lot about myself, as a woman, in reading this book, especially in the chapter about "The Look," and perhaps I'll be a little less opaque in the future. Nicely done, Peter, I enjoyed it immensely.