In-laws are the inescapable consequence of marriage. Whether they’re kindly or malevolent, helpful or crazy, they’re unavoidable. The relationship can be traumatic, rewarding, maddening, and hilarious—sometimes all at once.
In I Married My Mother-in-Law and Other Tales of In-Laws We Can’t Live With—and Can’t Live Without, Ilena Silverman brings together a collection of talented, successful writers who plumb their own experiences for extraordinary and unexpected wisdom about this prickly and often misunderstood relationship.
We hear from some of today’s best authors, including Michael Chabon, who writes movingly about the lessons he learned from his first father-in-law; Kathryn Harrison, whose relationship with her father-in-law was far more rewarding and less complicated than the one she had with her own father; Matt Bai, who struggled across cultural barriers to learn more about the lives of his reserved Japanese-American in-laws; Martha McPhee, who explores the difficulty in fully knowing her husband without ever having known his parents; Susan Straight, who recounts her experience as the first white woman to marry into her African-American husband’s extended family; and Ayelet Waldman, who ponders the competition between wives and their mothers-in-law for the attention of their husbands/sons.
By turns blunt and poignant, horrifying and touching, the essays reflect the rich complexities of these bewildering and life-changing relationships. Remarkable for both the quality of its prose and the scope of its emotional insight, I Married My Mother-in-Law is an unforgettable anthology about the struggles and rewards of life with our other families.