by Stanley Crawford
Publication Date: 11/01/1985
From "Putting Things Away" to "The Marriage Almanac" (not to mention the pedantic "Index," in itself a comic wonder), Stanley Crawford gives the married, the unmarried, and the formerly married a classic satire on all the sanctimonious marriage manuals ever produced. Starting with the complete title, "Some Instructions to My Wife Concerning the Upkeep of the House and Marriage, and to My Son and Daughter Concerning the Conduct of Their Childhood," a boorish narrator sets down some seventy-three pieces of advice to his wife, young son, and two-year-old daughter, intended to foster and maintain domestic tranquility in an age of anxiety. Taken literally, our neo-Victorian head of the house is a male chauvinist pig of sorts, but what reader would deny that the sources of Crawford's satire run deep in the American grain?