By Gail Dillon
‘Fall In Love For Life, Inspiration from a 73-Year Marriage,” is the kind of book everyone should be issued before they say “I do.” Written by Barbara “Cutie” Cooper (and she really is adorable), the book has a casual, conversational tone that is reminiscent of a chat with your best friend or a favorite grandma.
Cooper writes of what she knows. She was married to her sweetheart, Harry Cooper, for 73 years before his death in 2010.
Their early love story is chronicled here, as well as their married life and later years. Chapters are included on everything a couple could possibly encounter in their relationship, such as “Surviving Hard Times,” “From Lovers to Parents” and my personal favorite, “If You’re Bored, You’re Boring.”
Cooper divides the book into chronological sections and sums up her advice at the end of each sub-section with three or four main points aptly named “Cutie’s Counsel.”
Although the Coopers enjoyed a particularly close bond that stayed strong throughout the years, the author is careful not to sugar-coat their life together, describing some of their challenges, irritations with one another and other marital ups and downs.
She writes: “Do you want to hear something funny? Some people think, just because Harry and I were happily married for 73 years, that it was easy for us — as if we were magically suited to be contented together like a couple of cows in their pasture. I am sorry to burst that bubble, but no, it wasn’t easy.”
Tragically, the couple even endured a parents’ worst nightmare: losing a child.
Reading this book made me feel nostalgia for a time that I haven’t experienced. Cooper met her Harry back in 1937 and her descriptions of their simple and charming dates, her family life, and the occasional mention of the cost of things gave me a real sense of life back then.
Cooper reveals her common sense, her humor and her kindness on every page. She makes love-for-a-lifetime seem reasonable, and in this day of instant gratification and short attention spans, we can use all the help we can get. Even if you’ve been married for a while, do yourself a favor and give this one a read.
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (December 2012)
Product dimension: 6 x 8 inches