By: Melinda Rainey Thompson and Morgan Murphy
Reviewed by: Beth Wilder
John F. Blair Publisher, 2010
What really happens “. . . after the parties are over, the thank-you notes are written, and the bride takes off the big white dress . . .”? According to Melinda Rainey Thompson and Morgan Murphy, plenty of hilarious stuff. Their new collection of essays, I Love You—Now Hush, is a collaboration of the two popular humorists about the reality of marriage that sets in once the honeymoon ends.
Writing tit-for-tat, Thompson and Murphy explore everything from asking for directions (or a man’s inability to do so) to decoding southern semantics (or what the word “fine” really means to a woman). Equal rights rule in this book, as each chapter is evenly divided into “his” and “hers” sections. Always the gentleman, Murphy lets Thompson go first. She opens each chapter with her decidedly female point of view, writing with a charming wit and heartfelt grace that leave you either laughing out loud or nodding in agreement and mouthing the words, “I hear ya, sister.”
Murphy counters each of Thompson’s opinions with brilliant sarcasm. His easy-going conversational style makes me feel like I am sitting down with him, listening to his testosterone take on life while sharing a bottle of good bourbon.
The two writers make a great team, working off each other’s natural gift for humor while creating a truly hysterical read. Some of the best parts of the book come at the end of each chapter, when Thompson and Murphy list a few pointers in defense of their respective arguments. Case in point: at the end of “Romancing The South,” Thompson outlines ten ways to charm a southern woman, which include sweet gestures like public hand-holding or asking if she’d like you to beat someone up for her. Murphy’s list is one line long: “Get nekkid.” Tit-for-tat, yin-for-yang. It all makes for very funny, page-turning reading.
Both writers have extensive experience entertaining southerners. Thompson is the author of the popular SWAG (Southern Women Aging Gracefully) books. She also taught writing at Birmingham-Southern College, where Murphy was her student in the 1990s. Murphy worked for Southern Living, where he served as an executive editor, travel editor, food critic, and national spokesperson. His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Post, NPR, and Garden Design.
Both writers deny this book is a self-help guide to understanding the opposite sex, declaring that I Love You—Now Hush was written all for fun. And fun it is. A lucky reader may manage to pick up a few actual relationship tips between guffaws and knee-slapping, but most will simply enjoy these hilarious insights from two true Southern humorists. April 2010
Beth Wilder is a freelance writer in Birmingham.