Teenage Marriage: Coping With Reality By Jeanne Warren Lindsay

If you know a married teenager, you will know someone who will read Teenage Marriage: Coping With Reality

Did you overdose on Valentine’s candy? Well, no fear, I am here with the antidote!

Although, to be honest, this book isn’t the trainwreck the title and some of the chapters (“5. People Are Not For Hitting”, “11. Sex Starts In The Kitchen”) would have you hope.

I suspect the publisher really didn’t believe that this tome was going to stop and make teens seriously consider running off and getting married; nor was it going actually help those high school marriages that were already in trouble. This seems more like a cynical sell to schools and libraries to fill out their social-problems quota, a book of cited statistics for 10th graders doing their English class debating unit or 12th grade policy papers (“Pro: The Age of Marriage Should Be Raised to 21”).

Despite this, I can’t really find much fault with the very generic advice in the book. It tells you to talk about finances and division of household labor, which is a good idea for couples of any age. It isn’t even very dated, taking a modestly progressive viewpoint that husbands doing their share of cleaning and childcare should be a given.

Some Highlights: 

One young wife was shocked to find her husband ‘s mother cooked beans in a different way than her mother did. To make it worse, her husband thought his mother’s beans tasted the best. His wife did not agree.

So, yeah, your basic bean-drama. The whole thing is pretty much on this level.

But what do you do if both of you must or want to work but neither wants to get involved in the cooking, cleaning, laundry and other tasks at home?

Uh, I guess you starve to death on a giant trash-pile?

“If your husband was brought up not to do ‘women’s work,'” [psychologist Jean Bayard] advised, “you have to retrain him… It will take some real persistence to stick with it. But if you want to live the kind of life you want, you either have to train him to live that way or find someone who will go along with your sense of fairness.”

Train him! Like a dog, or… I dunno, a homing pigeon?

“Does your man think it is effeminate to sweep the floor or take care of the baby? You may be able to help him understand that it’s a strong man who can handle these things well. ” Jean was tolerant of Dick’s feeling on this matter.

And you know… Dick’s dick’s feelings.

“I’m surprised Lloyd and I are still together- we’ve been through so much. My mom kicked him out several times and he lived in the car. That was hard for me, too.”

That pretty much sums up all of the indignities of being a teenager. Even if you’re married, someone can still make your husband go live in his car.

What redeems this volume as a “Lost Classic”? The inadvertently hilarious black and white photography, which looks like outtakes from A Wild Heartblurry vingettes of Romance Gone Wrong. Trust me, these high school brides have on thing on their mind: murder is the only escape. 

The voices in Shawna’s head are saying that no jury in the world would convict her.

Check out this dude, kicked back in a rocking chair, drinking a beer… watching his wife vacuum????

That is the face of a woman weighing being out in 8 to 10 for good behavior.

Even their prune-faced toddler is unimpressed.

And here we have Dewey, a man with a closet full of trucker hats…

…but who doesn’t own a single shirt.

Plus, your boy-husband is probably stepping out on you with some Orphan Annie-haired chippie down at the local Burger King.

And we can’t forget our cover models, who are pictured in the midst of the adult-task of making a grocery list:

“Can we just-”

“SHH! Babe! I’m trying to think of all the kinds of Pudding Pops!”

“Jesus, Jay, there aren’t that many-”


The Best Thing About This Book: 

Is the survey included so you yourself can find out if you are ready to take the plunge and get married before you can get your Learner’s Permit, which in my copy was filled out by a couple who are probably AARP members by now:


We will return in 2 weeks with more reader requests! 


This entry was posted in Vintage YA Non-Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Teenage Marriage: Coping With Reality By Jeanne Warren Lindsay

  1. Erin Lindsay says:

    You have no idea how hard I’m laughing right now. My mom is the author of the book. The publishing company she founded was wildly successful (over a million books sold). I’m also in one of the pictures. I’m the “…boy-husband…” on the left about halfway through the photos. I’m incredibly proud of all my mom accomplished (she turns 90 in two days). But our family’s sense of humor is on the snarky side, so of course I’m sharing this with all of them! Love it.

    • mondomolly says:

      OMG!!! If you see this please tell your mom that she is the creator of a certified Lost Classic that we have all enjoyed so much! And although I am no longer in the target market, I do appreciate the existence of these cite-statisics-of-social-problems books, which saved me more than once in 10th Grade English Class Debate Unit. Thanks for commenting!

      • Erin Lindsay says:

        Just wanted you to know that my mom loved this when I showed it to her! She passed away a couple of weeks ago…I miss her, but she left a great legacy. I mean, not everyone has been the creator of a certified Lost Classic.

        • mondomolly says:

          Oh Erin, I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. My condolences to you and your entirw family. Thank you for writing, as I said before, her work stands as an invaluable (and FUN!) time capsule of its time ❤❤❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s