Book Review: Why Do I Love These People?

Po Bronson’s Why Do I Love These People? is a must-read for anyone trying to raise a family, anyone involved in tricky family tensions, or any aspiring writer who wants to study the art of storytelling.

Each chapter is a different story about a family that struggles and eventually overcomes a difficult challenge. Sounds straightforward, but Bronson — one of San Francisco’s more notable writers — pulls it off with superb empathy.

Chris Yeh called it a “masterpiece”. I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s good, and I highly recommend it.

Grab bag of quotes / notes:

— “Grief defies all stereotypes. It can surprise anyone with its gloomy power. As scary and isolating as it feels, something healthy happens when it takes over. Every day feels like a week. And in that state, we open up to what we’ve been missing. Every smile from a stranger feels like a great gift. Every kind word sustains us for another hour.”

— “Forgiving those you love is not something you do once, like a ceremony. It’s required of you, in some form, every single day.”

— “Don’t look for a partner with whom you have no problems, but one you are good at overcoming problems with.”

— “He longed for a single woman to meet all his needs. He wanted one woman to be his emotional savior, his sexual provocateur, his intellectual collaborator, and his career peer.” (On overreaching expectations.)

— “New research shows that most spouses cheat not with someone who is more attractive than their spouse, but with someone they consider more interesting than their spouse.”

— “I think of physical affection as a sort of fourth dimension: You can get through life without ever knowing that it’s there, but it sure adds something to the experience when you open up to it.”

4 comments on “Book Review: Why Do I Love These People?
  • When I was mugged in London a few months ago, a copy of this book (which I had almost finished) was in my handbag. When Po read my blog post about it, he sent me another copy.

    Also, I’ve been in touch with Kraig Emery – Kalahan’s dad – via MySpace for a few months. Very nice guy.

  • Interesting grab-bag. Many of the quotes can be summarised in one line that I read many years ago: “Don’t marry somebody you can live with; marry somebody you cannot live without.”

  • I’m glad you finally read the book!

    I’m disappointed that Po hasn’t sent me a signed copy for all the people I’ve directed to it.

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