Mergers and Acquisitions
by Cate Doty
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Pub Date 05 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 23 May 2022
HarperCollins Publishers Australia, HarperCollins AU
A delightfully warm, witty and poignant memoir about falling in love, and an eye-opening behind-the scenes tour of the rarified world of The New York Times weddings pages - from the good and the bad to the just plain weird.
Growing up in America's romantic south, where tradition reigns supreme, Cate Doty thought about weddings a lot. So when she moves to New York City in pursuit of love, and to write for The New York Times, she finds her natural home in the pages of the wedding section, one of the Big Apple's most esteemed, talked-about - and competitive - institutions.
Soon Cate is thrown into the cut-throat world of the New York marriage market, experiencing the lengths society couples go to have their announcements accepted and the lengths the writers go in fact-checking their stories; the eye-opening, status-signaling details that matter most to brides and grooms; and the politics of the paper at a time of vast cultural and industry changes.
Cate is surrounded by love, or what we're told to believe is love. But when she falls head over heels herself, she begins to ask her own questions about what it means to truly commit . . .
Equal parts charming, addictive and funny, this is a delightful meditation on love, privilege and the human condition, and a young reporter's own romantic coming of age.
“If your weekends consist of devouring the weddings section of The New York Times, Cate Doty's Mergers and Acquisitions needs to be on your TBR list.”
“Mergers & Acquisitions, former New York Times journalist Cate Doty’s account of her time on the weddings beat, is a reception-worthy buffet of juicy backstories that didn’t make it into print, including her own.”
Martha Stewart Living
“Laced with frank reflection and entertaining anecdotes, this is a winning portrait of love and ambition in the 21st century.”
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 13 members
I loved the absolute warmth of this book. Doty is a superb writer. I found it to be a really inclusive read. I so much wanted to know how things ended up with Doty and Michael as a couple.
Her descriptions of those couples she interviewed for the New York Times wedding announcements were captivating. You could tell that she was really interested in them as people.
There is a quote on page 166 where Doty acknowledged the criticisms of Times’ wedding announcements as being valid. That the couples are often getting credit for their parents’ achievements, etc. I wasn’t allowed to copy it as apparently it exceeded the word limit permitted for copying.
Cate Doty is named after her grandmother, Catherine on her mother's side of the family. The memoir she has written about her personal life and her work at the Times’ Society pages writing wedding announcements for the New York Times is wonderful. Her boss, Ira, is portrayed as a great character. I found him to be quite engrossing.
For obvious reasons, she changed the names and other identifying details of the brides, grooms, and their families. Her descriptions of the couples are sometimes poignant and very often amusing.
The New York Times didn’t make it easy for couples to get their wedding announcements printed and they didn't accept just anybody. The couple’s names, place of employment, economic status, etc all had to be proven with documentation or by fact checkers for the New York Times.
These were expensive weddings, all around the 40 thousand dollar or more mark in the early 2000s.
Cate in her early 20s would split entrees at restaurants with her buddy, saving most of her meagre money for desserts and wine. Good girl yourself, Cate, I thought!
Cate’s initial friendship with Michael, their fledgling relationship, their relationship issues and fractiousness, and finally their marriage form an interesting aspect running through this very engaging story. I loved the marriage proposal on the windswept Irish cliff. First I wondered if it was at the Cliffs of Moher, but then there was a reference to a ferry to the mainland so probably not. That she hated the engagement ring and made no bones about telling Michael so appealed to me. No schmaltz factor!
I rate this book highly and I recommend it to others.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book is more a memoir of Cates life, rather than a tell all on the marriages she wrote about for the Times. I enjoyed the writing style of this quick & easy read. It was not what I expected based on the title but it was an interesting tale of Cate’s family & work life
Thanks @netgalley @catedoty & @harpercollinsaustralia for the ARC
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this book for an honest review.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I started this book. The stories about wedding notices in The Times were interesting, but then the story of the author’s life took over the story. Whilst that was interesting, it took away from the story. But then when the author had all the red flags prior to the wedding she still went through with it, so I’m not sure what lessons about love in the end.
This book will be available on January 5, 2022.
I enjoyed this book so much. Many of you know that I’m not really a fan of memoirs, however in recent years, I’ve been able to establish that it’s more the type of memoir, rather than the form itself. In short, I hate misery memoirs, particularly the ones that detail the many ways in which the author’s parents ruined their lives. I far prefer the more topic driven ones, such as this, where the memoir is woven into another sort of story, with some social and political history thrown in, whilst still maintaining a light and entertaining read. When an actual writer also writes that memoir, then I’m all for it. Mergers and Acquisitions is exactly this sort of book. Entertaining, well written, interesting, reflective, and above all (possibly most importantly) very funny.
I would never for the life of me have thought that so much research and fact checking went into writing up a wedding announcement. I have a journalism degree, so the ins and outs of the industry are not foreign to me, but even so, for a few lines announcing a wedding, there was a heck of a lot involved! I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into the inner hub of The New York Times and following Cate’s career progression. Her own story of love and weddings was skilfully interwoven into the narrative about the wedding pages whilst also reflecting upon weddings within American society and what they symbolise as a construct separate from the marriage that is to come once the wedding is done.
Stand out moments from the book for me include the first ‘unofficial’ date with her own husband – very funny – and I was deeply moved by the telling of her maternal grandparents’ love story under the shadow of her grandmother’s demise and passing to dementia. You don’t have to be famous or damaged to write a memoir, but you do have to be a good writer and have something interesting to say – Cate Doty checks both these boxes!
Highly recommended for those seeking an entertaining read on a fresh topic.
In Mergers and Acquisitions, Cate Doty takes readers on a journey. While the book primarily focuses on her time on the Weddings desk at The New York Times, she also shares insights about her own love story, her childhood, her family and the rest of her career.
First, I liked the behind-the-scenes look at the Times' Wedding section. I honestly couldn't believe the amount of fact-checking phone calls that went into each announcement. I also liked that the book had layers and how she weaved her own personal stories and reflections into each chapter.
However, don't go into this book thinking it's going to be all warm and fuzzy and wedding-related, as there's definitely a pragmatic undertone. Doty does mention more than once the cost of weddings and the fact many of her announcements ended in divorce. This also stretched to her portrayal of her own love story. For me, it was missing the tenderness I expected.
Thank you to Harper Collins Australia for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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