National Review / Digital
The Privilege of Marriage
Working-class women are saying no, to their detriment


After Kelly married her high-school sweetheart, Jake, she encouraged everyone she knew to get married. She and Jake bought a trailer in Maytown, Ohio. (Maytown is a pseudonym to protect the identities of the people described. All their names have also been changed.) Jake became a manager at Jiffy Lube, and Kelly mostly stayed at home to take care of their two babies. Their marriage was great, she says. But one day, while Kelly was at her part-time job snapping eighth-grade yearbook photos for Olan Mills and Jake was at home with the kids, he slept with Kelly’s best friend, a move that threw their marriage into turmoil.

For the next year Kelly and Jake were on again, off again, until Kelly fell in love with someone else, named Ty, and decided to move in with him. A year into this relationship, she discovered (via a police officer checking up on Ty) that her new man was a registered sex offender who had molested a four-year-old. Kelly broke up with him and spiraled into depression and drugs, losing custody of her kids along the way. Kelly’s grandparents, who had raised Kelly after her mother began struggling with depression, partying, and men, are today raising Kelly’s children, their great-grandchildren.

September 30, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 18

Special Women’s Section
  • Mothers with careers are improvising their own solutions.
  • Working-class women are saying no, to their detriment.
  • The GOP needs to reach unmarried women.
  • Why I gave up feminist activism.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Daniel Hannan reviews The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union, by Luuk van Middelaar.
  • Max Boot reviews Small Wars, Faraway Places: Global Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World, 1945–1965, by Michael Burleigh.
  • Micah Mattix reviews Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: The Letters of J. F. Powers, 1942–1963, by J. F. Powers.
  • Betsy Woodruff reviews What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House, by Tevi Troy.
  • Kelly Jane Torrance reviews Perilous Question: Reform or Revolution? Britain on the Brink, 1832, by Antonia Fraser.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The World’s End.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .