The Marriage Act

The Risk I Took to Keep My Best Friend in America, and What It Taught Us About Love

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9781593765361 | Paperback 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 304 pages Buy it Now

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9781619023659 | Ebook | 320 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

After her traditional engagement to her high school sweetheart falls apart, Liza Monroy faced the prospect of another devastating loss: the deportation of her best friend Emir. Desperate to stay in America, Emir tried every legal recourse to obtain a green card knowing that his return to the Middle East—where gay men are often beaten and sometimes killed—was too dangerous. So Liza proposes to Emir in efforts to keep him safe and by her side. After a fast wedding in Las Vegas, the couple faces new adventures and obstacles in both L.A. and New York City as they dodge the INS. Their relationship is compounded further by the fact that Liza’s mother works for the State Department preventing immigration fraud. Through it all, Liza and Emir must contend with professional ambition, adversity, and heartbreak and eventually learn the true lessons of companionship and devotion. This marriage that was not a marriage, in the end, really was.

The Marriage Act is a timely and topical look at the changing face of marriage in America and speaks to the emergent generation forming bonds outside of tradition—and sometimes even outside the law.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

"Despite its breezy style, Monroy's provocative memoir offers more emotional food for thought than can possibly be digested in one sitting. After only reading the introduction, one might wish to remain quiet for a few minutes and ponder her use of the phrase gender-neutral marriage...As such, this phraseology perfectly embodies Monroy's intentional marriage to a gay man. Though fraught with one psychological or legal time bomb after another, the marriage worked, despite the unimaginable odds. The book is bright. It's chatty. But Monroy manages to deliver a hefty emotional wallop." --Booklist, Starred review

"Through an absurdly beautiful act of devotion, which forced her to become an outlaw, in a time (now) and a country (ours) where the laws are cruel and outdated, Liza Monroy emerges as both an artist and a hero." --Nick Flynn

"An irresistible blend of candor, humor, insight, lively prose, and plain old humanity, this roller coaster of a memoir about relationships, place, and displacement is so much fun to read!"--Phillip Lopate

"Liza Monroy, wise beyond her years, brilliantly portrays the highs and lows and loves of school life, the episodes we've all experienced and never forget. Spirited, harrowing, and utterly compelling, Monroy's captivating voice will be with you long after you've finished reading." --Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

"Love is not a limited commodity. Sexuality enjoys limits far beyond heterosexual monogamy. And marriage is a promise limited only by those who make it. The Marriage Act doesn't just change the game when it comes to how we think about love and sex and marriage. It creates an entirely new one that we're all about to play." --Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage

"This book is a's a political act, a buddy story, a love story, and a family saga gone beautifully and tenderly wrong. Read it."...Anthony Swofford, New York Times bestselling author of Jarhead

"Monroy questions the meanings of friendship, love, discrimination, and breaking boundaries. But her wicked sense of humor makes The Marriage Act a brisk, entertaining read. You'll never think of 'love and marriage' the same way again." --Leora Tanenbaum, author of Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation

"Liza Monroy's coming of age story set in Mexico manages to be hot, hilarious, and heartbreaking--all at the same time. A stunning debut." --Susan Shapiro, author of Lighting Up and Five Men Who Broke My Heart

"Liza Monroy has a magical voice, the kind that makes you want to read the next sentence and then the one after that to see what turn her writing will take next. She is observant, funny, and curiously wise about the culture we live and flounder in." --Daphne Merkin, author of Dreaming of Hitler and Enchantment

"With The Marriage Act, Liza Monroy portrays a critical moment in our nation's troubled history of attempting to legislate love while also opening a space for future iterations of the institution that go beyond arguments of gender and into notions of friendship, passion, and dedication. A remarkable and generous book." --Cris Beam, author of To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care

"...she writes and lives courageously. Monroy's timely memoir rises beyond sex and politics, ultimately revealing that only two partners themselves can determine what makes their love and union authentic." --Publishers Weekly

"... a memoir that's quite visceral and honest [...] She poignantly states her case for immigration reform with a larger focus on marriage equality as a whole." --Bust Magazine