Contributing Editor Alex Andy Phuong

Post-Marriage Blues:
A Review of And Yes She Was, a novel by Tsipi Keller


Title: And Yes She Was
Author: Tsipi Keller
Topic/Genre: Domestic Fiction
Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: Unsolicited Press (August 5, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1950730484
ISBN-13: 978-1950730483
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces


Ideally, two people would fall in love, marry each other, and live happily forevermore. Unfortunately, real life is anything but ideal. In fact, many lovers marry foolishly, and then eventually need marriage counseling. Some of the greatest stories involve conflicts between husbands and wives, such as the Meryl Streep classic Kramer vs. Kramer and the critically acclaimed “Best Picture” nominee Marriage Story (2019). Sometimes love does fall apart, but the dynamic between two people suffering after their honeymoon forms the basis for surprisingly compelling narratives. That is the case for And Yes She Was by Tsipi Keller.

This is no ordinary novel. Instead, it has the writing style similar to the stream-of-consciousness technique that William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf popularized as they paved the way for modern American and British literature respectively. Beginning with the titular phrase, readers must be prepared for a bumpy ride as Annette and her husband endure an existential crisis. Her husband treats his wife as practically non-existent. That prompts Annette to write within two diaries voraciously in order to cope with her frustrations.

Titled “The Squabble Diary” and “The Love Diary” (also known as “Sex Diary”), Annette pours out her thoughts poetically and emotionally to reveal her struggles. Along with the writing that Annette does, Tsipi Keller also employs a uniquely modern writing style that appears like paragraphs stitched together to figuratively create a quilt-like literary narrative. This publication does not contain chapters, but it does delve deep into what it means to be a writer, a lover, and most importantly, what it means to be human.

Furthermore, this novel alludes to other authors to comment upon the subjective nature of writing. Specifically, Keller references The Book of Daniel by E.L. Doctorow (179). That novel is a famed semi-historical masterpiece that reveals how life could be difficult for anyone no matter what era that people live in. Keller is a special writer because she combines humor with drama to subtly comment upon how marriages are sometimes painful, but also surprisingly insightful. That is because And Yes She Was delves deep into who Annette was before she had left New York City to move to a small college town so that her husband could teach there. This novel truly does reveal the sacrifices that lovers sometimes have to make in order to assist the ones they love the most.

And Yes She Was is much more than an account of who Annette was before leaving behind the hustle and bustle associated with the glamour of New York City. It is also a compelling dramedy that is both as funny and as dramatic as marriage could be. The novel could really be a cautionary tale about marrying someone because of the potential loss of oneself in order to satisfy the wants and desires of a spouse. And Yes She Was is a daring novel that questions the necessity of marriage, and even implies that getting married is overrated. Read and ponder carefully, please!


About the reviewer:
Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University—Los Angeles in 2015.  He was a former Statement Magazine editor who currently writes about literature, film, and culture.  He has written film reviews for more than two hundred motion pictures for MovieBoozer, and has contributed to Mindfray.  His writing has appeared in The Bookends Review and The Society of Classical Poets.  Phuong is a Contributing Editor for book reviews at O:JA&L.