The Marriage Act
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.
THE YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE MOMENT: THEIR FIRST KISS AND THEIR LAST, NOVEMBER 17, 2001
“The Marriage Act is a gripping, cinematic page-turner that, as the best memoirs do, opens avenues to larger, zeitgeisty conversations. Here, immigration, civil rights, gender issues, and same-sex marriage are high-stakes backdrops of a deeply personal, affecting tale of love, friendship, and family.”
— Julia Scheeres, bestselling author of Jesus Land and A Thousand Lives
Seeing As Your Shoes Are Soon To Be On Fire
Q: What’s The Deal With Your Book With The Funny Title?
LM: On a trip to Seattle, I bought my then-toddler a board book I spotted in the gift shop of the Chihuly glass exhibit. It’s called Beautiful Oops, and there’s a quote from it that encompasses why I wrote Seeing As Your Shoes Are Soon To Be On Fire (and pretty much my entire philosophy):
“Oops! When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something… beautiful!”
My goal had been to find lasting, beautiful love, but my love life til then consisted of one OOPS! after another. Out of the (sometimes literal) wreckage emerged many lessons, culminating in these essays, composed in the wake of my essay When Mom Is On The Scent And Right for the Modern Love column in the New York Times.
Shoes chronicles misadventures in the search for love, bound together under the watchful eye of my eccentric, single mother, a “profiler” for the U.S. State Department who claims to discern someone’s true nature simply by looking on Facebook. She uses her professional aptitude to try to weed out the “wrong” men in my life. But things take a strange turn in response to a piece of feedback I received about the article. A reader wrote in: “This mother has done an awful lot to tell her daughter about who’s wrong for her, but what has she really done to help her find one who’s right?” So my mother began taking an active role in trying to find me “the one” – she started a blog and sent me on dates. The results were enlightening and surprising, and led to some central dilemmas:
How do we go about finding love in our times? Is a personal ‘profiler’ any better than a digital one? Do our parents really know best? And what happens when, rather than trying to evade a controlling parent, you hand her the reins to your (love) life instead?
Some answers to these and more are found in Seeing As Your Shoes Are Soon To Be On Fire. (So is the answer to the question of the odd title. Hint: it’s literal.) Find me via the contact form to send advice questions or have my mother “profile” anyone you’re dating or thinking of giving the opportunity to enter your heart-space. Here, we talk about all this on LA’s awesome NPR affiliate, KCRW.
The daughter of an American diplomat, Mila has spent her childhood moving from country to country. When her mother is reassigned to Mexico City for Mila’s senior year of high school, Mila has no idea what to expect. Mexico seems to be a country with the ultimate freedoms: the wealthy students at her private international school — the sons and daughters of Mexico’s ruling class — party hard at exclusive clubs, dress in expensive clothing, and see more of their housekeepers than they do of their globe-trotting parents. But Mila has more in common with them than they know: her father, whose identity has been kept from her, is a high-ranking politician with whom Mila’s mother had a one-night stand in her hippie days. Now Mila is determined to discover who he is, whatever the cost may be.
Mexican High is a coming-of-age story about identity, belonging, and first love. In a setting rife with sex, drugs, and political corruption, it is also a revealing look at elite Mexican society and its freedoms, dangers, and excesses. Monroy’s flawless evocation of the brink of adulthood, in many ways mirrored by the turmoil of Mexico City itself, makes this a truly memorable debut.