Princeton Mom to Pen Book of 'Wisdom'

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In news that is as dispiriting as it is unsurprising, the so-called "Princeton Mom," Susan Patton, is writing a book in which she will purportedly offer advice on how to land an Ivy League husband, as well as other challenges of adulthood.

Patton became famous (or infamous, by some accounts) in March, when she wrote a letter to the daily newspaper of Princeton University, from which she graduated in 1977, and which her two sons also attended. Patton's viral letter advised women to find a man on campus, as they would never have such marital options in life again. 

"For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you. Here's what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate," Patton wrote.

While some agreed with her antiquated advice, others found it retrograde and even sexist. Now, according to the Associated Press, Patton will publish a book called "Smarten Up!: Words of Wisdom from the Princeton Mom," to be published in the spring of 2014 by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

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The AP reports that "Patton will offer 'uncomfortable truths' about marriage and motherhood and what could happen if students wait too long."

Though we are ready to be surprised, it's not clear what "truths" Patton has to offer beyond those outlined in her brief letter and in a subsequent piece for the Huffington Post, which reiterated her conviction that if you are a young woman who went to Princeton, you should marry someone while still in school, lest the cruelties of the real world force you into a union with someone who went to a state school. Quelle horreur!

But maybe Gallery Books isn't looking for much more than a straightforward rehash of the controversy that thrust Patton into the spotlight. That might be enough to earn back whatever advance was paid out to Patton. Couple that with an Op-Ed or two, maybe an appearance on Stewart or Colbert, and you have a veritable hit -- without having to do much work for it.

Certainly, originality is not the key here. After all, the subtitle, which immodestly brands Patton "the Princeton Mom" pretty clearly indicates that the publisher is looking to bank on readers' recollection of the letter she wrote. Should they discover that the book has little more to offer than that, well, by then it will be too late.



This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.