Married at Fourteen: A True Story

A candid and startling memoir

“I started seriously looking for a husband when I was twelve. I’d had enough of being a child, enough of being told what to do. I was unhappy at school; I resented homework; I didn’t get along with my mother. Having seen movies like South Pacific, Sayonara, and A Summer Place, I believed in true love. More than anything, I wanted Rossano Brazzi, Marlon Brando, or Troy Donahue to come rescue me from my childhood. I wanted to be an adult, to be free, and to be loved.”

Finalist for the 2012 Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction

Hear Lucille Lang Day discuss her life and the writing of Married at Fourteeon GetLit:


“An inspiring story about paths, and selves, lost and found.”

Kirkus Reviews


“Lucy Day’s story of her life as a teenage mother and beyond is one of the great American contemporary memoirs.”

—Herbert Gold, author of Fathers: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir


“Day’s memoir proves that truth isn’t just stranger than fiction, it can be astonishing. The author went from teenage wild child and biker chick to prize-winning poet and holder of four advanced degrees. The mature Lucy writes about this unlikely trajectory with clarity, wit, and affection for her younger self, a fourteen-year-old child bride and a disaster waiting to happen. You won’t find a more likable voice on the page, or a tale with a more satisfying ending. Parents of teenage forces of nature, take heart.”

—Cyra McFadden, author of The Serial: A Year in the Life of Marin County


Married at Fourteen catches a social class that is uniquely American but resonates with what I know of working people worldwide. Although the rebellion against mothers is universal, Day carries it to a new extreme. And yet the tone is calm, upbeat, and humorous, and she emerges a confident, strong woman whose values are tested and clarified in this exceptional memoir.”

—Leo Litwak, author of The Medic: Life and Death in the Last Days of WWII


“The saga Married at Fourteen is many things: both a cautionary tale and a tale of redemption, a multigenerational account of the passing of an era, a parable of the Prodigal Daughter, a gripping narrative rendered from a tenacious memory, a scientist’s precision, and an artist’s sensitivity. Parents should read this book, teachers and counselors, dreamers and seekers, anyone who wants to read a book that once you pick up you’ll find hard to put down. While you will not condone all of Lucille Lang Day’s actions—she does not expect you to—you will understand, sympathize, and perhaps sometimes see yourself more clearly.”

— Adam David Miller, winner of PEN/Oakland’s Josephine Miles National Literary Award for 2011 Lifetime Achievement and author of Ticket to Exile


About the Author

Lucille Lang DayLucille Lang Day's memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story (Heyday, 2012) received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. She has published creative nonfiction in The Hudson Review, the Istanbul Literary Review, Passages North, the River Oak Review, the Willow Review, and many other journals. She is the recipient of the Willow Review Award in Creative Nonfiction and a Notable Essay citation in Best American Essays. She is also the author of a children’s book, Chain Letter, and ten poetry collections and chapbooks, including The Curvature of Blue, Infinities, and The Book of Answers. Her first poetry collection, Self-Portrait with Hand Microscope, received the Joseph Henry Jackson Award. She received an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and also an M.A. in zoology and a Ph.D. in science and mathematics education at the University of California, Berkeley. The founder and director of a small press, Scarlet Tanager Books, she also served for seventeen years as the director of the Hall of Health, an interactive children’s museum in Berkeley.