Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A No Win Decision

So my book club book this month is written by an *author who was recommended to me awhile back.  Upon receiving that recommendation, I placed a hold on all her books at the library knowing that, with her popularity, it'd be awhile before they became available.  So imagine my surprise when this month's book club host picked a book by this very author.  Just before the book was chosen, I downloaded one of her other books to read.  I decided to keep reading it before starting the new one and just finished it last night.  Holy cow!  This book was a GOOD story!
But here's the thing, my book club isn't reading this book and I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!  
The book's premise is how the lives of three women (who are simply acquaintances of each other) intersect and the effect they have on each other (unbeknownst to them).  One of the characters is a woman in her 60s whose daughter was murdered about 20 years earlier.  We find out that the one of the other women in the story is married to and has three children with the man who committed the murder 20 years before.  The murder is confessed when, after a night of drinking upon his first daughter's birth, the husband writes a letter to his wife confessing the killing when he was a teenager. The letter was hidden and not to be opened until his death.  Years later, his wife found the letter while cleaning out the attic, BEFORE he had actually died.  The remainder of this woman's story in the book was about her grappling with this information.  
Her husband, as far as was written in the book, was a good husband and father.  He worked hard, treated his family well, and volunteered his time to his daughters' school and other community endeavors.  He is written so the reader likes him.  This news was an obvious blow to his wife.  She had no idea of his crime and had to figure out what to do with the information.  She vacillated between wanting to turn him in and wanting to continue her life with the father of her children.  She was physically sick over it, rightly so.  Being an acquaintance of the girl's still-grieving mother also added to her dilemma.  
And what a dilemma it would be.  While she went through the process of digesting this news and her options, I wasn't happy with any of them.  I didn't like the thought of her staying with him, knowing what he had done, but I also didn't like the thought of turning him in and making him leave his own family.  
This silly quote came off as very powerful to me as to what this scenario would do to a person, "She pulled his plate away.  She avoided his eyes. She hadn't made eye contact with him since he'd come home.  If she behaved normally, if she let life just continue on, wasn't she condoning it?  Accepting it?  Betraying (her) daughter?  Except wasn't that exactly what she'd already decided to do?  To do nothing? So what difference did it make if she was cold towards him?  Did she really think that made a difference?  'Don't worry (grieving mother) I'm being so mean to your daughter's murder.  No lamb roast for him!  No sir!' "
People have pasts, and if you love someone you acknowledge it and then, hopefully, move on from there.  But physically harming someone is quite a different story isn't it, and killing them, well, that would be the worst thing to have your past, wouldn't it.  On the other hand, that wasn't who she married, but then again, it was.
It's quite an ethical dilemma.  I'd like to say that if it were me, I'd take the ethical road.  But I don't think it would be quite as black and white as that.  

*Being vague about the title, author, and characters is in hopes of not spoiling a fairly major event in the book.  It happens mid-way through, so it's not telling the ending, but still it's a bit of a spoiler.

On a less serious note, Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. Replies
    1. Uh oh, is blogger eating your comments again?

    2. Seems so. I'd a long one ready. I wondered if the Gaelic I added was the cause.

    3. I find I have to be really in the mood for tragedy. I can do it for work but then my viewpoint is 45 degrees to the matter at hand. Like watching a play from the side of the stage. But to have the conflicting emotion wash over one from a book, film or play while in the audience-reader can wring you out to a point that your mind shuts down to protect itself, if the Art is good enough that is.
      It takes preparation to deal with hell piled upon hell.

    4. The thing that was interesting about this book is that it wasn't written as a tragedy. There was this piece of the story that certainly was, but as whole it wasn't. I don't want to say it was light, because it wasn't, but it wasn't a devastating read either. It was fast and entertaining. But I just found that particular character and the way her life was turned up on itself because she was snoopy and opened the letter. I'm not sure if I identified with her personality or what it was to make me write about it.
      Anyhow, I'm not sure why your comment didn't show. It's not in my spam and other posts of yours where you have written something in Gaelic have posted fine. Darn it!

  2. It's sounds interesting! If I'd read it, I'd be happy to discuss it with you. :) I'm just trying to figure out the author, as well as the title of this particular book.

    I just finished The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and will review it before too long. In the meantime, I'm starting our next book club selection...a book I would never have chosen on my own.

    Love the cartoon. :)

    1. What do you mean? My vague description didn't help you figure it out?!?! ;)
      It's The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriartiy.
      I'm reading "What Alice Forgot" for book club and about half way through...it's also really good. I'm smitten with the author's writing. I'm not sure if it's because there's a sarcastic/self deprecating tone to it and that's my sense of humor, or what. But I'm devouring them. The author has 4-5 in all - stand alone novels. I think she's classified as chick-lit, but I didn't find it as sappy and silly as some of the other chick lit I've read. I'd highly recommend it.
      I'm headed over to comment on your book review, but what is your next one?!?!

    2. Okay...so I obviously wasn't familiar enough with the author (or book) to figure that out!! (hey...that's one reason to read book reviews at other folk's blog) ;)

      I've heard of What Alice Forgot, but can't remember any details. I'll have to look it up. Seems like one of my favorite book bloggers (who must have burned out since she and her blog fell off the face of the earth) reviewed it and loved it.

      Our next book club read is Resilience by Jessie Close (Glenn Close's sister) and deals with mental illness. So far it hasn't been difficult to read (in any sense), but we shall see as it progresses.