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!