I heard about the book on the Dear Sugar podcast and decided to check it out.
I'm not feeling all the rancor and judgment reviewers are shooting at thiI heard about the book on the Dear Sugar podcast and decided to check it out.
I'm not feeling all the rancor and judgment reviewers are shooting at this woman over her behavior in widowhood. Either situation: having your husband die suddenly, or the revelation of some pretty liberally applied infidelity, would be something to flip anyone's boat over and leave them flailing... but both in the same year? Oh heck no...why should this woman be expected to "handle her baggage" in a tidy and un-messy manner?
So it's messy and human and all written in colorful prose to make it a little less gray, and as the title implies, there's a turn around and peace-making, and moving forward and all those things that come after facing your demons, doing battle, and claiming an exhausted victory.
I did feel like a couple moments had more information than I needed to know - particularly one graphic line in there early on - but it was otherwise matter-of-fact and candid. Some people are wired to share, some are wired to keep their cards close. People who sit in the gray area (me...75% one side, 25% the other) have varying levels of discomfort with both ends of the spectrum... To that end, I feel we need to learn to accept that those who are comfortable with sharing sometimes put us in uncomfortable positions because we are not inclined to share the same things... but I feel that every time they do and we experience it, something is changed in us. Our own boundaries get a little softer, maybe.
So, if HER sexuality (which seems to me to be fairly healthy and deserved given her husband's dysfunctional sexuality and the level of betrayal) and someone's personal flailing are a turn off, skip it.
Likes and dislikes are spoilered, though not hugely spoilery...
(view spoiler)[ What I liked: After her initial anger with the other women, she settles into conversations with these women and allows herself to hear and learn from what they had to say. When it comes to unanswered questions, she came away with more answers than many would in her situation, by virtue (and sad vice) of her husband's need to write letters to women and journal his behavior.
Given the nature of the betrayal and revelations in her life, she bounces back remarkably fast. It was interesting some people felt like she moped and behaved self-indulgently. Calling the woman who slept with your husband under your nose a couple swear words seems pretty tame, to me...but maybe I'm crazy that way? Calling up some of the women he slept with while he was out of town and raging at them with judgment... well, it's a rough start. Why would they be obligated to speak to you about anything, when there was no pretense of friendship towards you to begin with? But she does address that later on.
Her ability to switch from attraction and passion to friendship and maintain a healthy friendship with a couple of the men she "dated."
Didn't like: The book could have been edited down quite a bit more.
The stories of her former romantic interludes prior to her marriage. It just didn't fit and felt like it was trying to blend a bit more exotic flavor into the narrative than necessary. They would be more fitting for another memoir or essay.
I did feel like it was a shame she cut off her daughter's friendship with the other woman's daughter so abruptly. At least let them write letters or communicate to continue their friendship in some way... I can absolutely understand and empathize with a desire to cut off all communication with the mother, but that was a time when her daughter was likely really needing her friendships. So as much as I can get Julie's feelings about the other woman, I felt that was harsh. But, that said... it is what it is. I certainly wouldn't be able to do everything perfectly, why should she?
The "haunting" episode later in the book. Feeling like someone's spirit is around, ok... I don't particularly believe in spirits wandering the earth, but I do believe the brain can make some amazing connections and create a strong feeling of being haunted. But ghosts pushing people off of things...not so much. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, this is not a book I'd say "I recommend" or "suggest." It either piques your curiosity, or does not, and can be either looked at, or left comfortably on the shelf. I guess that's my way of saying I didn't take much away from it for my own personal growth. It was more like a dramatic movie and in that vein, it's a bit along the lines of Eat, Pray, Love in the candid narration that not everyone will get on board with (case in point: see other reviews).
A friend talked about this and I decided to take a look. It's an excellent book that is intended to be a relationship diagnostic tool. She breaks downA friend talked about this and I decided to take a look. It's an excellent book that is intended to be a relationship diagnostic tool. She breaks down issues into some key deal breakers (an obvious one: physical abuse - written for people who are still in a relationship despite physical abuse), and then continues to break it down to more subtle things that erode a relationship over time (a partner struggling for power/control, someone who refuses to address difficult topics, etc.). The tone is pragmatic, the author is experienced in her field. While there's nothing harsh about it at all, it would not be what I'd call "soft" self-help where there's a lot of talk about positive/negative energy and that sort of thing. It was more like reading a well written Jeep troubleshooting manual for a clunk in the engine you haven't been able to pin down.
I'm usually a bit wishy washy on self-help books and flip through or bail out about half way - this one I read cover to cover. I really liked her insight into issues I would have never thought about and I liked the practical language. I think it's appropriate both for a couple struggling with the decision to stay together, or for one who wants to take their relationship in for a tuneup and make sure all is in good working order. For me, I felt some points are great talking points, others were eye opening... as in "I hadn't admitted to myself I was doing that." ...more
I really enjoyed this - lovely writing, a well told story - a loose retelling of Cinderalla (with a toDidn't realize I'd forgotten to review this...!
I really enjoyed this - lovely writing, a well told story - a loose retelling of Cinderalla (with a touch of Beauty and the Beast). I loved the character's conflict between attraction, love, and obligation, and love again.
Listed as LGBT and it does have a lesbian love interest, but it is less about gender roles and orientation than it is about love.
The writing is great, the main character's Tourette's is well portrayed and believable and it has some funny moments, but I could not get into the sto The writing is great, the main character's Tourette's is well portrayed and believable and it has some funny moments, but I could not get into the story. Those who enjoy mysteries and mobsters, with a not-your-average-detective character, may enjoy this book.
This is a good book for women who've just begun Aikido. It covers some of the basic structure and etiquette in the dojo, overall philosophy and basic This is a good book for women who've just begun Aikido. It covers some of the basic structure and etiquette in the dojo, overall philosophy and basic tenants of the martial art, and the author is inspiring: starting Aikido in her 70's, she quickly achieved her black belt and taught for another 17 years.
The downsides are the jargon, and some overly wordy instructions on technique. A couple segments read like the worlds most disorienting recipes. I feel like the language and techniques should have been simplified. It's great to know the terminology and to have a walk-through of a technique, but the audience is likely either women who have not started Aikido, or beginners who are still wrestling out the basic Japanese words... so I feel it would have been best to keep it as simple as possible. This is where a beginner-as-proofreader may have helped. I could picture someone standing there with the book saying "wait, now I turn to the left...with which foot? What's tsugiashi again?"
Still, I pulled some great information from this book - enough to recognize a couple etiquette blunders I've been making, find a few things to research online, reinforce the understanding of how Aikido works, and come away from it feeling like I've learned something. So if you've just begun Aikido and need some supplemental reading, I recommend it. If you've never heard of the martial art, it could be good, but feel free to skim the wordier instructions.