A librarian at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library recommended this to me, and at first I thought – when am I going to be in the mood to read a book about a young mother getting a divorce? Since I have a 30 minute commute to work each way I decided to listen to it on audiobook (I love when an author reads their own book for the audio version, especially when it is a memoir like this, written in first-person). Something about the author’s vivid descriptions and deep introspection pulled me in. Her lilting voice spun a tale of the joys of young motherhood, the adventure of moving to a new city to follow her husband’s academic career, and personal memories of her beloved, albeit enigmatic, husband. It’s WASP-y in all the right ways – intellectual academic-types, well-bred families, summers in Maine. The first half plays out like a Pinterest board come to life – the author is moving her family of two young boys and pets to Oberlin, OH where her husband will teach poetry. The town is funky and fresh. They make quick friends with the locals, eat at wonderful cafes, drink tea, and she volunteers at a local farmer’s market. Together they restore an old 19th century home they lovingly call “Bricky.” They make fast friends with a new female professor and quickly things change. Rather suddenly the husband decides he wants out. The author does a good job of foreshadowing the fact her husband chose to leave her from the beginning of the memoir, but even when it unfolds, I felt undone, unprepared, and raw. The second and third half of the book put the reader squarely in the author’s shoes as she wrestles with “what’s happening…?” (she repeats this many times as she tries to get her bearings). The author recounts her attempts to repair and save the marriage, but in the end accepts the fact her husband has fallen out of love with her and their life and there is nothing she can do to change him. The author never comes across as whiny or meek, but rather very self-introspective and courageous to share her inner-most thoughts. I recommend this work to anyone who can get sucked into reality show marathons or who enjoyed, “Eat, Pray, Love” or “500 Days of Summer” these works share similar themes of personal loss and recovery.
Recommended audience: adult