Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happiness Sold Seperately

I got this book by Lolly Winston at my book swap party and just finished it last night. Overall, I liked it more than I expected to. The book is essentially all about a struggling relationship, infertility, and infidelity.

It follows the marriage of Elinor and Ted, who at 40, have been trying for two years to get pregnant and can't. It's torn their marriage apart and eventually led to Ted having an affair. I've mentioned before that I’m really uncomfortable reading books that center around cheating, but this book didn’t incite quite the same squirm-effect as others on the same subject have. I think because it was handled in a more realistic and honest way. It focused less on the deceit and sneaking around, and more on the sadness that led Ted to cheat and the way they try to work through it. I mean, the dude talks to his mistress on his home land line that he shares with his wife. While she's home. It was so much more believable. He was basically your average dude with no stealthy cheat-skills and in the end is embarrassingly honest about the whole deal.

It tells both sides of the story so well that it’s easy to sympathize with all the characters, and even though I’ve never been in this particular marital mess pile, I think anyone in a serious, long term relationship can relate to the kind of conflict and issues that play out in this book. Maybe not to this level of mess-pileyness, but still. It addresses how despite everyone’s best intentions, you can still be in a bad place, and how sometimes you say something rude to the person you love and mean it, but regret it at the same time. How unspoken things can turn into resentments, even when you don’t want them to.

Ultimately, I was happy that it didn’t take the easy way out, the plot took a few unexpected turns and the author didn’t tie it all up at the end with a pretty pink bow. The author also has another book, Good Grief that I’ve picked up and put down at Barnes and Noble before, but if I see it at Half Price Books I’ll pick it up next time; sort of the literary equivalent of "definitely rent it, but you don't need to pay the $15 to see it in the theatre". You know what I mean?


Lindsey said...

Hi Jill! I found your witty little blog through Maggie's. I hope you are well!

I have Good Grief on my shelf right now. I read it a few years ago and I loved it! Definitely pick it up next time you see it at HPB.


Jill said...

Hi Lindsey! Thanks for the recommendation for Good Grief. If you're interested in reading Happiness Sold Separately, maybe I could mail it to you and you could send me Good Grief? Or is that weird?
Anyways, good to hear from you!