Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thoughts on a Recent Read

I just finished reading this book, “Happens Every Day” by Isabel Gillies. It was so good, although I can’t tell you why. I mean, I could if I knew but I just can’t figure it out.

I love reading memoirs, although they make me feel somewhat guilty. So many times I feel voyeuristic, as though I am seeking entertainment through the emotional pain of others. Perhaps that is because I am! Aren’t I?

“Happens Every Day” is a woman’s account of her first marriage falling apart. It was a very quick, easy read. Maybe because I have lived that story myself. I could relate so much to the author’s story...her suspicions regarding her husband’s relationship with another woman at his work, her disbelief that her marriage was falling apart, her conviction that if she could just find the right thing to say or do, she could reverse the path they were on and save her marriage. Been there, done that, got the emotional scars to prove it.

I just can’t decide if it’s fair or foul to write about such a thing. The author uses pseudonyms for her husband and the woman who became his next wife, but still, I’m sure they are pretty identifiable to family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, neighbors, etc. I thought the author did an admirable job of treating her ex pretty fairly. She does not portray him as a monster, nor does she treat herself as much of a victim. I’m not sure how she pulled that off, actually! Still, I’m not sure I could do it, or would want to. Although my first marriage ended many years ago, I’m not sure I would want to knock myself out to portray my first husband in a positive light. He broke our vows and he broke my heart and I feel no obligation to sugar coat it. On the other hand, his “crime” was being a mediocre husband. That doesn’t really call for a public flogging, does it?
I just can't help but question the author's motives for publishing this book. Why put this intimate personal information out there for public consumption? On one hand, it's a little appalling, but on the other...gosh, I love the idea of revenge by publication! I think I will start threatening that, when people won't bend to my will. My battle cry will be, "This is going in my memoirs and then you'll be sorry!"


Robin Thomas: A Nest With a View said...

I was actually hoping to make it into your memoir. Threaten away, I'll enjoy the anticipation of just which story you would pick. By the way, you would be fair in such a treatise.

Milly said...

. . . so we are writing a book :-}

I could paint a picture of a man who wanted to be a boy who. . .

Anonymous said...

Isabel Gillies is an actress (Law & Order: SVU), my guess is that more than just her family knows her ex-husband. I think the writing was therapeutic and the publishing was payback. Isabel mentioned that the new wife was her friend first and that now they all get along great. Given that situation, it would be hard to be civil at all times, even for children. The feeling of superiority helps, I suppose. Personally, feel that a book like that could help others who may be experiencing something like that now. Although, it seems a little unfair to the children.