Also on in the article by Barbara Claypole White that I mentioned here in which she recommends 16 family dramas that would be excellent book club reads, was Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers.
“Maddy, a social worker, is trying to balance her career and three children, but her husband’s verbal furies have made the family wary and frightened. Where once his fiery passion had been reserved for defending his clients, now he’s lashing out at all of them. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids—keeping a fragile peace—until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.”
I found this book a bit sad, as the couple had a lot of difficulties in their relationship. The writing is good even while the story is frustrating because of the borderline emotionally abusive behavior of Ben, Maddy’s husband. While one might think that the accident would change Ben’s attitude for the better, in fact it led to even more trouble. Of course, a person can’t completely change because of a car accident and if he had, it might have been unrealistic! The story is told in alternating view points from Maddy, Ben, and their daughter Emma, who is 14. I enjoyed her perspective on the situation too, because as the oldest of 3 children, she was put in charge of the younger two, which was not easy for her. To see how this type of marriage effected all of them was very interesting. Also intriguing was that Maddy was a social worker who worked with abused women, and yet she was unable to see that her husband’s behavior was questionable as well.
My next book group meets this coming week and the book we chose to read was The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. I have to say it is not the type of book I regularly read and in parts I kept falling asleep while trying to read it!
“A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.”
I found the setting of the story in Burma to be interesting, and the love story within to be heartbreaking, but the way the story was told was not compelling to me. The one part I enjoyed more than the rest was the revelation of who the character of U Ba actually was. I also found it frustrating that Tin Win was unable to follow his heart back to Burma earlier in his life story. I am curious to see how other members of my book group reacted to this book!
What have you been reading lately?