Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Old Ball and Chain
"Here Lies My Heart"
Edited by Amy Bloom

Okay, I confess, last month I shadowed a book club. A non-fiction book club. I nearly went to the discussion but chickened out, possibly last minute, for several reasons. I could argue they are all valid.

First off, Here Lies My Heart is a collection of stories about marriage - why we marry, why we don't, and what we find there (directly from the cover, as you can see). This collection provides a nice cross section of couples, singles, and single couples, going through various stages of the life-changing process. Some have been cheated on, some have cheated, some have given up on love only to have found it anew, others suffered devastating losses when disease killed their partner. All are interesting stories in their own way.

The collection as a whole was worth the read. Most, I don't say all because there were a few that weren't, were heartbreakingly honest. So much so that I relished a glimpse inside these worlds and felt cheated when a writer wasn't completely forthcoming with details so as to close the shades on me. I got that, as a collection, marriage tends to be something that is really hard, and I can't agree, which is why I found the book kindof intimidating.

This collection is filled with grief over infidelity, and broken partnerships. And while I've not been married all that long, I can't share the sentiments about marriage many of the writers profess. Mine has been an altogether positive experience. I like compromise. I mean, I don't like compromise but I like that we both have to compromise. It's the best way to live for one as lucky as myself to find an amazing wife (okay, too much, yeah).

So I couldn't discuss the book partly because it intimidated me with it's lopsided, probably later-in-life, cynical, view of marriage. And I couldn't discuss it because I felt like I would be outweighed in my argument by a bunch of bitter old people with a lot more experience in their ammo bag. And I couldn't discuss because I really don't have that much of an opinion about it other than that it has been great for me. I feel liberated, I feel like I have a partner, someone I can share my fears and desires and needs and failures and successes and everything else with, plus I can kiss her when I like and she usually kisses back. It's not a bad deal. Maybe one day I'll write a story and send it to Amy Bloom, the editor, about my positive experience with marriage. But not now, I'm too busy being married as it is. Read this book, it's good for its voyeurism and you really get a look inside some lives that are kindof messed up and secretly feel good about the place you're at. Plus the cover is similar to what my wife and I had as our Ceremony program. Small world!

1 comment:

Miss Kubelik said...

I'm the lucky one.