This month marks a big milestone here in Suburbia. On the 30th, Adventure Guy and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. And, I can honestly say that our marriage feels oddly both enduring and fresh at the same time.
While I’m sure I’ll come up with an appropriately sentimental post as we near the actual date, I’ve found it a bit ironic that my reading selections lately tend toward novels delving into the dissatisfaction that can set in when couples find themselves immersed in the mundane tasks of day-to-day life. For the most part, I feel very little of that type of dissatisfaction with my life (though Adventure Guy and I just had a “discussion” about who had more useless television programming set to record on the DVR).
Emily Griffin’s Heart of the Matter started the trend. I thoroughly enjoyed Griffin’s earlier novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, and Love The One You’re With. Yes, I’ve read all her novels. So, I happily downloaded the latest for my Kindle. Part of the fun of the earlier books resides in the escapism. But Heart of the Matter plops the reader right into what is depicted as the petty, social climbing world of Wellesley, Massachusetts, where the main character has nothing more important to worry about than keeping up with the other moms in the preschool snack arms race. That is until her husband becomes involved in an affair. The plot twists made for a quick read, but it’s not a novel I’d recommend.
As far as literary strength, I’d certainly give the edge to Anna Quindlen over Emily Griffin, so I was even more excited to learn that she had a new novel out. Maybe it’s because I tend to remember her nonfiction, such as A Short Guide To A Happy Life, before I think of her other novels such as Black and Blue and Blessings, but I have to admit finding myself blindsided by the major plot twist in Every Last One. That would not have been as much the case had I spent any time looking at reviews before popping this one onto my Kindle. Even the “non-spoiler” versions mention that something tragic happens in the course of the novel. I will not go into detail, but I will say the viciousness of that tragedy shocked me.
Every Last One really divides into two novels. The first, depicting–again–life in suburbia complete with the daily details of raising a family, running a household, and keeping up a marriage–all while throwing in a successful small business career. The remainder of the novel shows just how little any of that matters once something happens that forever changes that family and community. Every Last One was a better, but far more disturbing, read that was Heart of the Matter, but I can’t quite bring myself to say I enjoyed it.
What I do enjoy is living my own life here in Suburbia. And, though it comes with its share of day-to-day minutia, I find it far from boring. That said, I’m vowing my next venture into summer reading will having nothing to do with domestic dissatisfaction!