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My Next Husband Will Be Normal: A St. John Adventure Paperback – February 9, 2012
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Sometimes reality DOES bite. In the author's case, being "self-employed" meant "husband-employed." It also meant long days bent over a sewing machine trying to create enough canvas bags to sell for enough income to keep the wolf from the door. And the door was on a shed with no plumbing. And there were six of those long days every week.
But wait! She's still got the tall, handsome, intelligent man, right? Not really. In the islands ANYTHING GOES and this father of six and former Republican state senator took advantage of the relaxed atmosphere to make some serious changes. A flippy blonde "do," colorful silky clothes, waxed body hair, girly sandals, and (in the words of his bewildered wife) "he's one pearl necklace away from being June Cleaver."
With the grace and courage of a true philosopher and a gutsy broad, the author writes about this sad, bizarre situation with humor and kindness. Paradise is something we only see from a distance and she lost a husband, but kept a friend. And who knows, maybe her next husband WILL be normal!
I liked her book I ONLY CUSS WHEN I'M SAILING, although this one is my favorite.
"My Next Husband Will Be Normal." Yes, my subtitle for this memoir would be "Escape from Paradise." And there are entirely too many bugs in it despite the descriptions of incredible beauty. Yeah, I am rather bug intolerant despite being a Master Gardener in two states. (They are actually more interesting under a microscope.)
But I digress. Rae Ellen Lee has such a pioneer spirit to endure so much. Strung together with humor, she shares an intimate look at the unraveling of a traditional marriage. Tom begins with occasional cross dressing, followed by a shift in style (he was a conservative Republican legislator before the move to St. John.) Pink shorts, a weekly manicure and pedicure and an increasing interesting in researching transgender web sites, are Tom's unfolding into his second self, repressed until the Carribbean winds blow in with the promise of inner freedom.
Rae Ellen Lee grabs her best tool: humor and proceeds to drape herself in denial, false hope and frequent trips to the chiropractor as her life begins to dissemble. She tries affirmations and a series of self help approaches but Tom walks directly toward his future self with a magnetic pull. While her love shifts, she continues to live with and try to understand that Tom is no longer the man she married. She hopes it isn't true but the truth keeps resurfacing.
Without revealing the conclusions to this compelling story, I will say that Rae Ellen Lee wants to retain one thing, her friendship with the man she loved. It seems impossible. Read this unique book to understand what happens.