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This Is Not the Story You Think It Is...: A Season of Unlikely Happiness Paperback – April 5, 2011
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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From Publishers Weekly
A kind of colloquial diary composed during the rocky summer her husband was suffering a midlife crisis, debut author Munson aims to convince the reader, in her chatty, self-absorbed narrative, that her hard-won serenity helped conquer her husband's shakiness at committing himself to their future together. When her husband (who remains nameless) announced his uncertainty that he loved her, then embarked on bizarrely atypical behavior, leaving her and their two children, eight and 12, wondering where he was, Munson had her own notions about what was ailing him, reinforced by mountains of self-help books and therapists: his job was failing, he was drowning in debt, and he was worried about losing their fabulous 20-acre horse-and-ski farm in rural Montana. Munson hoped he could regain a sense of gratitude for what they had, namely 15 years of a loving family. Munson urged her husband to take a trip, as she had just returned from a month-long rejuvenating stint to Italy, or even helicopter lessons, yet his resentment of her ran deeper than she cared to confront. She concentrated on what she could control, namely creating a nice home and throwing herself into community activism, then witnessed with joy her husband's gradual coming around. Unfortunately, Munson's journey doesn't ring entirely convincing or forthright, and if the title truly reflected her marital crisis, the reader might run the other way. (Apr.)
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Top customer reviews
Right away we find out she is a self help advocate, with her stack of books by her bedside with titles that I'm very familiar with (many of the same books are at my bedside as well). So I'm thinking, yeah, I'm going to like this book...and I did in small doses.
I was in awe of the writing in certain paragraphs and her inner diaglogue of being angry despite her level of consciousness was relatable. Yet the story was a bit redundant and more superficial than I'd hoped...was hoping she'd dig a bit deeper.
Maybe she will in a future book!
My mixed feelings come in because sometimes blather is what you're looking for. What I mean is, this writer specifically states that she wanted a book like hers to read while she was going through her marital crisis. She wanted someone to relate to, someone who had walked in her shoes and come out the other side okay, with some grace in tact. If this is what you want, then this book might very well give it to you.
The narrative of the book takes place over about a four month period, and the couple's history of meeting, marrying, moving etc. is woven in for context. I'm sure the history of the couple was relevant, but it felt like it was added in to pad what would have otherwise been (and was originally) a long magazine article.
I didn't think this book was well-written by literary standards, but it does have the quality I have to assume she's going for, of being "the friend who has suffered with you", and having a certain rawness that lends itself to diary writing. Parts of it have a halting structure. Where she says deep things. Really, she does. And it's meaningful. And powerful. So be prepared for it should you decide to read this book.
I picked this up because I was in a situation of relationship uncertainty and thought it _would_ be nice to have a "friend" to relate to. But after reading this, I realized it would actually have been better to have read something entirely different, something entirely more useful. Because despite being a book about keeping yourself together in times of uncertainty, she doesn't actually talk about HOW. She talks about creating beauty instead of suffering, how she's taking the high road etc. But what she doesn't mention is how to relieve the anxiety, how to implement techniques like mindfulness or meditation or whatever else keeps a person calm in times of stress. That's what I would have wanted on my bedside table. Not this.
That's a very powerful position from which to operate. We're way more powerful than our circumstances.