Time to get disengaged. It is not easy to get disengaged in this era of connectivity even if I am at a place where there is absolutely no network. I always carry a book with me. I also have an iPad that has a great selection of books that I want to read.
I am a glutton when come to reading. I need to constantly engage my mind with something to read be it a physical book or an article online. Perhaps I just need to be engaged myself with words, some stuff to think about. The mind is only capable of knowing what is already known. I want to know what is deep inside my mind. Maybe reading is not the best way but for now reading is.
There are times I find myself maximizing my waking hours and filling in every minute of day with reading and writing in between my work, wondering where I will be if I do what I am particularly interested in. In the evening , I feel I need to take a breather between tasks so I catch episodes of Black Mirror or a film and then I feel tired and it is time to hit the sack. There goes one or two hours of my evening.
Every time I am done with a book, I need to decompress a little before writing about it .
I had read Other People’s Marriages written by Shane Watson before reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. Now that I am done reading the fiction by Hank Green I will post something about the novel by Shane Watson. Every book has its value and I am glad that I have read both books.
There are good characterizations in Other People’s Marriages and the story is about married people. One of the main characters, Anna is a writer. She is writing what promises to be a bestseller about marriage and what makes it work. Her friends are her case studies : Ruth and Dave, the boho couple, Valerie and Archie , the smug marrieds with a teenage daughter and a son. Anna also includes Jean and her ex-husband, Tony. After her ex-boyfriend, Dan walked out on her, Anna has been in a relationship with Richard who seems to be the perfect guy but a little out of place with the other men in their social circle. Richard is different in that he is leaner, cleaner and a lot firmer. He is trendy and cares much about grooming. He puts in efforts in his appearance and seemingly not afraid to be in touch with his ‘feminine’ side. Besides owning a successful organic food shop, he is an alternative therapist. The whole package about a nice apartment, fitness and vegetarian thing plus passion for cooking make the other guys feel uncomfortable.
In the story, not only that Anna and her female friends meet together and talk about their feelings and share details about what is happening in their respective homes, the men also do the same separately and exchange their experiences and musings about staying married. These women and their husbands socialize and hang out together on a regular basis.
These married women think they are equipped to give Anna advice about what she should be looking for in a partner.
Ruth says it has to be someone your respect. Jean thinks it is not then Ruth suggests you have to be best friends. Valerie disagrees. Jean says her ex-husband Tony is more like a child and a princeling. Jean says it has to be someone who amuses you and who is amused by you.
Here is Jean’s take.
‘ I’d say you want someone who amuses you and who is amused by you. Ideally, someone who never expected to end up with a woman like you, so he’s continually amazed by his own cleverness at having brought it about.’
Jean adds that it helps if you give them the impression that you’re not terrifically bothered either way.
Valerie says someone who can pay the bill is not a bad start. It is then when Anna decides to write a book about what makes marriage work.
Anna interviews her friends about reasons for getting married and whether there are changes in terms of expectations and benefits after being married for years.Ruth begins to muse about her discontent.
‘‘OK’ Anna flipped over the page of her notebook. Can you tell me what, specifically?’
Well…..’ Ruth hesitated. Her eyes shifted upwards to the bookshelves behind Anna’s head. ‘ You know when people say all you want in a partner is a best friend, someone you can go through life with, hand-in-hand, chuckling all the way?”
Anna’s eyes drifted up from her notebook, her expression even more than unusually neutral.
‘ That’s what I thought I wanted. I thought that’s what any sensible woman wanted. And now I don’t,’ Ruth said . That’s what ‘s changed.‘
Other People’s Marriages by Shane Watson is peppered with keen observations about modern life for couples. It has a feel-good ending though I find that the ending is more like a feel good movie ending. The observations about marriages are insightful.