author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review of “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits” by Ayelet Waldman

As in the film “The Other Woman” the book it’s based on, “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits” is about a young woman who marries a man through an adulterous affair, thus becoming a “home wrecker.”  However, life after wedded bliss doesn’t end; greater tragedy after home wrecking truly leads to a pair of wrecked homes following the death of her infant child.  The power of loss transcends and permeates everyone:  the lead character, who cannot function in her personal life along with the direct and indirect strain brought upon her new husband, her stepson, her husband’s ex-wife, and the woman’s parents. 

What I liked about the book is the imperfection of the characters.  The lead character wasn’t someone to be entirely sympathetic with, as none of us are perfect.  Also, the tragic events occurred amongst people with no idea about poverty and the troubles of making ends meet for the next meal; showing that designer scarves do not cover pain any more than a hand-me down sweater.  Also, step parenting is awkward and tough to those who see it as a responsibility.  Many step kids in this world are brought up to feel like they deserve nothing, including love.

While I understand the criticisms of this book, I found it compelling and heartbreaking.  It touches on a number of disturbing realities of life:  loss of a child, broken marriage, fighting ex-spouses, difficult step parenting, and failing second marriages.  The positive note at the end leaves the reader with a sobering but overall good feeling that bad things happen and love leads to recovery.  Four Stars!

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