Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"The Stuff That Never Happened" by Maddie Dawson

336 pages

In her head, Annabelle knows that she's lucky. She has a faithful husband a career that she loves, and two loving grown children. Her heart, however, can't let go of a man she loved more than twenty-five years ago. Her feelings for Jeremiah never really left, but they've intensified as her husband, Grant, has begun writing a book and become completely engrossed in his work, leaving Annabelle lonely and isolated. Then Annabelle leaves their home in New Hampshire to take care of their daughter in New York during her high-risk pregnancy, putting even more literal and figurative distance between Annabelle and Grant. And when Annabelle runs into Jeremiah on the streets of the city, she's forced to confront her past with him and decide where her future will take her.

This isn’t the type of book I normally read, but I enjoyed it. I myself often feel paralyzed when making big decisions that will affect the rest of my life, so I sympathize with Annabelle as she struggles to figure out what to do about her marriage. She seems like a real person, as do her daughter and son. Grant and Jeremiah, however, seem very two-dimensional to me. One of the big problems I have with this book is that neither of the two men Annabelle feels torn between is really as wonderful as she’s made them out to be in her mind. Grant is so obsessed with writing his book that he’s downright neglectful, and Jeremiah just seems completely selfish. I also didn’t like the repetitiveness that comes up occasionally—Annabelle rehashes the same thoughts over and over, which is realistic but not fun to read. Still, I thought it was nice to read a book that describes marriage as it is in real life, with problems and flawed people, instead of the fairy-tale stuff that we often find in fiction. 

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