Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happiness Sold Separately

Elinor Mackey has always done the right things in the right order -- college, law school, corporate career, happy marriage. Then one morning she picks up the telephone and learns that her devoted husband, Ted is having an affair. Elinor is devastated, yet not entirely surprised. After struggling to have children, the couple has grown emotionally and physically distant. Matters aren't helped by the fact that Ted's mistress is a beautiful, kindhearted woman with a ten-year-old boy who's also fallen head-over-heels for him. But Ted still loves and admires Elinor. Can their marriage be saved? The answer is surprisingly fresh and unexpected in this poignantly funny and messy love story. - Synopsis from the back cover of the novel.

I had mixed feelings as I read the book: sad, angry, happy, and pissed -- all at the same time. I asked "why". Why sad things happen to good people? Like infertility, infidelity. Lolly Winston has successfully created havoc in me. I can't stop thinking about the story even after I've finished it. Shoot. I'm even crying now as I type. Note to self: Cannot be so emo.

Happiness Sold Separately reminds me of Ray Kluun's Love Live. In Love Live, husband and wife fight hard the battle of cancer. In Happiness Sold Separately, husband and wife struggle trying to conceive. Both wives undergo medical treatments that wreck havoc to their bodies -- one to combat cancer, and the other to get pregnant. Both husbands, though supportive, found solace in the arms of other women. And the mistresses have their own circumstances. What a mess. Life's a mess, isn't it?

I lost it (tears just came pouring down like broken pipe) when I came to the part Elinor's husband holds her, trying to console her after she's lost her baby again (the second time) after getting pregnant successfully. "[...] Elinor's surprised when when his waist presses against the small of her back, his crotch against her bottom. He bends so that his chest covers her back and his arms and hands hang over hers. Turning his head the other way, he rests his cheek on her ear. Elinor tenses at first, thinking she'll feel crushed. But Ted is careful with his weight. She feels draped by his body, even warmer, safer, consoled. Couldn't they just live in the laundry room from now one? Hunker down with the Bold and Cheer?..." It was this last sentence that broke me: "...It takes Elinor a moment to realize that the tears on her cheeks aren't hers." I realise the husband is devastated too. He is every bit as affected as his wife.

Please excuse me, I've got to go pull myself together. I'll be right back...