Mothers & Fathers

Without meaning to, I read a book about mothers and a book about fathers back to back.

The latter I finished as I was sitting at our kitchen table at lunchtime, eating my grocery store sushi, absolutely engrossed in the last few paragraphs of this amazing story. The ending was so good – yet, so heart wrenching – that I felt compelled to read a passage aloud to my poor husband, who wasn’t in the least offended that I was absorbed in a book during his brief lunch break.

“There are things in this world that no human being should be able to endure. We should die of heartbreak, but we do not. Instead, we are forced to survive, to bear witness.” – Noah Hawley, The Good Father

Gaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! Doesn’t that just KILL you? So true, so succinct, so poignant.

Needless to say, I enjoyed The Good Father. It’s awful and made me feel ill at times, but it’s amazing.

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It started off like a Dateline episode for me. There’s this catastrophic event and a team of people, led by a zealous father, are trying to put it together. Well, I’ll just tell you since it’s on the book jacket… The father is trying to prove that his son is innocent of murdering a United States Senator campaigning for President. So, very Dateline-mystery-ish plot.

But, beyond the mystery, there was just this really beautiful tale about relationships and choices and regret and how humans can be awful and wonderful, whole and broken all at once.

I didn’t want it to end the way it ended. At times, it felt like a slow motion car crash… I could see it coming, but boy, I refused to accept it right up until impact. But, even so, I got it. I understood why it needed to be that way.

Just before reading this story, I read The Mothers by Brit Bennett.

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This one has similar themes, actually. There’s a catastrophic event (two, actually) that impacts everyone in unexpected, devastating ways. This one is also about relationships, choices, consequences and the sometimes moral duality of human nature.

I should have loved it… yet, it wasn’t for me.

I don’t know what it was. I read it till the end. I admired the writing. I understood the characters. I didn’t judge their choices. It’s just that… I didn’t really love anyone enough to get emotionally invested. I wanted to! I really, really wanted to! But, it just didn’t happen. I closed that book feeling like I’d read something important, but knowing it probably wouldn’t stick with me long term.

On the other hand, the “mothers,” which are the church mothers that act as a sort of Greek Chorus throughout the novel… I LOVED them! Honestly, I could’ve had more of them and less of the main characters!

It always fascinates me, what one person loves and another person hates. It always makes me curious when I surprise myself by loving something I thought I’d hate or hating something I thought I’d love. People are curious, aren’t they?

To wrap it up: one book – meh, one book – ammmaazzinngg. Both worth reading.

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