Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

You know how wonderful it is when you start a book, and immediately you are hooked? This is not that kind of book. This is a book you start reading and you think “Why am I reading this? I don’t like ANY of the characters!”

And yet, somehow, I kept reading. And slowly, slowly, the hook was set, I could not stop reading.

Actually, I read the book several months ago, and I am still thinking about it. That’s a good book. 🙂

We meet one of the main characters as he stands waiting for a train to arrive, carrying his bride-to-be. As we stand waiting with the man, we discover that he is not very likable. We also learn that winters in his part of the country are long and hard, and very strange things happen to people cooped up together during these long, hard winters. It is a very bleak beginnning.

Then we are riding in the train with a woman who is answering an ad placed by the first man who was advertising for a wife. We get a few clues that she is misrepresenting herself, but . . . isn’t a little misrepresentation part of the mating process? Do we really show all our less attractive features to the person to whom we want to be married? And does she know what she is getting in for with this rather cold and distant man?

Do you really want to read this book?

It gets better. So much better. People are complicated, and they lead complicated lives. Sometimes evil leads only downward, and to more evil, and from time to time, there is a gleam of hope and the slim promise of redemption. It gives a clear slice of time from the early 1900’s, and a much earlier time in America. For anyone with the illusions that life in that turn-of-the-century America was a better, simpler, more moral time, this book is a reality check.

Nothing in the beginning of this book is quite what it seems, and yet every word is finely crafted to give a clue as to where the book is going. Will you be able to figure it out before you get there?

(I did not.)

There are so many good books out there. This one is slow to start, but builds steadily to an unforgettable ending. It is worth a read.

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Books, Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Scams, Social Issues, Values, Women's Issues | Leave a comment