7.24.2017

The Uncoupling Book Club: Week 4


Meghan

So it appears that Wolitzer has organized this book based on how each character is before the spell happens and how they act afterwards. Pretty much each chapter has focused on a new character, and always the female characters. Does anyone else find it strange that Wolitzer seems to use the characters full names sporadically throughout the book ... like suddenly she will just say "the spell overtook Ruth Winik," after we have already had the entire chapter devoted to her. Anyways, no big deal, just odd.

I found the gym teacher's comment at the end of chapter 11 to be pretty harsh ...

"'I can't,' was what she said, looking up at him. Then she added, miserably, 'Please don't ever ask me again.'"

Bruuuutal...

This section is also interesting because the story begins to more closely mirror the story of the play. Marissa claims her unwillingness to have sex was her choice and that it is in protest of the war in Afghanistan.

Another theme that kind of reoccurs throughout the book is parenting. Meg mentioned this in our first week doing this club, but Wolitzer writes a great line when Dory is trying to comfort Willa after her breakup:

"They lived in a time in which it was tremendously difficult, as parents, to let children endure any pain. If you sensed their despair, you took it on as if it were your own. You let it ruin you, imagining that they, somehow, they would be spared." 

This is exactly why I cannot have children...

Meagan

"They always tried to hurry so that at the very least Henry could have an orgasm"... what a martyr Ruth is eh? I thought the part about Ruth letting her boys in the bathroom was interesting. A few weeks ago I was at a party with my sister's boyfriend's sister (hope you got that) who is a teacher. She was telling me when her daughters were younger she absolutely dreaded summer break because it was more work to be at home with them than her actual job. I love when people share these real tidbits with me and not just "aw I can't wait for summer with my babies" NO. 

I read the last bit of this week's book club before work this morning, after a weekend where I just finally felt like I truly wanted kids, and then there was this bit from Dory:

"They lived in a time in which it was tremendously difficult, as parents, to let children endure any pain. If you sensed their despair you took it on as if it were your own. You let it ruin you, imagining that they, somehow, would be spared."

Ugh- this is why I've always been so stressed to be a parent. I can't care about anything this much.

As we met Jason, the book dives deeper into how impossible the war in Afghanistan was. I wonder if Wolitzer's politics are involved here. If I had to guess I'd say she was very against the war, and this book is her sort of political "revolt" but, I was taught in school never to assume the viewpoints of the author based on those expressed in the book. I sometimes forget though how split Americans were on that war. 

4 comments:

  1. My god- I don't read Meg's post before writing my own and I maybe should have because we posted the exact same quote... we are so lame but it IS AN IMPORTANT QUOTE.

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  2. I don't even know where to start with all of this, as I'm pretty much writing my response for last week too because I was so behind. I'm struggling to imagine whether this "spell" is just the mundane feeling that washes over a lot of women after years with their partner, if it really is some sort of "magic" that could be undone by the herbalist at the Asian health food/ video store that the principals wife went to or if it is just the parallel to the play that's happening. Maybe it's all three. Maybe I write run-on sentences.

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    1. Ok not sure if this is what you meant- but I really like your interpretation of the 'spell' as just a symbol of the lull we all go through in relationships. I thought the spell was so stupid but if this is the idea behind it I kind of really like it now haha...

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    2. yeah like how couples have "dry spells" all the time ... hmmm I didn't even think of it like that. I keep picturing like a wicked witch from Snow White.

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