These Are The Days

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Book Tour: “Apart at the Seams”

By invitation of my friend, Lori, I recently read “Apart at the Seams” by Melissa Ford. And now I’m participating in this virtual book tour!

Melissa is the blogging and social media editor at BlogHer and she is the author of several books, including this one.

Let me just start by saying that this was a most enjoyable read. I downloaded it to my Kindle Fire and read it on the plane to California this summer. A quick peek at my reading list on my Kindle and you’ll immediately note non-fiction in the form of current events, autobiography/memoir and biographies. I don’t generally gravitate toward fiction. But I am aggressively trying to expand my reading horizons. This book was a wonderful diversion from my normal reads.

So. The book tour! Lori Holden, who is the spectacular creative mind behind www.LavenderLuz.com, is the leader of this book tour. Each of us was asked to respond to three questions on our blog and then link back to her blog so you could see what other readers thought.

The main characters are Arianna, our heroine; Ethan, her live-in boyfriend; Rachel, Ethan’s sister and Arianna’s best friend; and Noah, a television writer who develops a deep friendship with Arianna – leaving her questioning everything in her life. Here’s a link to the book description.

 

1. Knowing that Arianna never wants to get married, why do you think Ethan kept pushing the idea rather than compromising?

My response: I really don’t know why Ethan kept pushing the issue of marriage knowing that it wasn’t something Arianna wanted. It’s an interesting role reversal, though, given that we more often hear of women who are pushing for marriage more than men.

I do think Ethan truly loves Arianna. And to him, the next logical step is to get married. Although it’s interesting that he doesn’t hold a traditional view of marriage. He wants to travel the world and be carefree. But she has a child and an extremely demanding career; neither of these things is conducive to living a jet-setter life. Although he concedes the nomadic lifestyle in the end, I really think she compromised her dreams and settled. He seems like a really wonderful person. But I don’t know if they were the best match.

2. Arianna is an interesting character. Her statement early in the book stayed with me and, I believe, accurately described her, “…feels like a nice buffer, a cotton batting that I can wrap myself in, knowing all is safe and neat in my world.” Ethan refers to her as an island. She did expect her world to be tidy and tried to control it — the people and circumstances — to make it so. Why? Where did this originate from?

My response: She’s very Type-A personality. And I can *so* relate to this. The need to control, to make sure everything is taken care of and everyone around her is happy is something I’ve struggled with as well. While taking care of others is a wonderful thing, if it becomes all-consuming there is little left over to care for yourself.

Arianna doesn’t do well with disruption. Although she seems to thrive on chaos created in her work environment (something I can absolutely relate to), things need to be neat as a pin in her personal life.

In my 20s, I was extremely dedicated to my career. Climbing the ladder, walking the walk, being the one that had all my sh*t together … that is what fueled me. While my work life was hectic and chaotic and exhilarating all at the same time, my personal life was quite lovely. Everything was in its place.

Eventually, I reached a place of burnout with my career. I was working long hours for little pay and the rewards and accolades were dwindling. I wasn’t eating in a healthful way and I certainly wasn’t doing anything to take care of my body in the form of exercise. I had lost myself in my career.

I can absolutely relate to her wanting to have a “nice buffer…like a cotton batting to wrap herself in.” There was a time when I wanted that, too.

3. As a reader I felt distanced and came away with the impression that I only knew what Arianna wanted me to know. I wasn’t convinced that she knew herself, or possibly even trusted herself all that much. I questioned her motivation and felt she “settled,” which made me sad. I feel no one should settle. Do you feel she was settling?

My response: I do think, in some aspects, she settled. Ethan was comfortable for her and you could feel that his love for her was genuine and deep. But she resisted making a commitment for so long that I wondered if she was just in the relationship because it was too comfortable. Maybe she didn’t want to shake things up for her son. Maybe the stability, however shaky, of her relationship with Ethan was based not on some deep love, but on the sense of security it provided to her son?

I have to say I was sort of cheering for her and Noah. He seemed to speak to all the sides of her that she treasured most: her work, her motherhood, her creativity. In Ethan, she has a good partner and lover, but she complained so much about him that I often wondered why she was with him.

I do feel a bit let down that she didn’t end up with Noah.

To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list here. 

20 Comments

  1. I cheered a bit for Noah, too.

    I remember a few times n my dating life when my head and heart were at odds. I was pulled between two guys — one who made sense and one who made my heart sing. There’s no easy answer there. Arianna’s predicament reminded me of my own. BTW, I decided on neither.

    Thanks for being part of the tour!

    • Kim

      September 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      “one who made sense and one who made my heart sing” – great way to phrase it!

      This was my first time participating in the book tour (you probably guessed that). Great book choice – I look forward to reading the other responses.

  2. I often wondered how Arianna ended up so Type A while I was reading the book, and then I got to the parts involving her parents. There seems to be a common theme for women about my age, where the parents tended to be so self-involved and worried about outward appearances that it adversely affected their kids. We live life thinking that we have to be perfect and accomplish everything we set out to do with no acknowledgement that sometimes failure is ok. Because failure was never ok according to our parents.

    • Kim

      September 4, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      I totally agree with this sentiment. I, too, was raised in an environment where outward appearances were deemed to be more important than anything else. It’s destructive, isn’t it?

  3. I too wanted to see Arianna with Noah and felt a bit disappointed as well at the end of the story. However, after thinking about it some more I came to realize that maybe Arianna and Noah were way too much alike and the initial attraction would soon wear off. Sometimes when a couple aren’t such a “perfect” fit they sometimes manage to maintain the relationship because all the differences between them keeps them talking and makes life more interesting. My husband and I (married for 24 years) are similar in some ways and very different on many others. He always tells me that I keep life interesting for him even though we have had major differences along the way. I guess this is our souls ways of maturing. We are all meant to learn and our significant other/partner is the prime person who offers us that unique opportunity in life.

    • Kim

      September 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      Great perspective. I hadn’t thought about it that way.
      (but I confess, I really wish she had ended up with Noah) 🙂

  4. I’m just impressed that you read on a plane. I tend to be gripping the arm rests — can’t hold a book 🙂

    Thank you for reading mine.

    I really loved Noah too, for what it’s worth. I think she would have lost many of the things she cherished if she ran off with him, but he was a good guy, a fun guy. I hope he’s making Bee happy.

    • Kim

      September 4, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      I’m not the greatest flyer. In fact, I hate it. So reading is a wonderful distraction for me. Your book was wonderful. And I agree with your sentiments about Noah. I hope Arianna and Ethan are happy together … could there be another book in the series? 🙂

  5. “It’s an interesting role reversal, though, given that we more often hear of women who are pushing for marriage more than men.”

    I was struck by that as well. I really appreciated the conversation about marriage in this book and had a lot of my own thoughts on the matter because I didn’t get married in at the same time (in my life) as most people and my (now) husband and I had to think long and hard about whether we wanted to get married after we bought a house and had kids, because by skipping it initially, we stole a lot of the tradition and context from it as a “next step” and “foregone conclusion.” I was definitely the one that was more interested in getting married but even I had a hard time pinning down exactly why. I still can’t explain it to myself, or others, as well as I’d like. I actually appreciated that Arianna and Ethan had a hard time articulating why the didn’t want to and wanted to get married, respectively. It can be hard to figure out why one feels a certain way about those things in our culture that are taken for granted. It requires a lot of soul searching and sometimes the muddy waters of uncertainty surrounding these topics never really clear.

    • Kim

      September 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      I appreciated the conversation about marriage as well. Commitment can mean many things – not just marriage. Thank you for taking time to read my post!

  6. First I am glad to know there are others who are not great flyers. I like you usually have a book and music in my ears.
    I at first rooted for Arianna and Noah but as the story went forward I started seeing Arianna and Ethan as a better fit. I used the cliche “opposites attract”. I think Arianna needed a balance to that Type A and Ethan provided that for her. I don’t think she settled but rather realized Ethan was the best balance in her life

    I would certainly hope for a sequel as I did enjoy the book.

    • Kim

      September 5, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Great point about Ethan being the best balance in her life. I’m hoping for a sequel, too!

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. I love the bit about the role-reversal of the man pushing the marriage. And yet it wasn’t this Big Deal in the book – not OH AND DID YOU NOTICE HOW I DID THAT ROLE REVERSAL? It was just there.

    As for the rest – my more considered thoughts coming on my day of the tour.

  8. Ethan was such a great composite character in contrast to Arianna’s. I appreciated his flexibility and generosity, a guy who knew what he wanted, and why. I was convinced Ethan was best for Arianna, but her for him? Not sure on that one…

  9. I agree with you that I don’t know if Ethan & Arianna are the best match. It felt like she settled after Noah’s rejection, as though she thought she better hang on to what she had since she couldn’t have what she wanted.

  10. I think Ethan knows himself quite well, knows what he wants in life and is sure of his love for Arianna, while Arianna starts out pretty clueless. I mean, she holds on to the thing she said when she was a teenager (that she would never marry) – why? Because it made her feel special, not like the rest of the girls? Ethan is himself all the time, he is not afraid of sharing the most wildest thoughts, because he is not concerned he would scare Arianna away. Arianna is one person with Ethan, another with Rachel, another at work, and another with Noah. We all present different sides of ourselves to different people, but when lying is involved (even through omission), we stop being true to ourselves (truism of the day :-)).
    When she is forced to have a look at what she is and what she wants, she realises that Ethan is indeed her one, and that her instincts in choosing him were right. He loves her, and waits for her to realise how much she loves him back. Which is not settling, is it?
    If I am to be honest, I did not like Noah all that much, mostly because I got the impression he treated Arianna as a public who reacted correctly to his witty remarks, and his surprise at her reaction in the jewelry store was either genuine (otherwise why invite her there) or just a means of sobering her up from the fantasy she was starting to imagine about the two of them. Either way, he did encourage her to get ideas, but he denied any responsibility (but we were just friends, it is not my fault). And who sends so many flirting texts while getting serious in a relationship with someone else? Especially in that part, when the falling in love occurs and things start getting serious and you think of sharing your life with this wonderful other person, who sends that kind of flirty texts to someone else they met while waiting for their dry cleaning? Nope, I do not like Noah. And yes, I do realise I am one of the few. 🙂

    • Kim

      September 11, 2014 at 2:49 am

      Great comments, Mina! Thanks so much. I respect where you’re coming from. But I still was cheering for her and Noah 🙂

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