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.