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Read Along 3: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Parts 5 – 7

17 Feb

Read Along 3
With the snow that’s pounded us here in Detroit, Nicole and I have had a lot more time inside to read than we normally do. So instead of stretching this Read Along into four parts, we’ve combined the last two and finished the book! Yep, it’s over. That was a short Read-Along. It only means we’re closer to Read Along #4! Be ready.

Questions from Nicole: In part 5, we learn about Tomas’s article that he wrote comparing Oedipus to the Czech Communists. How can we compare Tomas’s personal actions to the Oedipus story?  His love affairs continued to happen well after he knew Tereza wanted monogamy and in turn hurt her, do you think this was an act that he could claim he didn’t know he was doing?

I don’t think so. Tomas is very aware of what he’s doing and that it’s wrong. I can compare Tereza to Oedipus more readily. She knew when she started dating Tomas that he was unfaithful and tried to change him. When that didn’t work, she tried being unfaithful herself. Because of Tomas’s actions, she didn’t realize that it would be wrong to be unfaithful to him but when she did, she repented and punished herself. This reminded me more of Oedipus’s self-inflicted pain than any part of Tomas’s story.

Also from Nicole: Part 6 brings a lot of deaths. Tereza, Tomas and Franz all die. Pulling in the title of the book, how do you think the unbearable lightness of their being was justified (or not) justified in their deaths. Sabina is left alone and now lives in California, and we learn that she plans her own death – how is her unbearable lightness justified now that she is dead inside but still mortal?

I think this is answered for Tereza and Tomas in part 7 and I’ll answer it later, but here I’ll discuss Franz. I think he was finally able to achieve a lightness of being but lost it in his final moments. After Sabina left him, he found happiness and was honest with his wife. His young mistress and him were good together and I liked them as a couple. But in his final moments, all he could think of was Sabina. It bothered me a lot that after finding lightness and not worrying about his wife, he ruined what he had with the student by bringing Sabina back.

I don’t agree that Sabina is dead inside. I think she is afraid of a lot of things and commitment is chief of those. The last time we see her, she’s made a commitment to a couple that she knows will not last long. I think she’s only able to achieve lightness by not committing but at the same time, it hurts her to be constantly leaving. I think her lightness comes at a terrible price.

Also from Nicole: When Karenin gets sick and needs to be put to sleep, Tereza accounts her relationship with man vs dog. This section was interesting to me, as an animal lover. Comparing the loyalties and companionship of animal to man has some great contrasts. How can we compare the lightness of being to animals and man? Some people argue that animals have no conscious state, meaning they don’t know any better than to be loyal to their owners. What ideas/thoughts do you have with this last theory?

I believe that animals have feelings and mental capacities and I think many animals demonstrate loyalty. Dogs are a great example, like Karenin. My turtle is conscience enough to know my husband feeds her most of the time and will look to him for food. Karenin liked the love and attention Tereza gave him and that made him happy. I’m not sure if a dog has the mental capacity to understand the lightness of being. I’m trying to think what a dog could do to achieve that state. Maybe he is always there. There is not much that weighs heavy on a dog’s conscious or that he can dream of to make him happier. I can imagine a dining room table that would make me very happy even though I’ve never seen one that looks like the one in my head. I don’t think Karenin could imagine a toy that he’s never seen before that could make him happy. What he has makes him happy so he is content and has achieved the lightness.

And finally, here’s the musing topic I wrote, which is where I’ll return to the second question: We’ve taken a novel to explain what the Unbearable Lightness of Being is. Now that we know, it’s time to pass judgement. Is it good to feel the lightness? Or is it too unbearable to seek?

I think Tomas and Tereza’s journeys tell us this. Tomas felt the lightness of being for so long and he thought it made him happy. As he grew older, he felt it weighing him down and saw that it affected his relationship with Tereza so that it was never what he wanted it to be. In the end, he was able to forgo his womanizing ways and thought he wasn’t light, he was happy. Tereza was weighed down by Tomas and could never achieve the lightness until they went to the country. Then she realized how she was weighing Tomas down and felt heavy for that. There’s no perfect lightness or perfect heaviness but there’s somewhere in the middle where we are the most happy.

And now it’s over! That was a quick read but I’m really glad I read it. My friend who recommended this goes on my mental ‘trusted recommendations’ list.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Read Along 3: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Parts 3 & 4

5 Feb

Read Along 3The second part of the Read-Along is now complete; we’re half-way there. I’m promising a new set-up for Read Along #4 so get ready for it. The anticipation is killing you, isn’t it? I know it is.

Questions from Nicole: The author tells the story of Sabina and Franz. While telling their story, he offers us “a short dictionary of misunderstood words.” He then breaks down these words as a means of how they tell the story. Do you think this lends a new speculative point to the story, where we are now questioning true meanings or is this style choice well used in the middle of the novel?

I don’t find myself questioning the meaning of things, but how I perceive things in my life. For example, Chapter 5 of Part 3 ends with the definition of a cemetery for the two characters. Franz sees them as a blight filled with stones and bones whereas Sabina them as a beautiful celebration of those we have lost. I’m sure there are things in my life that I perceive differently from those around me. For example, I think turtles are really cute and I don’t find many people who share my opinion. Maybe they’d find them majestic, but not cute. I had a friend once who was afraid of yarn because of an experience in his childhood so it reminds him of strangulation. It reminds me of knitting. We all see things differently because of how we’ve experienced them before.

Though abrupt, I like this style change here in the book. Sabina is a very complex character and I this style helps define what’s so different about her. I found myself with viewing things the same way Franz did and it helped me understand how different Sabina is from myself.

Also from Nicole: I gained the conclusion that Tereza was unfaithful. Which brought me full circle to earlier in the novel when Tomas had multiple partners and Tereza found it unsettling that he was able to have so many lovers and remain with her. Comparing the new Tereza to the past Tereza, how similar and different are they? Do you still think Tereza feels the same way as she did in the beginning? What changed and why?

 

I like how you started this question. Tereza had an affair with the engineer and is unfaithful whereas Tomas has been intimate with many woman yet we can consider him faithful to Tereza. What’s the difference? I would say it’s intent. Tereza seemed out to hurt Tomas whereas his infidelity was never out of anger or meant to hurt Tereza (even though it did). It’s also in how the person perceives his or her own actions. Tomas never considered himself unfaithful through his acts and Tereza does. A bit off topic, but a great point to make.

I don’t think Tereza has changed much now that they’re back in Prague. I think leaving him helped her become stronger, but I think she still holds the same ideals and desires that she did before. She still sees infidelity as wrong even though she has participated in it. She still does not understand Tomas’s need to be with other women. She’s trying to find a lightness of being but finds it unbearable.

And finally, here’s the musing topic Nicole wrote: These two sections look a lot at how symbols and words are viewed differently and construed differently. What are some things that are symbols or misunderstood words in your life? How have these things shaped your life?

It’s hard to think of one single thing that’s defined my life, but this comes up often in my relationship with my husband. He’ll say one thing and I’ll understand it differently than he meant it. If he says, “I’m hungry,” I might understand that as, “Go make dinner,” but he might mean it as, “Are you okay with me having a snack before dinner?” or “I’m going to make food for us.”

If I had to pick one thing, I would say gift giving. I’m not a big gift person. I see gifts as obligations more often than presents. My family has always been this way; we give gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays when it’s expected, but never spontaneously. When I started dating my husband, I realize that this isn’t the norm everywhere. His mother would give me things randomly if they made her think of me. His sister was the same way. I didn’t know how to react. Did I give them something back? Which times did I need to write a thank you note? Did this mean I wasn’t getting anything for my birthday? Why did I get a gift card to Target for Halloween? This wasn’t on my Christmas list; why did you spend money on something you don’t know I’ll like? etc.
It’s taken time, but I’ve gotten used to this now and I don’t see it as a diabolical plot to get me to spend all my disposable income on knickknacks for my brother-in-law. It’s his family’s way of saying, “I’m thinking about you” or sharing in their own good fortune. I’m not claiming that I do it back, but I’m getting there. Maybe someday I could pick something up on a whim, but it will never come naturally.

If you’re interested in joining us in the read-along, it’s never too late! Send me an email and let me know. We’d love to have you.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along 3: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Parts 1 & 2

22 Jan

Read Along 3With only two of us participating through this first part, Nicole and I have decided to go at a slightly accelerated pace; whatever pace we read the book. I have an idea for how I want to change my Read-Along series in the future so stay tuned for some developments there. But for now, let’s dive in to the first section!

Questions from Nicole: We notice that Tereza’s mother is very open with her sexuality and her “nakedness” when Tereza is a child. Her mother walks around naked and even when Tereza is inclined to protect her mother and her dignity she is laughed at. Now as an adult, Tereza recalls when her mother would say that the female body is replicated and identical to other women’s bodies. How do they view relationships and love differently? Are they similar or vastly different? How do you suppose that Tereza overcomes her need to protect her dignity? Tomas seems to see no difference in the fact that he adores no woman more or less based on their bodies – but uses sex as his way of showing he adores them. Does this make things more difficult for a true love to blossom between Tereza and Tomas?

Tereza’s mother sees herself as no different from any other woman. I think this idea stems from her relationship with her husband; she’s his wife but there are many lovers. Her body is no different to him as the other women he is intimate with. She’s one of many and has (sadly) accepted this. Tereza refuses to accept she’s a clone of the other women Tomas loves. She fervently wants to believe that there’s something special about her that makes her better than all the others. I think Tereza believes that her modesty is something that sets her apart. She believes that if a man loves her, he’ll spend time getting to know her before he sees her nakedness and will love her despite it. Tomas shares the same mentality about woman’s bodies as Tereza’s mother which makes it hard for Tereza to see herself as special to him. He separates love and sex in his mind but to Tereza they are the same. I see this as the main problem in their relationship.

Also from Nicole: I found the theory/idea of chance happenings to be very interesting. The “chance happenings” seem to be more of a reflection on their actions leading them up to a certain point. This seems to be a very romantic approach to the storyline and a very modern idea/theory. How do you feel about the approach of the story being written as a theory? Is it realistic or a struggle for you to accept this story line as real or do you feel of it as more of a fictitious piece (regardless that this story is considered a fiction novel)? In other words, the majority of this story is based on theory and chance-happening for it to work, does this make it seem more real or less real?

I think all of life is a series of chance happenings. My parents happened to buy a house that’s down the street from the church where I went one day where my husband happened to be because his family happened to move to Michigan because his dad happened to have gotten a job in the area. As it happens both needed someone to hang out with the summer after Freshman year and choose each other. There are so many points along the way where something could have been different or never have happened at all, but the fact is that it all went the way it did and it’s the only way I got to where I am. The fact that Tereza thinks about this is a little different from my experiences with other novels, but it doesn’t detract from the plot for me. The chance happenings are believable and I don’t think the author is taking liberties to force the plot in any way.

And finally, here’s the musing topic that I choose for this week: Tereza seems to have accepted Tomas even though she knows he is flawed. She wants to be his wife but knows he will be unfaithful. What are some things in your life that you’ve accepted even though they are flawed?

There are a lot of easy answers to this one. My second-hand furniture, my family, etc. But I think the one thing I find hardest to accept the flaws in is myself. I have very high standards for myself and it’s hard for me to accept when I don’t hit those standards. I’ll have people say to me that I’m involved in too much but when I find myself with free time, I start thinking of other things I could be doing to fill it. When I find something new (my latest has been grad school), I give myself a goal (4.0 GPA) and push myself to achieve it. I’ll stress and worry about it and if I fall short, it’s hard for me to get over it. Like Tereza, I have to realize that there’s a lot good with myself and even though there are flaws (like a 3.8 in one class) the overall picture is pretty great.

If you’re interested in joining us in the read-along, it’s never too late! Send me an email and let me know. We’d love to have you.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read-Along #3 has begun!

12 Jan

In case you missed it before, I’m beginning the third installment of my Read-Along With Me series here on Taking on a World of Words. Our book this time is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

Read Along 3

There are two other lovely ladies besides myself participating so far and we’d enjoy more company if you’re interested. The reading has only just begun so you wouldn’t be behind much at all. Please send me an email so I can include you in our notes. You can read more about my Read Alongs and see the budding hub page for this event if you’d like more information.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along #3 Will Be…

20 Dec

The deadline has come and passed and it’s time to announce the book for Read Along With Me #3! The voices have spoken and the winner is…

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera!

This book was recommended to me by one of my best friends a few years ago so I’m excited to read it along with you! If you haven’t already, please send me an email and let me know you are interested. Even though it’s in the signature block of every one of my emails, I’ll put it here again:

SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com

Just give me your name and let me know you’re interested! My lovely husband will be working on an image for us to read which I’ll begin including in posts soon. If you haven’t done a Read Along With Me before, here’s a brief sense of how it goes:

  1. I’ll distribute a reading schedule where we’ll read 80-100 pages of the book every two weeks.
  2. Each person will submit 1-2 questions for the other readers to answer about the section we’ve read
  3. One person will volunteer to choose a topic for us to think about in light of the last set of chapters
  4. We for lasting and wonderful friendships over books!

In short, it’s awesome. I hope you join in! I’ve already had three women join in so if you want to Read Along with me, Claudia, Nicole, and Mari, please join!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Vote for the Read Along Book and Join My On-Line Book Club!

15 Dec
Image created by the lovely Claudia

Image created by the lovely Claudia

It’s that time again, friends! I’m gearing up for a Read-Along to start in the new year. So get ready for some voting to appear in my posts until Friday. This post will be a stick one and I’ll have links to the Goodreads pages for each book below. One vote per person!

Are you interested in joining in? Send me an email to SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the mailing list to keep you abreast of the discussions and book choices.

 

Happy Reading!

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 22 – END

4 Dec

Read Along 2

Here is the final installment of my Second Read Along! I’m sad it’s over, but I’ve really enjoyed the ride. The book this time was ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which was very different from our last choice, but a great book for discussion. You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. I hope to have a new one start in January so keep on eye here if you think this is something you’d like to do in the future. Here we go!

Question from AshleeIn chapter 24, Sera comments that women live for so much more than themselves and men can take more risks because they always have suicide as an option. This comment caught me off guard. How did you ladies take this?

I didn’t like this comment and at the same time understood it. Women are hardwired to be caretakers; we want to help stray puppies and play with orphans. These feelings are only magnified for our families, especially children. Women live for their children and while many men do as well, it’s not as natural for some of them. I think Sera’s point is that a man is more likely to see suicide as an option because he doesn’t see as much duty to those around him whereas a woman wouldn’t consider it because she would be scared of what would happen to her family if she weren’t around.

 

Question from Claudia“Will Serabai ever be able to forget those words, to bury them under the protective layers of forgetfulness and denial?” More secrets! I cannot help but wonder what Sera will do now that she has discovered the truth behind Viraf’s cruel undertaking on Maya. What do you think is the “right” thing to do? As a mother, friend, sister, daughter, would you open up about the truth on something as unsettling as this?

I’m still wondering if Sera believed Bhima’s story about Viraf. I’d like to think she completely believed her and knows that her son-in-law is a sorry excuse for a man. I’d like to think she knows Bhima better than anyone else and knows that she’d never lie or steal. However, I’m afraid that she’s been conditioned by those around her to distrust her friendship. her neighbors and friends have been telling her that she can’t trust Bhima because, in the end, she can turn on Sera, stealing and killing if she needs to. I think it’s easier for Sera to believe Viraf. It fits in more with her friend’s ideal and keeps her family together. By simply rejecting the words of her servant, she doesn’t disgrace her son-in-law and saves her daughter from loads of pain. I think this will always haunt Sera but it’s something she’ll have to live with.

 

What a wonderful book! I won’t write a full summary of it because I think it’s been discussed enough here, but I’m so glad I got to read this title with these two wonderful ladies. I’ll be announcing the next read-along after my semester ends next week. I’m not really able to think of anything else until then.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 17-21

20 Nov

Read Along 2

The fifth installment of my second Read Along With Me book club. The book this time is ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which is absolutely amazing so far. We stopped at a total cliffhanger! You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. We’re almost done with this book but I hope to have a new one start in January so keep on eye here if you think this is something you’d like to do in the future. Here we go!

Question from AshleeI had a suspicion that things would go sour for Viraf and Dinaz simply because no one has a happy marriage in this novel. Do you think this is Umrigar’s personal beef with the idea of marriage? How she views Indian marriages? Or just the stuff that good heartbreaking novels are made of?

I just spent twenty minutes searching for any comment in interviews or factoid about Umrigar and a marriage or relationship or a deliberate addition to failed marriages in this book. All I found is that infidelity and broken marriages are a part of a lot of her books but nothing about her personal life. When I heard her speak last year, it wasn’t brought up. I remember her mentioning that her parents had a strained relationship in her memoir, First Darling of the Morning which I read before meeting her. I’m not sure if there’s something in her past that’s left a bad taste of marriages in her mouth, but reading the book it would seem there might be. I’m not sure if it’s a comment in Indian courtship customs or a lifestyle that’s destructive to loving relationships or a comment on previously arranged marriages or none of the above. I think it could easily not be about marriage in the Indian culture at all and more about how Umrigar feels. Though I do think that Ashlee has a point about broken marriages being the spark to a good novel. Bhima and Sera both share in a broken marriage and Dinaz and Maya are pregnant by the same man. It draws great parallels. I only wish one of the marriages featuring prominently in the book could have been positive! A good friend of mine at work was born in India and was part of an arranged marriage. A friend of my parents in college went home to India for the summer and came back with a wife. I went to high school with their children and they’re still happily together. My experience with marriages in the Indian culture has been completely different from how Umrigar describes the relationships in this book.

The closest thing I found to a comment on marriage was from this interview on Umrigar’s website (the 4th question). She comments on how difficult communication is and I think we can see that a break in communication could be blamed for some (but not all) of the marriage problems in her book.

 

Question from ClaudiaThe one part of this section that left a memorable aftertaste was Bhima’s and Gopal’s back story; in fact, I was completely engrossed. Having said that however, I was completely take back by bar scene with Bhima’s response in light of Gopal’s abuse of alcohol! I mean, in a sense I was 100% supporting her rage and outburst, but then I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t think she would have the nerve to explode the way she did. With that in mind, do you think that Gopal’s decision would have differed if things did not play out the way they did? Do you feel that Gopal’s decision is justified? 

I’d been anxious to get to this part because I wanted to see how a relationship that seemed so strong and loving could turn sour and literally tear a family in two. Reading it broke my heart as well. However I don’t think I was as appalled by Bhima’s behavior in the bar as you, Claudia. I was rooting her on and I was proud of her for finding her inner strength because it seemed like she never would. I’d been hoping for it since Gopal started turning bitter after his accident.

I think Gopal and Bhima’s relationship was heading toward destruction before she exploded at him in the bar. I think her reaction only speed up the inevitable. His dependence on alcohol had severed his relationship with his family and what Bhima did was only an impotence for him to formally end it all. He might have left her later or under different circumstances or he might have drunk himself to death, but I think the chances of them growing old together were gone. I don’t think he was justified to leave her because of her behavior in the bar, but I understand why it pushed him.

He’d separated himself from his family and his friends from the bar were his new family and he was ashamed in front of them. He’d already lost his wife and children, losing his friends was too much.

 

Ashlee chose the musing topic for us this week and here’s her selection:

Discuss the secrets that are being kept in this novel. All of the main characters, just like all of us in the world, are carrying secrets around with them. Some secrets are to protect others (Sera hoping to protect her daughter by keeping the violence a secret) and some are to protect themselves (Viraf – you jerk!).

Oh the power of secrets. They’ve made quite the impact on this little book. I want to take this in a slightly different direction than what Ashlee proposed though. It’s easy to find secrets between any number of the characters; Dinaz and Viraf, Maya and Bhima, Sera and Dinaz, etc. But I can’t think of a single secret between Sera and Bhima. Bhima knows about the abuse that Sera suffered and Sera knows about Gopal’s difficulty finding work after his accident as well as the circumstances of Pooja’s death. These two women are very open with each other. They keep secrets from others and for others, but ‘the space between’ them is clear of secrets. I think that’s a kind of cool way to look at such destructive forces.

 

 

There’s only one more installment of this book! I read it already and wow, are we going to have a great discussion on the last bit. Be sure to tune in for that one and keep your eyes peeled for the next Read Along, which will begin after the holidays.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 14-16

6 Nov

Read Along 2

The fourth installment of my second Read Along With Me book club. The book this time is ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which is absolutely amazing so far. You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. And if you think you want to join up, send me an email! We’d love to have you. There are three of us currently; myself, Claudia, and Ashlee. Let’s jump right into the questions!

Question from AshleeSera’s parents have their suspicions, Freddy undoubtedly knows the truth, yet these older adults and parents say nothing about the violence Sera is going through. Do you find yourself resenting them a little bit? Or is it simply not their place to meddle in Sera and Feroz’s business?

I’m not sure I believe Sera’s parents or Freddy understand the extent of Feroz’s abuse. Sera is quick to explain her unhappiness on Banu, not on her new husband and with the rumors Sera’s parents heard and what Freddy knows of his wife, I think they see this as a very likely cause. As an extension, they might believe that Sera fights with her husband over issues dealing with her mother-in-law, but I don’t think anyone suspects the abuse Sera is facing at the hands of Feroz. I’d like to think that if they knew, they’d do more to help her, but maybe that’s wishful thinking.

 

Question from ClaudiaI know this is going to sound incredibly ludicrous in my part, but I am almost always finding that I sympathize for Feroz a lot! I know! It’s crazy! But hear me out, please? Look, I’m not justifying his actions by any means, but what if Feroz was also mentally abused by Banu? What if as a child, she instilled these false and absurd idealisms that shaped who he later grew up to be? What if, after facing the world on his own, he later came to realize that his framework of the world and society was faulty, and thus he lived with frustration, resentment, disgruntlement, failure, etc?

I think this is highly likely. I remember reading A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer a long time ago and he talked about the cycle of abuse. By this he meant that the child of an abusive parent is more likely to be an abuser himself. Pelzer fought against the inkling to raise a child the only way he knew how; through the abuse his mother inflicted on him. I think Banu was abusive toward her husband and son and, consequently, teaching Feroz only abusive ways to deal with those close to him. I don’t think he’s a strong enough man to break away from this cycle and doesn’t know a different way to act toward Sera.

Also, I think Banu taught him that things should be done a certain way and that her way is the proper way. When Sera breaks that way that Feroz has learned for so long is the only proper way to do things, he’s frustrated with her and angry; he wants her to do it right as well. In short, I think Banu is 100% at fault for Feroz’s behavior. I wish Freddy had stepped in earlier.

 

It’s my turn to choose the musing topic for this week and I’ve picked tradition. As an American, some of the traditions in this book seem very foreign to me. Believing that a certain person is dirty because of who their parents are living with your in laws. One of my best friends at work was born in India and came to the United States when she married her husband. It makes it a little easier for me to see these traditions in practice. I know my coworker likes her in-laws living with her some times and hates it other times. She recently broke a bone and her mother-in-law was able to help with cooking and cleaning while she was in the cast. Her father-in-law will peel pomegranates for her while she’s at work. But she has to cook for them and cook what they like and sometimes she gets more opinions than she wanted on how to discipline and raise her kids. So there’s the good and the bad. I see the reason for this tradition. It could seem rude to someone of Indian culture that my grandmother lives alone though we see it as giving her independence and the time alone she hasn’t had before.

In the case of the novel, I think it is doing more harm than good for Sera and Feroz’s relationship. Instead of helping around the house, Sera is pushed away. Instead of having support from her in-laws, she’s shunned. We can see in the example of Dinaz and Viraf how a mother-in-law can help around the house and be a positive influence on a marriage, but Sera doesn’t see that in Banu. There are good and bad sides to any tradition and in this book we see both which I think is very fair of the author.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along. Please drop me a line if you are interested in joining us; we have so much fun doing these!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #2: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar Chapters 9-13

23 Oct

Read Along 2

Here’s the third installment of the virtual book club I’m hosting. The book this time is ‘The Space Between Us’ by Thrity Umrigar which is absolutely amazing so far. You can look at all of our posts on the hub page. And if you think you want to join up, send me an email! We’d love to have you. There are three of us currently; myself, Claudia, and Ashlee. Let’s jump right into the questions!

Question from AshleeWho do you feel more strongly attached to – Sera or Bhima? And why? 

I’m on Team Bhima. I love an underdog and I think Bhima encompasses that phrase in every sense of the word! To add to her woes (which I’ll admit Sera has every bit as badly), she lives in a slum where disease and filth are everywhere and she has no privacy or possessions of value. I want something good to happen to her so badly. I’m completely committed to her story.

 

Question from ClaudiaDo you believe that Bhima is even looking to find happiness? Peace? Rest? Does she have hope at all for her own life since she is always looking out for the good of others?

I think Bhima is a person who draws happiness from those around her and her ability to make others happy. My husband is like this. If I’m in a good mood, he’s happy. If I’m upset but he can cheer me up, he’s happy. But if I’m in a bad mood and inconsolable, it doesn’t just bring his mood down, but makes him angry, upset, and slightly depressed. He tries his best to help me out and failing at that makes him feel like a failure for as long as my mood lasts. I see Bhima in a similar way. I think if Maya succeeds or things to well for Sera, Bhima feels success. She wants to help those around her and feels herself going up on their coattails, even if it’s just an emotional high. I love Bhima, I see a lot of my mother in her caring nature. I think that, if anything, she’s looking for stability and she’s bothered by all the change around her. I hope she can find that.

 

Ashlee has supplied our musing topic for this week and I really like it: Failed marriages and how they ruin everything. I hadn’t realized how many failed marriages there are in this story! I remember meeting the author and someone telling me she’d never married and didn’t seem interested. She lives alone, teaches and writes and cares for her elderly father. She doesn’t really have the time to date and seems fine with it. Knowing that, the theme of failed marriages seems a strange topic to push in this book.

It’s easy to find the marriages that have failed: Banu and Freddie, Sera and Feroz, and Bhima and Gopal. But what about strong marriages? Dinaz and Feroz is a good example. Ashlee already mused on how she’s afraid something bad will happen to them. I sincerely hope it doesn’t! Pooja and Raju are another interesting example. Pooja had a very poor example set for her by her mother and father yet stays strong in sticking with Raju. When it’s implied he was unfaithful, she makes her marriage stronger by preferring to think of him as she remembered in marriage rather than changing her idea of him so close to death. I think that’s very strong and shows her ability to forgive. Pooja was unable to forgive Gopal for hurting her as a girl, but she can forgive Raju now. I think that shows incredible growth and maturity. Yay Pooja.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along. Please drop me a line if you are interested in joining us; we have so much fun doing these!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!