by: Bridget Asher
I read a review of this book in People Magazine. It was published along with the review of Yesterday’s Weather. It was a good review and peaked my interest. I purchased them both, simultaneously.
There’s not an elaborate discussion about why I chose this book, other than the premise of it really intrigued me. In reading it, that intrigue kept me glued. I very much enjoyed reading this novel. I must say… this book has “Screenplay” written all over it! Personally, I could imagine it as a movie that I would definitely go and see… I hope it makes it way to The Big Screen. It would be interesting to see who they’d cast for the characters.
This book is simple, yet complex. It is written at just the right pace, with wonderful little “nuggets” of wisdon and insight into love, death, and family. Simply, I would recommend this book along with many of the other ones that I’ve reviewed this Fall. Speaking of Fall, this book is on my Fall Into Reading 2008 Challenge (link is below).
Title: My Husband’s Sweethearts, a novel
Author’s Website: http://www.bridgetasher.com/
Publisher: Bantam-Dell / Delacorte Press
Publisher’s Website: www.bantamdell.com
ISBN #:978-0-385-34189-9 (Hardcover)
This book is a story of Lucy, a woman married to Artie, a dying man. Lucy is an auditor with a well-established career and leading a “successful” life. We meet Lucy, and her assistant Lindsay, while she is on a business trip. The reader discovers that her dying husband has been cheating on her during her 4-year marriage to him. She has been away from Artie for 6 months on trips in order to avoid him due to his “transgressions.” Artie makes, what I believe to be, the sweetest attempts to win her back. He does so by sending her flowers, wherever she is at on her business trips, accompanied by small flower cards with numbered reasons as to why he loves her. These cards span from memories they shared to actual things about her and/or their relationship.
She arrives home, takes up residence in the guest bedroom, and is faced with the fact that Artie has only, at most, one month left to live. In summary, he gives her his “black book” of sweethearts. The reason being is that she is bitter that she must endure his death alone… and why should she when he has these other women in his life? Why aren’t they enduring this as well? So, back to the guest bedroom she heads, black book in hand. In a drunken mindset, she makes a few calls, after midnight, to these women and leaves them messages to “schedule their time with Artie” while he is on his deathbed. Most hang up or ignore the call… but, two women do not: Eleanor and Elspa.
Elspa is an eccentric young woman, piercings, crazy hair and all. She left college to stay at Lucy’s home to share Artie’s last days. Eleanor, a bitter woman who is closer to Artie’s age (early 50’s), also arrives to read him the riot act. Lucy’s Mother, Joan, is also a presence in Lucy’s home… keeping up the garden and attempting to be there for Lucy. She brings along her dachshund, Bogie, who is overly endowed and wears homemade “jockstraps” to keep his appendage from scraping on the ground (we love Bogie and Lucy’s Mom).
Lucy makes the managerial decision to have Eleanor orchestrate the visits of all of the sweethearts in the blackbook. In addition, Elspa is to reach her dream of getting her 3-year old daughter back from her parents. Joan is to handle Artie’s funeral arrangements, as she is a multiple-time widow and the right person for the job. Lastly, Lucy’s goal is to reunite Artie with his grown son, John, and for John to learn about is father before his death.
This host of characters is a perfect compliment to Lucy and Artie’s journey of healing and forgiveness during his last days. What they discover, is that there is a common love shared amongst them all. How they get to that familial love is for the reader to discover when they pick up this great read.
My Favorite Quotes From the Book:
“Love isn’t logical,” I insist. “It’s immune to logic.”
Title of a Chapter: “You Can’t Always Eat Your Way Out of a Problem-but If You Want to Try, Begin with Chocolate”
“He has a depth of attention that comes with his love that is keen and sharp.”
“Everyone should hear their own eulogies-but the notes, aren’t they kind of a love song? And aren’t the best eulogies a kind of love song?”
“We need to love each other again, with all that love entails-even the hard things, like forgiveness and acceptance. I don’t think it makes logical sense-that one love can bring back another love-but it’s true.”
“Does my soul look fat in this body?”
On Sher’s “One to Ten Scale:”
I like the kind of books that keep me up, in bed, at night… that I just can’t close my eyes because I want to keep learning the story. This story did that for me. Mainly, I think, because this is a story that I could see really happening to somebody. And, Lucy is such a great protagonist… a person that I can relate with as to how she deals with things. When I read a story like this… and it grabs me… not because of anything other than my soul can relate… then, I have to say I really liked the book. Bridget Asher earns a 9! I’d share this book with a girlfriend, no qualms about it.