Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Too Much Happiness"

   Perhaps I will do something a little different this evening. As you may or may not have noticed, I have a list at the bottom of my blog of some of the books that presently grace my world. Some sit for longer than others, but they all get attention at some point or another. Last night I started to read "Too Much Happiness", by Alice Munro. It is a collection of short stories and any of the reviews I briefly perused were very glowing. A brief review from me then.

   The opening story is entitled "Dimensions". It is about a young mother that has lost all three of her children. It struck a note in me, as the main character falls into an abusive relationship after the death of her mother. She is at a vulnerable spot in her life, only being 16 and finds comfort in a questionable relationship. This man is manipulative and the young woman's world quickly revolves around him, his views and his lifestyle. I recently heard stories of another young woman's struggles to find herself in an over-powering relationship. I read the story with an eye to another woman's plight and tried to gain more insight. The main character asks for no pity and no help. She recognizes that her partner is not ideal and in this story not sane. He is all she has though. This is the crux of abusive relationships. This is what keeps them going. He may not be perfect, but he understands her and is there. The problem is that he changes the identity of the woman into someone with wrong opinions and actions. Words and deeds are squelched, as is life. I truly do not know how women can survive, but it is a sad reality that exists. In more places than in books. The beauty for me in the story is the epiphany at the end. Loss is a difficult thing for anyone to understand, accept and overcome. It takes many steps, but I thank Alice for giving her character that first step at the end. Sometimes we need hidden forces to give us a push in the right direction. We just have to open our eyes to the forces that be. That is what Alice asks of us the reader. I appreciate it.

   I look forward to pushing further into "Too Much Happiness". I might let you know how other stories unfold. Or not. You might have to get the book yourself if you are interested. Ask and I will let you know how it goes.

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