It’s All Maya!

If Life is an illusion, then why do I keep banging my head against the wall?

Si la Vie est une illusion, pourquoi je n'arrête pas de me taper la tête sur les murs?

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The Affair – A Literary Groundhog Day

May 26th, 2013 · No Comments

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I was in a bookstore about a month ago and picked up The Affair by Colette Freedman.  I don’t know if it was the pink coat on the cover that caught my eye or the winter tree in the foreground.  In any case, I liked the cover so I picked up the book and read the blurb in the back.  It didn’t interest me.  It was about a middle aged soccer mom who suspects her husband of having an affair.  The same old, same old.

For some reason I didn’t put the book down, instead I started reading the first pages.  I liked the way the author wrote, so I bought it.  I have to say, some ideas for a book sound good, but when you put pen to paper, it’s a whole other thing.  That’s what happened to The Affair.  The idea of getting all three points of view in the romantic triangle was good, but the results were not.

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If you’ve seen the film Groundhog Day then you know that the same day keeps repeating itself with slight variations and that’s exactly how The Affair was written.  We’re told how the affair happened by the three people involved.  First we hear the wife’s story.  Kathy Walker, a typical soccer mom who spends too much time on her children and food and in the process gains weight and ignores her husband.

Then we have the husband’s story, Robert Walker.  The run of the mill man who becomes infatuated with his younger co-worker.  (I wish I had a dollar for every affair that started out in the work environment!)  Of course he has to go to the gym to get rid of his paunch to become more attractive to his new love interest.

Last we have the mistress’s story.  Stephanie Burroughs, is an attractive younger woman (would she be anything else?!) who believes that Robert is not happy with his wife and no longer sleeps with her.  Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before he divorces her so the two of them can get married, right?  Until then the mistress spends holidays alone while he’s with the wife and kids.

No, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here, but if done right, this could have been an interesting book.  It wasn’t, because the author repeated the same scenarios over and over.  It became a Groundhog Day book where we basically learned nothing new by seeing the affair from each person’s perspective with much of the same dialogue.  If the author had delved deeper, giving us new insights and new situations that we didn’t already know from the other two people, it could have worked.

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Maya Muses:  Unfortunately the way it was written, I was ready to shelve the book by the time I got to the mistress, which does not speak well for the novel.  I almost never stop reading a book before I come to the end.  I’ve read thousands of books and I can only remember that happening twice because the writing was so bad.  This was not the case here, the writing was good, the story wasn’t.  By the third go round, it was one time too many.

Photo Credits:  Google Images and Personal Photos

Tags: Books and Reviews

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