For a while now, I have been a frequent indulger of the romance genre. I am a sucker for a good tale of pursuit of love. I light some candles, put on some music and read into the night. It is my favorite way to spend time. But, for the past four years, ever since I got married that is, I have been noticing something lacking from this genre. And that is the depiction of what happens after the happily ever after. While I totally understand that, that is not an aspect that they are obliged to show me, after having read so many of them, I was a little disappointed that being married in real life was nothing like that at all. In fact, at most times even the pursuit of your beloved is more practical than romantic.
Being a person that needs to find books for the situation of life she is in, or it is not really happening, I got to searching. And here are some books that helped me find books about or that featured marriage in a realistic way.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – The year this book came out it was everywhere on social media. What sealed the deal for me however was the fact that Obama named it as his favorite book of the year. I was sold. I listened to it on audio and loved it. It wasn’t the plot or the characters that I particularly loved, but the ridiculously real portrayal of what it’s like to be married. The secrets one often buries because they really are better off, the degree of co-dependency that persists without the involved people even realizing it, and the little delusions we put ourselves through to get by.
Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim – This was another favorite. Not just because it was set in a medieval castle in Italy (it was certainly a huge factor) but because of its depiction of how marital relations can often fizzle out against the back drop of life’s practicalities. I also loved the connotation that such a situation could be fixed by a trip to Italy. Not to invalidate the seriousness of the problem, but that little gestures can fix very huge problems. I highly recommend making your significant other read it.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – This was one of my favorite reads this year, and I think I recommended it to everyone I met. On the outside it looks like the fluffiest book there can be. On the inside it is the diametric opposite. It deals with the issues and ideas that people go through with changing stages in their relationship, and how it changes the amount of lies we tell ourselves to keep a marriage going. It perfectly captures the idea of security that marriage provides that often makes us blind to the emerging cracks, all set at a pace that leaves you breathless.