Thursday, January 12, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: A Wedding in December

A Wedding in December

A Wedding in December ~ 2/5

Here's how decribes the book:

At an inn in the Berkshire Mountains, seven former schoolmates gather to celebrate a wedding--a reunion that becomes the occasion of astonishing revelations as the friends collectively recall a long-ago night that indelibly marked each of their lives. Written with the fluent narrative artistry that distinguishes all of Anita Shreve's bestselling novels, A Wedding in December acutely probes the mysteries of the human heart and the endless allure of paths not taken.

My thoughts:

The book described alot of lives, intertwined together because of their high school days. A defining moment in all their lives happened 27 years before. December of 2001, they have come together after the chaos of 9/11 to celebrate the wedding of high school sweethearts who have rekindled their romance & are getting married. The bride has cancer, she's not expected to live more than 2 more years. The groom left his wife & daughter to be with her. They've met at an inn, along with several of their class mates. The story also involves a sad death of one of their friends who drowned in the ocean. It also throws in about Halifax, a fictional story about a man who's life changes because of it.

I got into the book at parts & couldn't put it down. Other times, it took everything in me to keep reading.

The back of the book encloses 15 questions for discussion. I've decided to choose 5 and share my answers with you:

2. "One can never tell the story of a marraige," Nora says to Harrison. "At the very least, a marraige is two intersecting stories, one of which we will never know." What does Nora mean by this observation? Are there relationships depicted in the novel that support her statement?

She means that no one really knows what both parties saw the relationship as. Just because the wife saw something as sweet or senimental, you really don't know how the husband saw the same thing. Without having both accounts & being able to compare them at the exact time, you don't really know. Someone could be lying the entire time. And yes, Nora & her husband's relationship was like that.

5. Some of the novel's characters regard the events of 9/11 as reminders of the "democracy of catastrophe". Jerry, on the other hand, draws a distinction between the people who witnessed the tragedy firsthand and those who viewed it from the safety of their homes miles away. Which opinion do you favor?

I agree with Jerry, the tragedy that 9/11 was rippled across the nation. Everyone saw the terror, felt the sadness and mourned for the victims. However, not everyone saw firsthand the craziness, the panic, heard the sickening thuds of bodies hitting the ground. It was real to everyone, however you felt safer, that something like that wouldn't happen in small town USA, the further from major cities you got.

8. Harrison acknowledges that the defining feature of private lives is "that anyone looking in from the outside could never know the reality". He longs to tell Nora the truth about Stephen, and Agnes's stunning revelation triggers the others to reveal their own hidden truths as well. What, if anything, do these confessions change for the friends? Do they come to regard one another differently in the end?

I seem to agree with Harrison, if not let in, no one truly knows what someone is like, what they are into & what kind of life they have. The friends find out some interesting things: Agnes had a 20+ year affair with a former teacher who was married, Bill left his wife & daughter to marry Bridget, Josh & Rob are gay, Nora's husband cheated on her, moved the girl in & got her pregnant after denying her the opportunity to have her own child and Harrison knew Stephen went into the ocean, and instead of calling for help, he went home looking for him. No one would have known these things unless allowed into their comfort zone. They don't seem to change feelings for one another, although I doubt they'd all come together anytime soon.

13. Although the novel centers on a happy occassion, the characters also experience a great deal of disillusionment. Does this story end on a hopeful note? Why or why not?

Yes & no, I think some stories are hopeful and others are not.

Nora's hopeful that her inn will continue to do well, Bill & Bridget are looking to make the most of their lives, Rob & Josh have successful careers. However, so were not so hopeful, Agnes's affair is expected to end, Harrison is heading home to his family & giving up on his true love, Jerry & his wife are not expected to have a bright future. So it depends upon the character & the choices they have made.

15. How do you think this reunion weekend will ultimately influence the group? What is the likelihood that these high school friends will be in touch with one another after the wedding?

I think this weekend has made quite an impact on the friends. They see each other in a new light, which will reflect in their future. Some may avoid, others may look back & wonder & finally, there will be those who want to go back to that day. I expect a select few to attend future funerals or events, but not everyone together at the same time.

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