I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of hearing from various fiction outlets that all marriages, after a short honeymoon period, are doomed to be nothing more than a long path of empty years of mutual hatred. I mean, I think we all know that a marriage is something to work at, I think we all realise it is not simply years of skipping along in a joyous fandango in a candyfloss castle. Yet my evidence, that is, the numerous happily married couples I know who have been together from between 10 and 40+ years, shows me that despite all difficulty marriage is frequently still a beautiful thing.
So when writers continually write about bleak and monotonous alliances between two people, nether of which you particularly like, and present it as a realistic marriage it can begin to shred one’s nerves. Oh I wouldn’t mind if just a few people did it, but is seems to have become far to commonplace. Change the record would you!
Since I have taken a dislike at the recurring theme of the failed marriage it may seem odd that I would choose to read ‘How TO Be Good’ by Nick Hornby when it begins with a character wanting a divorce. Quite simply, I loved ‘About a Boy’ by the same author so I thought I’d give this one a go.
I didn’t like it. I could find very little to like in any of the main characters; a wife who is apparently trying to be good but failing epicly at it, and who spends a great deal of the book reflecting on her life and I couldn’t help feeling ‘well if that’s your situation then work with it woman! And stop whining!’, then we have her husband who starts off as annoyingly grumpy and has a massive personality flip and becomes annoyingly pious, then there is the spiritual healer who seems to have real powers and who equally annoying, and then the two children who are manipulative and so unlikeable that even their own mother is making an effort. So as you can probably tell, the whole thing made me irritable and cross.
General verdict: sporadically amusing, but not my cup of tea.