This week's book was While I Was Gone by Sue Miller. It was chosen as an Oprah Book Club book, but I can't say for sure that I found that to be a selling point. And, just for the record, I read 100% of this one.
Miller writes Jo in a way that you pretty much have to hate, but in writing Daniel, she is generous to a fault. Jo describes her husband with such adoration that it makes half of what she does in the book almost unbelievable. Who treats a man she loves like that?? Did she just think he was a bottomless pit of virtue and forgiveness?
While Jo made me want to tear my hair out, I'm still glad I read this one. In chapter six, Jo unexpectedly attends Daniel's church after the death of one of his congregants. His thoughts on grief and loss and memory resonated with me after the losses my family suffered this past summer. "Pain," he says, "the pain that seems unbearable at the time, is memory's first imprinting step, the cornerstone of the temple we erect inside us in memory of the dead." and, later, "He gives us memory, too, to change that pain to laughter, to joy. To bring the dead back into our lives. To comfort us."