A couple of weeks ago I was out in the city at my favorite bookstore, playing my little book-game: find a book you haven’t seen before nor heard of either. Between the classics, the biographies, and thrillers of the moment, I felt the need for something different. Something more….contemporary. Man and Wife seemed like a good choice.
The story it presents is quite common but far from simple. Harry Silver is a man with a complicated life. It didn’t use to be that complicated: he had a beautiful wife, Gina and an amazing son, Pat, and to top it all, a good job in television. Then a mistake changed everything.
Fast forward a few years and here’s Harry again, married a second time to another beauty, Cyd, trying to make a new life together with her and her daughter, little Peg. Between visits to see his son, a strained relationship with his wife and a bitter one with his ex-wife, the death of his father and the challenge of dealing with his mother’s health issues, Harry feels a bit overwhelmed. To make things even more interesting, a new girl catches his eye and there he is, ready to fall into the same trap again.
Is the grass really greener on the other side? Harry seems to think so, as he envisions a new life in a new place, a new wife, a new start. But is that really how things work?
Parsons talks about what a marriage really is. Not in a moralistic way, but more like from the point of view of the man who’s been there and done that. The mistakes, the jealousy, the feeling of insecurity, the sweet siren song of temptation, it’s all there, and the protagonist has to deal with it. Sometimes it’s tough and sometimes it may seem like a futile task, but Harry is given a second chance. Will he prove that he’s learned something from his mistakes or is he doomed to repeat them all over again? Is the search for that everlasting love – the kind his parents once shared until death separated them – bound to go on and on, or does he really have a chance of finding it for himself with his wife?
The book provides some answers and there is something to be learned from it. It’s written in an entertaining and easy to read style where humor mingles with heartbreak and things change when you least expect it. An entertaining read.
*read in June 2011