This review does not contain any information that is not available in the description on the back cover of the book.
On the back cover of this memoir, the blurb states, ‘Every wife’s worst nightmare’ and they aren’t kidding. It begins with the author’s husband, Henry, dying of an embolism. Julie is suddenly, unexpectedly left alone with her 6 year old daughter to care for. She thankfully has many friends and her brother to rely on and she does. Six months into her widowhood, she is just beginning to get used to her new life without Henry when one of her friends reveals a shocking secret about him. Julie realizes that most of her close friends found out about this secret as they were going through his office the day after Henry died and while Julie was incapacitated with grief. The friends make a pact not to reveal the secret to her until she is better able to cope with it. When she does find out, the shock is great and sends her back down an emotional hole that she has trouble pulling herself out of.
A memoir like this one is not easy for women to read. It presents a tale that could happen to anyone – you think you know your life partner, you take it for granted that what he presents to you is what he is. But what if he isn’t? How would you know? There might be small telltale signs as the author admits there were for her. Well, hindsight and all that. Those small signs are often easy to explain away and many women who have years invested in a relationship would not be eager to read the signs pointing to a terrible truth. It’s easier to deal with denial.
Julie Metz’s story is compelling. I wanted everything to work out for her and her daughter. I was willing it. The story of her marriage was not one where a woman is abused and seemingly self-destructive and one wonders why on earth she doesn’t leave her husband. It’s much more complex than that.
There were just a couple of small things that jarred with this book. The author’s writing style seemed to me a bit stilted for the first few chapters but then started flowing nicely – but perhaps I just became used to her style and there really was nothing wrong with it. The other thing that bothered me was the couple of times she described in one or two sentences an intimate act that left me thinking, ewww, too much information! However, that wouldn’t have bothered me if the story had been fiction so again maybe it’s just me.
I give this a high recommendation for both women and men.