Friday, February 02, 2007
Question of the Week #24: A Good (Relationship) Read
The Dr. Andrew Book Club ... say, that has a nice ring to it. Maybe we can get something like that going here today.
Relationship fiction is generally considered the domain of female readers -- romance novels, romantic comedies, dramatic family sagas, and the like. I contend, though, that virtually all fiction is about people and their relationships.
For example, you could make the case that The Godfather is a tale of how a family sticks together after immigrating to New York. The book ends with the newly instated Godfather, Michael Corleone, betraying his wife’s trust by lying to her.
My favorite relationship novel, though, is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. This is actually two stories in one, both involving the same couple, at different stages in their life. The romantic tension crackles when a young woman from the right side of the tracks must decide between two men -- her successful lawyer fiancé or the handsome, romantic Noah Calhoun, with whom she had a torrid summer years before. Her family and her sense of duty both vote for the lawyer, while her heart wants Noah. Okay, so there is only one way any self-respecting romantic author would finish that one off, and Sparks does the expected. Still, the ride is fun while it lasts.
Then the last portion of the book takes place when the woman lives in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. Her husband reads their life story to her each day from The Notebook in an effort to jog her memory, hoping by some bittersweet miracle she will have a moment when she remembers their great love. It’s syrupy stuff, but highly entertaining.
I also believe fiction contains a healthy dose of relationship reality, otherwise we couldn’t relate to the stories. Most young folks do want to follow their heart, and life circumstances don’t always cooperate. It’s easy to identify with the young lady’s dilemma in The Notebook.
So what is your favorite relationship novel and why does it appeal to you? Do you think it reflects relationship reality?
Are you reading a good relationship novel right now? If so, fill us in - maybe others would enjoy the same book.