This Is Not The Story You Think It Is…

IMG_0376I admire people that can reread books. That’s hard for me. I feel there are so many books in the world I want to read and I need to keep getting new ones, ones where I don’t know what will happen next.

I read Laura Munson’s memoir several years ago after several workshop classmates praised it on a suggested reading list. I finished it in a couple of days, and the only reason it took me days was because I had to pull myself away from the book and go to work. Recently, I picked it up again for some research that I’m doing (it’s a long story).

Once again, I read the book in a weekend.

Why do I freakin’ love this memoir so much? There are many reasons:

1. Munson originally wrote this as a journal of her summer in 2008 when her husband made several startling statements: he didn’t love her anymore, and he wasn’t sure he ever did. This coming from her husband of 15 years and the father of their two children. Munson, decides to chronicle that summer, journaling and expressing her feelings there instead of flying off the handle to her husband. The prose is personal, it’s her voice. And we feel closer to her.

2. She’s a novelist with many many rejections. Munson gives backstory in her memoir about her decades of writing and her endless struggles with trying to get published. She has a stack of finished novel manuscripts in her closet, none of them published. And one promising novel was coming to final stages with a big publishing house, but got axed. Her admission to her own challenges in writing is inspiring to me.

3. It’s therapy. Munson realizes that there are several ways she can address this crisis in her marriage. The one I would have done is freak out. And while Munson was tempted to do that, she decided to take another route: stay calm and make her own happiness. She looked beyond her husband’s anger and saw that he was lost and needed time to center himself, and find what makes him happy. But she also knew that she couldn’t simply tell him that.

4. It’s set in Montana. Big Sky Country. I’ve only been there once, but it was absolutely beautiful! And while I’m an urbanite that requires close proximity to opera houses and museums, Montana has an idyllic sense to it, especially in the summer.

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