I read the best novel this weekend. A debut novel and the author looks so young! No writing of my own this holiday weekend, except for a few notes on the WIP. No mornings to myself. No barbecue to prepare for, no people coming over. It has been quiet. But lovely in its own way, even the break from writing, because I got to spend lots of time with Al, and when he was watching a ball game or out hitting golf balls, or otherwise occupied, I could pick up the novel and immediately be transported to its world.
Here’s what my world looks like this weekend: we both worked a bit in the yard, and it’s pretty enough now in its blowsy way for us to sit out on the patio tonight and drink wine while our dinner grills. Last night we did something so different–well I did. We had planned to go out to dinner, but then we got caught up in other things and didn’t have lunch until 5 pm. As a result, I was not hungry for dinner at 7. And so, while Al drank draft beer and ate a huge steak, plus potato and veg and four (!) dinner rolls, I sipped a vodka martini straight up. With blue cheese olives. Then I had a red velvet cupcake. And it felt like the best meal ever. For both of us, I’m sure, because 1. I don’t cook meat anymore and 2. I don’t bake cupcakes anymore either. Allowing myself to have exactly what I wanted–no more, no less–was a treat too.
Reading The Arrivals has been like the frosting on this cake of a holiday weekend. It’s a domestic novel–my favorite comfort reads–about a man and woman about my and Al’s age who have three grown children, all facing diverse struggles, who converge on the parent’s home all at the same time. One has her small children in tow, but left hubby back in the doghouse where he belongs. Another, who has a very pregnant workaholic wife, dreads telling his folks he’s going to be a stay-at-home dad. The youngest has equally compelling issues of her own to work out. And then there are the older characters, who need to find a way to cope with the opposite of quiet.
The book is funny and poignant, tender and smart about families and their deep inner workings. So many times I felt my eyes tear up–a sure sign that I am completely caught in the world of the story. So many times I reflected that the Meg Mitchell Moore seems way too young to know so much. Her book felt like wise counsel for me this weekend in particular as on holidays I tend to brood over the physical distance that separates me from my own children.
Books have always been balm for whatever ails me, and this one came at just the right time for all the right reasons. I was so sad to turn the last page!