Published: July 7, 2015
This debut novel by Julia Pierpont starts off with fireworks. I found the premise very intriguing: a box intended for Deb from the ex-mistress of her husband full of every communication between them is intercepted by her children. Deb, who had been able to move on with the status quo since discovering her husband’s affair many months prior, now has to rethink everything in light of her children (ages 11 and 15) knowing about her husband’s affair.
This novel is divided into 4 parts. Part one is the fireworks. Part two is the camera zooming out and giving a panoramic view of life to come. Parts 3 and 4 zoom back in again. It is an interesting book that examines the effect of the affair on the husband, wife and the children. Everyone is struggling in their own ways with the knowledge, the changes in the family dynamic, and all the emotions they are experiencing. I particularly liked how Kay, the 11 year old daughter, imposed what she knew of the affair into her own rewriting of Seinfeld episodes. I thought it was interesting how Simon related to the Fountainhead, and how much this bothered his mother.
It is a compelling read, but also a slow moving read for the second half of the book, with characters that are trying their best to weather through very difficult times. I found myself after the first part wishing for more action, less indecision and vacancy. I felt like I was lost in the calm after the storm, and read faster and faster as the book went on, really just trying to finish. Overall, I felt this was a well-written and very polished, intelligent book by an author from whom I think we will see much more to come. However, is a difficult book to fully “enjoy” since it deals with so much unhappiness and frustration, which is why I think the ratings for this book are all over the map. The relationships are all fraught with sadness, loneliness, disappointment, and unfulfillment. For the writing and honesty displayed, I give it , but for my overall “enjoyment” I would give it .
- How does Jack’s infidelity affect their marriage?
- How does this change once the children learn of the infidelity?
- How do Kay and Simon initially feel toward their parents about the infidelity? How does this change as the book progresses?
- How does Deb envision that her children view her in this situation?
- Compare and contrast Deb and Jack’s relationships with their mothers.
- How does Simon relate to the Fountainhead?
- Explain the references comparing Simon to his father.
- How is Simon’s relationship with Teagan important in the context of the novel?
- Compare and contrast Deb and Jack’s love and devotion to their respective art.
- Do you like Jack? Why or why not? Do you like Deb? Why or why not?
- How does it shape your opinion of the characters that Jack and Deb initially were together through infidelity?
- How does Simon and Kay’s relationship shift during this book?