I’m sure you’ve seen the articles, ads, reviews, and press for The Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman, a memoir about six young women who were in mourning and started getting together to support one another and became friends. Then came a book.
Hey, I wrote a book about widows too. In case anyone was wondering.
The thing is, and it’s a weird thing to say, and I haven’t read the book, and I don’t wish death and loss on anyone ever, but these women had a label and situation that inspired the sympathy, empathy, compassion and camaraderie they needed and deserved. They were able to find others like themselves.
In my real life, my ex-husband died, and like my main character Evie, I found myself to be an ex-wife with a dead ex-husband.
Try finding a support group for that.
For me, in real life, divorce support groups never worked, either before or after my ex’s death. I was not your everyday divorced mom. I worked at home and got along with my ex who happened to actually fulfill his duties as a father. And by the time I divorced, I was no longer angry or bitter. Annoyed at times, perhaps, but otherwise, fine and even at times, dandy.
I’ve had people tell me I was lucky my ex died. Yeah, my tolerance was, and remains, pretty low for people who say things like that to me. Insensitive is the nice word for what they are. It’s clear that unless there are horrible extenuating circumstances, your kids are better off with their other parent in their lives. Even if he or she is riddled with faults, as all exes are. And it isn’t lost on me that if you have an ex, you are one.
Widowhood support groups certainly didn’t work for me after my ex died. I didn’t even qualify for those. And for that, I’m grateful. I don’t always believe thing happen for a reason, but I’m pretty sure that the reason I survived years of a craptastic marriage and thrived in the aftermath of divorce, was so that I would be rock solid when my kids needed me most, and forever after.
I think the interest in books about horribly sad, sometimes inspiring situations, most likely what Saturday Night Widows is like, is so that people can read and experience without actually, you know, experiencing anything at all. They learn, wonder, put themselves in the places of the people or the characters. If the writer did his or her job, readers get a true sense of emotion and situation, whether the book is fiction or fact.
I think the people who’ve already read The Glass Wives have enjoyed it because they get to tread into a situation they can’t imagine for themselves. Heck, I wrote it, and although the springboard for the novel lies in truth, I wouldn’t have wanted to live out some of the details of Evie’s life either. I think that’s what made it so much fun to write. It’s true, I wish I had a freezer full of cookies like Evie always does. I wish I would meet a Jewish George Clooney (how I imagine a character in the book, ha!). I wish I worked in a snazzy gift shop because it sounds like fun. I wish my two best friends lived right next door to me, one on each side.
But really, I wish my ex was alive so that I had to come up with a whole different idea for a novel.
That being said, I’m wondering…are books about widows the new, um, black?
Jeez, I hope so.
Have you read the advance praise for The Glass Wives? You can do so here.