Monday, May 4, 2015

"Shidduch Lit," II

Continuing in the Bad4 tradition, I present further options for Shidduch Lit

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (1945):
The protagonist is a hopeless romantic, and so chooses the "love of her life" quite badly. I found this to be more of a cautionary tale. I think I like cautionary tales.

Linda constructs fantasies of romance which prove to be her undoing, time and time again. Her jealousy at her older sister's marriage galvanizes her into insisting she is "in love," even though everyone in her family, friendship, and acquaintance say that he is not for her.

Nancy Mitford's books tend to mull over the question of what makes a happy marriage. Is it the wrong motivation that undoes things? What is the right motivation? Hmm. 

Longbourn by Jo Baker:
I have read a number of novels piggy-backing off of beloved classics, and this is the only one that is excellent literature in its own right.

Longbourn presents the view of that household from Pride and Prejudice through the eyes of the servants. Elizabeth, who was always our heroine, was quite inconsiderate slopping through all that mud; poor Sarah was the one who had to spend ours scraping it off, losing quite a lot of skin in the process.

Within, there is one passage describing what I feel to be the true translation of love, that I felt moved to share: 
It could have no effect on anything at all.
What he felt did not matter; it changed nothing.
But it interested him.
If he loved Sarah, then it meant that he was, despite all he had done, and all that he had failed to do, capable of feeling, and capable of good. Because he wanted nothing from her: this was a generous, expansive feeling, unattached to the possibility of gratification; it was a simple happiness that came from knowing that one particular person was alive in the world. He felt grateful for it; grateful that she had, however unwittingly, enabled him to feel like this. 
And though love might not matter, gratitude did. It brought with it a sense of obligation.

Delving more into practicalities: Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman.
Dr. Gottman is referenced constantly by professionals, and has a number of books; this is the first I have read. While my library copy was all scribbled up by an apparently unhappy wife, and the quizzes don't exactly apply to me, his categorizations of how people tend to deal with conflict (beyond marriage) was fascinating. I'll be taking out more of his books, definitely.       


Daniel Saunders said...

Have you read I Only Want to Get Married Once by Chana Levitan? I would definitely recommend it. She also blogs occasionally here.

Princess Lea said...

I've heard of it, haven't read it yet.