This book was too depressing. I couldn't finish it and had to return it.
"If you have picked up this book in hopes that in it there will be details of a scandal, you should now put the book down. This is my story, and my story is filled with pain and anger, with great erasures of my history and new outlines for my future, but it is not filled with the clatter you seek. The story from my side is quite a different story from the one of grocery store papers, a story played out too many times but rarely as publicly as my own."
The above quote does not appear until the final section of "Resilience," an odd placement considering the vulnerability Edwards displays throughout the rest of the book. But the words accurately capture her poetic and heartfelt story about dealing with circumstances wildly beyond human control. She picks out memories that demonstrate how others have processed tragedy: a Japanese woman, about to become a geisha, who instead became a dance instructor after experiencing the atomic explosion in Hiroshima; Edwards' father, who suffered a major stroke that left him paralyzed but refused to accept a doctor's dire prognosis.
The chapter on the death of Edwards' son Wade's forms the book's climax. Instead of explaining how she dealt with her grief, Edwards powerfully describes how she dreamt of Wade, how she planted flowers by his gravesite, how she kept his room intact after his death. She continues her story through her cancer diagnosis and finally, through her husband's "indiscretion."
Edwards refuses to become a politician's prop-wife who must stand alongside her cheating husband. Instead, she remains very much her own person, one who abstains from platitudes and stands as a full-fledged individual, not as an accessory to John.
Ultimately, Edwards' "resilience" means that one must understand how to reframe and accept a new life after tragedy. Cowering in denial is not an option.
Elizabeth Edward's writing at first seems simple but if read attentively it is clear that she is trying to describe an inner landscape which is not totally possible to describe.
After reading this book, I found myself rooting for Elizabeth to have those ten years she wants badly and hopefully more.
She's faced some tough bumps in the road but she is able to get back to the top of the water and keep swimming towards her priorities in life.
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