Friday, March 6, 2009

Love And Other Natural Disasters- my thoughts

Love And Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas
copyright 2009
334 pages

From the back cover: Eve is eight months pregnant and in the middle of a Thanksgiving celebration when she discovers that her husband, Jonathan, has developed an emotional affair with another woman over the past year. Jonathan asserts his innocence because there was no physical intimacy, but Eve feels deeply betrayed by the connection he shared with someone else. What Jon has done seems so terrifyingly out of character that Eve finds herself questioning her entire world. As she learns more about what did happen, she starts to wonder if there are worse infidelities than sex. Is his emotional affair more forgivable than a sexual one? And most important, can their marriage survive?

I chose to read this book because my friend Mel at Lit*Chick featured this for this month's online bookclub. At first I was a little put off by the back cover description but Mel liked the book and I was willing to see where it would take me. Without getting too personal, I'm all too aware of what infidelity can do to a marriage and so as I was reading this book, I kept asking myself THE QUESTION...which is worse....a sexual affair or an emotional affair? My personal emotional affair feels more personal and more earth-shattering to me. How could this person that loves me and I love back, be giving a stranger time that should belong to me? telling this person things that they should be telling me, confiding their secrets and fears to this stranger instead of their "loved" one?
"Attending to someone outside of the marriage robs your partner of the intimacy they deserve."
"You needed a book to tell you that?" I wished I could believe his conversion, but it seemed a little too convenient and showy, like something you'd find in a revival tent.

One of the questions from the back cover was, 'is his emotional affair more forgivable than a sexual one?' I guess my answer to that is no. I won't speak for all women but for me I want to connect with my partner on a deep emotional level not just when we're having sex or making love. There are things that only you two have shared and that is what makes your relationship so special. You are connected...but when that bond breaks....things just never seem the same again.

I found myself wishing Thanksgiving had never happened. I liked to think Jon would have come to his senses after Olivia was born and ended things with Laney on his own. If he had, I would never have been the wiser. I would never have had to rethink my entire relationship with him. I wouldn't have lost my best friend, my family. But once you know there's no Santa Claus, you can never convince yourself otherwise.
p. 153

The other question that is asked is 'can their marriage survive?' I believe in my heart that if BOTH people are open and brutally honest with each other, and are both committed to their marriage, then yes, a marriage can survive infidelity. But not without a lot of tears, screaming, anger, true sorrow, forgiveness and most of all love.

I enjoyed reading this book and it certainly gave me a lot of food for thought. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good read that will make them question themselves as to what you would do if you were in this situation.


  1. I think you have to be in the "right" mood to read something like this. I can just imagine dreaming about the book and waking up mad at the hubby for no reason!

  2. Thanks for reading it! I agree it's more thought provoking/discussion oriented than it is fine literature. But for me a good book is one I want to talk about. I think you are right on.
    Come over to the blog and talk about it with me & kate. :)

  3. Wow wow wow....with out me getting toooooooo personal either....*sigh* that book might send me over the edge.... *sigh* I can totally ya girl! :):):):):)

  4. Oh. This is a book, right? I shuld finish the Joe Torre book so I can read another. I'll catch up by 2016...

  5. This sounds like it would be interesting although I have a hard time reading about infidelity. It is a bitter pill for me to swallow or something to that extent. Good review though :)

  6. I apologize for the digression.

    My teacher in high school used to say whether you're in a reading block, you'll find something that will engage you in Charles Dickens. Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities are my favorites.

    I'm teaching Anna Karenina starting the second half of March so I'll be reading it all over again. A local (by invitation only) book group invited me to attend their meetings on the novel. They are taking it slowly but are enjoying the characterization.

  7. I'm with Janel, I don't think I could read this book. I'd wake up and be pissed off all day at the hubs. I hope that it didn't bring back up any hard feelings for you. Make the next 3 or 4 fun ones. :)

  8. I remember coming across quite a few positive reviews about this one. It reminds me a lot of Jennie Shortridge's book, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe--similar in subject matter anyway. I agree with you about what it would take a marriage to survive this kind of betrayal. Great review!


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