Friday, July 16, 2010

Tuxedo Park by Laura Furman

(In which a women learned where limitations are and when to let go.)


When the naïve 19-year-old orphan Sadie Ash, fell in love with the wealthy 30+-year-old Willard Weaver, she thought that fate has finally worked its magic on her. She had found “rock bottom” when her parents died in an accident and her over-protective brother Reuben had to take care of her. But with Willard, she thought things will start to be fine. She gave herself to him and did her best to build a happy family and for their relationship to last until death. Until the inevitable happened. And then a near tragedy followed.

For one of her children and the rest of the community, Sadie is a hero and a martyr waiting for a miracle but does miracles while doing so. But Sadie’s maternal heroism could be considered a façade. Despite the touching experiences she had to endure alone while keeping a broken family, one would notice her apparent avoidance to reasons adhering to logic. And the worse thing is that she continues to be stubborn even if her childish reasons were matched by reality. She believed that Willard loves her and would soon come back. She denied him divorce in the hopes that someday he’ll realize that she and the family are everything that matters and kept the truth from their daughters for a decade. Had it not been for her older daughter’s suicide attempt she wouldn’t have had the guts to face the fact she’s been ignoring too long. She didn’t want to believe Reuben when he told her it was wrong to marry Willard in the first place. Not only is it because of the incredible age gap but also because of their obvious incompatibility – she, an innocuous young woman and he, an unctuous womanizer and a seemingly natural wanderer.

The plot of this novel was presented with surprisingly inconsistent transitions – some sections too long and the others too short. This oftentimes fails to provide enough time for the readers to move on.

Though the ending sounds pointless – perhaps for giving the reader a “hanging” feeling after reading the long narrative about complicated people in a family as well as the other complicated characters surrounding the family which, I believe, should have given readers the right for a better ending – one could not deliberately dismiss the novel as entirely ugly knowing that raising children is undeniably challenging and life-changing and because the writer was successful in bringing a domestic atmosphere with additional teenage drama to the readers’ imagination vividly.

Tuxedo Park is a story of a family torn apart by infidelity and boredom and was held together by simplicity and obstinacy. The most gripping part of which is the remarkable effort of a mother to provide a home for her daughters in an exclusive neighborhood despite their apparent poverty after a heartbreaking desertion and to compensate for all they lack by surrounding them with beauty and protection. It is a novel that reaches to every home and every mothers and fathers and children; a story highlighting how far a mother could go when torn between her own passion and her unconditional love for her children made more complex by her own desire to be a good person. It speaks of the bond that remains in a family no matter who left and who stayed and taught everyone how to find happiness in the mere presence of the people who never forgot when one has already become a minor memory to everyone else.

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