I like this book by Sue Miller. I don't think I've read anything by this author since Family Pictures, back 15 years ago or so. This isn't a breathtaking novel; it isn't one that I thought much about when I finished it. But Miller is a good writer. She creates characters I can almost see perfectly, and she has some wonderful insights that made me stop and say, "Yes! Exactly!" I love those moments when something that I've thought, but not verbalized, is put into words. Like this bit on the study of history:
"Doesn't it all start--our interest in the past--with our wanting to know more about our own parents? … That drive we all have to get to the root of their attraction to each other. We always want their story, don't we? It's the first history we're really curious about. And the last one. It haunts us. Because it's a history with the most important consequence in the world--is. Us and our story. Our history."
And this one toward the end of the book, as Meri reflects upon her marriage:
"She had thought [15 years ago] that she knew already what their marriage was, what its limits were. She had thought they were in it. She didn't know they'd barely begun. She couldn't have imagined the long, slow processes that would change them, change what they felt for each other. She would never have guessed, either, the way the children would remake them and their love."
I've read some criticism of this book that points to disappointment in Delia's "stand by your man" policy, but I thought Miller did a great job of revealing Delia's dilemmas and her decisions. Meri's choices were a little harder for me to take, but still--I enjoyed the book.