Okay, Twilight is not the whole story of women and love. I just thought it was the key fantasy of the girl inside us, ever hopeful.
Somewhere along in there I stumbled into books by two women (and a man) who tell the day-to-day marching that follows when an amazingly brave woman reaches for what she wants and it turns out to be for life.
Since my own marriage left me with more questions than answers, I grab onto every sentence in these three books that gives me clues to the question with no answer—what makes love last? And how do you get through the yucky times that one self-help team called Stage Two? (As in after the honeymoon is over.) How do you get to the part where the smiling old couple stroll slowly holding hands?
Actually I don’t stumblepon Jill Robinson’s books—I search for them. And in case you need a rating let me mention that Falling In Love When You Thought You Were Through has mysteriously disappeared! (Moral—don’t leave anything valuable on the table when you go to the ladies’ room.)
THE SUM OF OUR DAYS remembers Willie’s traveling to meet Isabelle Allende. Then, to be brief, she just plain followed him home. And the love story was still going on when I bought the book. She does tell things I had never heard of to make a family well and strong—she and her son even went to counseling and signed an agreement of acceptable behavior. That’s what I mean about the day-to-day.
And of course there were tough tests in the long romance that started with Jill Robinson asking to borrow a cigarette, and lasted through marriage. Tests like Jill’s moving to another country. And the big test for both of them that led to writing Past Forgetting.
I’ll probably never marry again, but I was hungry for what has made it work for some couples.
Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through, a memoir written with Stuart Shaw (HarperCollins, 2002)Past Forgetting, a memoir (HarperCollins, 1999
The Sum of Our Days, 2008. (English translation, Harper Collins)