Thank you, Susan Choi

Written By: sherridaley - Feb• 16•14

 

Thank you, Susan Choi, for writing about every single kind of love there is, short of interspecies couplings.

This is the story of  Regina Gottlieb as she powers through college and the years thereafter, racking up a list of relationships that would make my mother faint dead away, as if she didn’t have a hard enough time with the list I racked up … and wrote a book about …  and…  Never mind.

Susan Choi’s richly written novel tells of a woman’s experiences loving, being loved, not being loved, learning about love, and learning nothing, perhaps.

The affair that tore her to shreds is the one that hurt this reader most: the affair with the wife of her college professor, a woman 34 to Regina’s 19.  It is less about a lesbian relationship than it is about the kind of love that drives you mad, makes you sell your house and your car, quit your job, and move to another city to be close to the object of your obsession.  The kind of love that makes you weep and beg and bang on locked doors with your fists until they bleed, that makes you lose weight, drink till you throw up and wake up in strange bedrooms. The kind of love you think you will die from.  And almost do.  Die from the sex or the withholding of it. Die from anticipating it, needing it, wanting it, having it.  If you have never had this kind of love, you may wonder what kind of animal this Regina is.

She may have fallen into this abyss because the previous affair was a comfortable arrangement with a roommate (male) so benign it could hardly be called “an affair.”  And the relationship she dove into after the woman was a sort of bandage for both of them, Regina and the professor whose wife she so ruinously loved.  I won’t even type SPOILER ALERT because the publishers so idiotically did that already on Amazon and even on the book cover.

And if comfort, suicidal passion, healing, platonic, and “normal” weren’t enough (and they usually aren’t), Regina plows on to married love, Baby-love (which was hardly expected), and deep friendship sex. With whom I will not tell you so that there will be at least something you do not expect.

All this and the book can hardly be called pornographic. It’s not a dirty book.  It’s a deeply satisfying book about love.  But only if you’re ready for it. You can’t be judgmental and cruise through this book. It would be like deciding Gone With the Wind is a terrible book because Scarlett didn’t love Rhett the way you wanted her to.

Or the way you would have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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