Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: The Slippage by Ben Greenman *** MILD SPOILERS ***

Title: The Slippage
Author: Ben Greenman
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Target Age Group: Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Book Description (from Amazon)

The Slippage is a wry, wistful tale of marriage, lust, and disconnection from Ben Greenman, the critically acclaimed author of What He’s Poised to Do.

William Day must confront some uncomfortable truths about his life and his future when his wife Louisa asks him to build her house. The take-it-or-leave-it demand becomes all the more difficult to swallow when he finds himself grappling with a past recklessness, an ex-girlfriend’s son he considers his own, and his own wants for what lies ahead.

Sure to appeal to everyone who has ever been in love and had their heart broken, The Slippage shares uncanny truths about intimacy and modern relationships.

My Review:
***NOTE: In this review, I feel there may be mild spoilers, especially some thematic ones, so reader beware. ***
First off, I want to mention this is another book I obtained at Book Expo America in 2013, so thanks again to them and to the author, Ben Greenman.

Second, this book is not my typical reading material.

Third, in light of that, this book was a pleasant surprise. In general, one way I judge books as being good ones if they stick with you long after you've read them. This book is definitely one of those books.

As I was reading this book, I thought it was a bit slow. Which is my usual reaction to literary fiction. Then I realized, yes, I'm reading about William Day's life, but I'm also reading about life in general. This is a book of themes, which are the things that stick with you when the book is finished.

Here is a definition, right from one of the characters in the book. Slippage - "the moment when you start to lose your footing." When we first are introduced to William in the book, the slippage has already started to happen to him. As we read further, his reckless behavior with regards to his relationship with his wife and his job causes him to slip even further.The question is: why? Why the reckless behavior? 

At first, you can't really sympathize with him. He's the cause of his own misery. Some people might be able to relate to him, but you can't like him. Maybe because, were you in the same situation, you couldn't like yourself. 

Then I started to think about one of the elements of the "human condition". Like how people build layers upon layers of "things" - feverishly working long hours at a job, climbing the career ladder, building a new home or addition, going on a vacation, settling into the humdrum existence of suburban life - to hide from what is truly troubling to them. For some, these "things" can be much more reckless.

Another great line, from Louisa, William's wife - "We make a pact with another person to follow as far as they go, but we do not really mean it. We mean that we will follow so long as we do not start to feel lost. Love, or what passes for it, is about believing that we are never truly lost." This is a powerful theme that sticks with me after reading the book, because here lies the cause of many problems in relationships, the fear to go where the relationship takes them, no matter where that might be.

There are other positive things I'd love to say about this story - one such thing is about Louisa's brother, Tom, and his "graph" art, which are funny but thoughtful asides in and of themselves - but I think this review has already gotten longer than I expected.

Check out the book. It's thought-provoking, a little slow and melancholy, but an interesting read.

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