Your Roots Are Showing
I really tried to like this book because it has many good points. The plot centers on a painfully honest email that Lizzie, the main character, sends by mistake to her husband revealing the drudgery that her life as a house-bound mother and wife has become.
The couple separates and Lizzie is forced to face herself while taking care of the kids, of course. Since getting married, her weight, looks, and physical habits have gone down the drain. Let’s be clear here, Lizzie didn’t have much self-esteem before she met her prince...er, James. The romantic fuzziness prevails and James, who rarely got sex during the marriage, remains forever the patient love.
Yes, it is important for women (and men) to maintain their own identities while in relationships. Lizzie has lost sight of that, but in fairy tale success, regains it. That’s all nice and dandy, but a few things really irked me about this book. Lizzie goes on and on about how they had a healthy relationship and he was the greatest guy on earth (and not just because she was some mousey nobody and he was a rich athletic type) and she was so lucky and she didn’t know why!
What I got from her tall, handsome James was that he, born of an ultra-controlling ice queen mother, didn’t possess the assertive communication skills needed for maintaining a successful marriage. He completely shuts down when she sends the email—and he really didn’t seem to talk much during the marriage either. His decisions are based primarily on fear. Their lack of connection and their adolescent assumptions about each other are painful to read.
Despite her constant self-doubt, Lizzie’s friends are confident and successful women like Tessa. Never mind that Lizzie has suffered from chronic self-esteem since long before she met James and that it simply got worse with marriage. It isn’t until James leaves Lizzie that Tessa admits that she noticed Lizzie’s depression a few years ago, but didn’t say anything.
Oh, and Tessa, a certified pharmacist, advises her to use holistic healing and take vitamins and supplements. There is no need for a diagnosis or a physician’s input, and Lizzie certainly doesn’t need to know that supplements like St. John’s Wort can only be taken for short periods of time, or that there are side effects she’d have to watch for.
Incredulously, it only takes Lizzie a few months to tackle years of depression, get in top shape, run marathons, and fit back into a sexy, curvy dress. The message is inspiring, but the vehicle requires suspension of disbelief. The realistic bits, like alluding to the symptoms of depression (e.g, frumpy clothes, overeating, and anxiety) do not make up for the surreal ending and James’ spotless honor.