Response to "the stuff that never happened"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Response to the stuff that never happened
Maddie Dawson's new novel, the stuff that never happened, is marketed as a book about a woman who loves two men. While that is, indeed, the plot line, it is so much more in the deeper sense.

It is the story of a young woman finding and defining herself. The men are but constructs against which she defines and refines herself. Having walked my own difficult and long journey of defining and refining, I resonated with the struggle and how women too often and for too many centuries have defined themselves over and against men instead of finding themselves first and inviting a man to walk along side, if and only if he is in step with where she is going.

Dawson also highlights the difficulty of our feminine task by writing the story of three generations---grandmother, mother and daughter---very different women, different decades but the same task---know thyself.

The role of sex in the novel is a starring role and alternately awkward, funny and sad. While the sex may sell more books, I think it's overdone as a "character" in the long-running play of finding oneself. And how on earth can you even consider marrying someone who wants a weekly appointment for sex?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the stuff that never happened by Maddie Dawson as member of the From Write to Left Book Club, which was created as a continuation of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog Book Club. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own. You can purchase a copy of the stuff that never happened at the link below.

updated: 6 years ago

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Maddie DawsonWednesday, August 11th 2010 12:28PM

It's funny about Grant's appointment for sex. Some people have seen that as evidence that he loved her so much that he make an appointment for sex. But I think of it as that he loves his WORK so much that he knows he isn't going to think of sex and so he schedules it, and Annabelle is infuriated by becoming simply something on his to-do list.
I love this post! I think you're so right: it really is a book about a woman defining and then redefining herself, and about the three generations of women who have to find themselves as women, as spouses, as mothers, and as people who have complicated needs and inner lives that sometimes conflict with other people's expectations of them.  Thank you for writing this!

BrendaWednesday, August 11th 2010 12:06PM

I just crack up everytime I hear readers commenting on the sex appt. Is there anyone out there that supports an appt for sex???

LinseyWednesday, August 11th 2010 9:14AM

I agree - who wants an appointment for sex?!

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neenaWednesday, August 11th 2010 6:37AM

I hadn't thought about the impact of the 3 perspectives, but you're right!

SharonTuesday, August 10th 2010 3:34PM

i think the character Annabelle had too much time on her hands. She draws free lance art for a living and could work whenever she chose. She couldn't appreciate how driven her husband was to complete his own work.

I think you're right about that! It took her a long time to learn to function in the adult world. :-)