Book tour: Happiness Sold Separately

October 30, 2007

in Book Club, Infertility

Come on in and have a seat. ‘Scuse the dirty socks on the floor and the Colorado Rockies banner blocking the stairs (I’ll be taking it down now).

Would you like a mini-quiche? How about a Mojito? There’s plenty ready, since Bacardi makes them by the bottle now.

So glad you could stop by for my turn at the Barren Bi+ches Book Brigade book tour for Happiness Sold Separately.

I liked this book just fine, but it took me 6 weeks to read. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t beg me to pick it up every night. While I related to both Elinor and Gina, and they seemed 3-dimensional and sympathetic, neither swam in my head during the day as I went about my business.

Here are my three questions & answers:

1. The end of the book was left open to the reader. Do you think that Elinor and Ted stayed together, or that they really finally separated? Did she pursue adoption on her own, or did they do another round of IVF with PGD? Do you think she ended up happy, or did she continue to struggle?

When I finished the book, the ending, to me, was clear. Elinor was finally seeing her situation as it was — not how she thought it should be — and was ready to let Ted go. Not violently, like she mulched the IF books, or self-destructively, like she cut her hair with pinking shears. But just surrendering. Like she did to losing Warren. It hurt, but it she knew it had to happen.

I see her moving on to international adoption on her own. And because she decided to stop struggling against the current, I think she eventually does find happiness. Because she figured out how to surrender to it.

May I refresh your drink?

2. Ted seeks solace in the garage and the gym — places where he can “fix” things. Elinor finds refuge in the laundry room and by re-reading classic novels from college. Why is Elinor drawn to these activities? What activities do you engage in to soothe your soul during your fertility quest and why? What about your partner?

Elinor is drawn to the past. She re-reads classic novels from college and acts like a carefree co-ed when she goes to the bar with Kat. My guess is that she reverts back to the time when all of life — and myriad choices — were ahead of her. But she is actually feeling that at 40, so many doors have closed behind her. And she questions her choices, as they didn’t lead her to happiness.

Me? I wrote. A LOT. Spewed poison and venom and anger and sadness and despair all over my old laptop and into my writing journals. I lived 6000 miles away from home. I was teaching middle schoolers, and our affection for each other kept me afloat. I also felt the need to create. In this time period I wrote a children’s story, began painting pots, and in played flute in a weekly sing-along with our ex-pat community.

Roger played a lot of team sports. Intramurals among faculty were big at our international school.

And he ran. And ran and ran.

3. Elinor seeks the comfort of odd places. At first it is in the laundry room, and then later changes to the oak tree in her yard. I think we all try to find comfort to help us make it through the bad patches. What were/are your sources of comfort?

I really hate to be barefoot. I take after my dad in that. Even in the house, I usually have on flip-flops or slippers. But when I’m in a bad patch, I do love to walk barefooted on a lush green lawn. I love to feel that connection to the verdant earth and all that feminine energy.

And I read. I got lost in someone else’s problems. When I came back to mine, they sometimes seemed less catastrophic.

I wish, at the time, I’d been able to connect with this community. You ladies (and a few gentlemen) are amazing.

Thanks for visiting. Hope I’ll see you again here before The Handmaid’s Tale.

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I owe the existence of this blog (and it’s sister, Drama 2B Mama) to the Barren Bi+ches Book Tour. Back in the Spring, I read Waiting for Daisy and googled it to find out more. At the top of the search list was Stirrup Queens’ Barren Bi+tches Book Brigade. Melissa, the first blogger I ever “met” said, “all you need is a book and a blog.” I was so excited about “talking” with others about this book, about not needing to actually go to anyone’s house or clean my own, that I took the plunge and began blogging.

So, blogless readers, maybe you should do the same. I’d love to read what you think about our upcoming choices.

Setting up a blog is easy. In the upper right corner of my blog, you see a link to “Create blog.” Click it and follow the directions.

You’ll be blogging in time for the next book tour. Speaking of which, here’s a word from our sponsor…

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Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about Happiness Sold Separately? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Tour by visiting the master list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #8 (The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

What a great way to start a blog, through the book tour!I agree with you on questions #1. The ending was definitely bittersweet, Elinor seemed much more at peace and accepting of her past and the options that still lay before her than she had earlier in the book. I think you are also right that she was reaching into her past, trying to reclaim a time when the world was all possibility, and it was hard for her to accept the limitations life had created.

Reply

candy April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

the ending was clear to me also. i like how you said “Elinor was finally seeing her situation as it was — not how she thought it should be — and was ready to let Ted go.” things don’t turn out like you think they should be, and it’s very hard to let go of that sometimes. i’ll definitely be back to read more before the next book tour. http://www.candysland.wordpress.com

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Fertilized April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

i just love reading everyone’s responses to these questions. It’s neat to read how everyone interpreted these questions

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Pamela April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Bring on the Mojito! It’s nearly 11 pm and I’ll need a little something to relax…been quite a working weekend (but I digress). Like you I wish I’d been able to connect with this community when I was in the thick of it. I’m convinced I’d be sooooo much further ahead if I had the great camaraderie I feel here. I encourage everyone who visits to get blogging, too. As for your solace activities, I could almost hear the flute and see the blur of your husband running by. Got me thinking of how I used to run away from thinking about “it” only to come back and write, write, write and write some more. As for finding happiness, I think that’s something we have to keep reminding ourselves to do at each stage of our lives. Happiness sometimes finds us, but more often than not it takes some serious initiative to locate it…

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Samantha April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

What a great way to start a blog, through the book tour!I agree with you on questions #1. The ending was definitely bittersweet, Elinor seemed much more at peace and accepting of her past and the options that still lay before her than she had earlier in the book. I think you are also right that she was reaching into her past, trying to reclaim a time when the world was all possibility, and it was hard for her to accept the limitations life had created.

Reply

candy April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

the ending was clear to me also. i like how you said “Elinor was finally seeing her situation as it was — not how she thought it should be — and was ready to let Ted go.” things don’t turn out like you think they should be, and it’s very hard to let go of that sometimes. i’ll definitely be back to read more before the next book tour. http://www.candysland.wordpress.com

Reply

Fertilized April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

i just love reading everyone’s responses to these questions. It’s neat to read how everyone interpreted these questions

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Pamela April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Bring on the Mojito! It’s nearly 11 pm and I’ll need a little something to relax…been quite a working weekend (but I digress). Like you I wish I’d been able to connect with this community when I was in the thick of it. I’m convinced I’d be sooooo much further ahead if I had the great camaraderie I feel here. I encourage everyone who visits to get blogging, too. As for your solace activities, I could almost hear the flute and see the blur of your husband running by. Got me thinking of how I used to run away from thinking about “it” only to come back and write, write, write and write some more. As for finding happiness, I think that’s something we have to keep reminding ourselves to do at each stage of our lives. Happiness sometimes finds us, but more often than not it takes some serious initiative to locate it…

Reply

Lollipop Goldstein April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

A woman could become a little tipsy sitting here long enough. With the refilling of the mojito glasses and such.I loved this thought: “And I read. I got lost in someone else’s problems. When I came back to mine, they sometimes seemed less catastrophic.” It is true. There is nothing like delving into the world and seeing what others are dealing with. It doesn’t minimize your own, but sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.You cannot even imagine how psyched I am that you read Waiting for Daisy and we found each other. Sniff. My B C-P Twin. Which is, of course different from BCP…

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Caba April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I could use a drink!I thought the ending was a no-brainer. I felt like for sure her marriage with Ted was over. And I agree about Gina, I really couldn’t relate or empathize with her. I just think a married man is off-limits, all the time. Good review, and nice meeting you for the first time in this blog world!

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Ms. Planner April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I love your writing, Lori. So engaging. I am in Group B, but often check in on your blog and was honored that you answered one of my questions in your review.“My guess is that she reverts back to the time when all of life — and myriad choices — were ahead of her. But she is actually feeling that at 40, so many doors have closed behind her. And she questions her choices, as they didn’t lead her to happiness.” So very insightful. I asked this because I couldn’t figure out why she re-read old classics, but in my opinion, you hit the nail on the head.And sorry about the Rockies. I was rooting for them.Lastly, I have not heard from your yoga teacher but MY GOSH thanks for even asking her to respond to my questions about yoga in the first trimester. I did a few easy poses this morning but it definitely feels weird for my practice to have ground to a halt.

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Waiting Amy April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

My interpretation of the ending was very clear also — the marriage was over. I actually read this very quickly and identified with Elinor quite a bit. But I thought Gina was rather 2 dimensional and had trouble relating.I liked your comments about how she reverted to another time in her life and why.And I’m always back now and again! See you before the next tour. Oh, and pour me a mojito!

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Deb April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I agree with you on the ending. The first time I listened to this book on audio cd’s and to me the ending was very clear. When I read the book this time around, my gut reaction still came in that she is moving on.Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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Mommy Someday April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I totally agree with your comments here — “I liked this book just fine, but it took me 6 weeks to read. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t beg me to pick it up every night. While I related to both Elinor and Gina, and they seemed 3-dimensional and sympathetic, neither swam in my head during the day as I went about my business.” While I enjoyed the book, it didn’t call to me either. I didn’t feel like I really got to know any of the characters at a personal level — it was just something that I read about. That said, I think it was a benefical read, and it did make me think a lot — especially about the need for communication in this battle with infertility.

Reply

Lollipop Goldstein April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

A woman could become a little tipsy sitting here long enough. With the refilling of the mojito glasses and such.I loved this thought: “And I read. I got lost in someone else’s problems. When I came back to mine, they sometimes seemed less catastrophic.” It is true. There is nothing like delving into the world and seeing what others are dealing with. It doesn’t minimize your own, but sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.You cannot even imagine how psyched I am that you read Waiting for Daisy and we found each other. Sniff. My B C-P Twin. Which is, of course different from BCP…

Reply

Caba April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I could use a drink!I thought the ending was a no-brainer. I felt like for sure her marriage with Ted was over. And I agree about Gina, I really couldn’t relate or empathize with her. I just think a married man is off-limits, all the time. Good review, and nice meeting you for the first time in this blog world!

Reply

Ms. Planner April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I love your writing, Lori. So engaging. I am in Group B, but often check in on your blog and was honored that you answered one of my questions in your review.“My guess is that she reverts back to the time when all of life — and myriad choices — were ahead of her. But she is actually feeling that at 40, so many doors have closed behind her. And she questions her choices, as they didn’t lead her to happiness.” So very insightful. I asked this because I couldn’t figure out why she re-read old classics, but in my opinion, you hit the nail on the head.And sorry about the Rockies. I was rooting for them.Lastly, I have not heard from your yoga teacher but MY GOSH thanks for even asking her to respond to my questions about yoga in the first trimester. I did a few easy poses this morning but it definitely feels weird for my practice to have ground to a halt.

Reply

Waiting Amy April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

My interpretation of the ending was very clear also — the marriage was over. I actually read this very quickly and identified with Elinor quite a bit. But I thought Gina was rather 2 dimensional and had trouble relating.I liked your comments about how she reverted to another time in her life and why.And I’m always back now and again! See you before the next tour. Oh, and pour me a mojito!

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Deb April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I agree with you on the ending. The first time I listened to this book on audio cd’s and to me the ending was very clear. When I read the book this time around, my gut reaction still came in that she is moving on.Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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Mommy Someday April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I totally agree with your comments here — “I liked this book just fine, but it took me 6 weeks to read. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t beg me to pick it up every night. While I related to both Elinor and Gina, and they seemed 3-dimensional and sympathetic, neither swam in my head during the day as I went about my business.” While I enjoyed the book, it didn’t call to me either. I didn’t feel like I really got to know any of the characters at a personal level — it was just something that I read about. That said, I think it was a benefical read, and it did make me think a lot — especially about the need for communication in this battle with infertility.

Reply

Rebecca April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I also find solace in my reading and writing. When I was younger I used to do both of these religiously. I was kind of a dork and liked being myself. As I got older and busier and more social, my writing tappered off. It’s only recently since this whole IF crap that I’ve returned to it.

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Lavender Luz April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Such commenting must have you gals thirsty — here’s the next round of Mojitos! No driving home, now.Pamela Jeanne — I’m glad this community has brought you into my life. I so appreciate your view of the world.Fertilize M — thanks for stopping in.Candy — I look forward to visiting more with you on both our blogs.Samantha — I’m so glad you visited. I liked your responses, too.Mommy Someday — I’m glad you enjoyed the book and the tour, too.Deb — did the audio and the page versions evoke any different emotions?Waiting Amy — and I always love it when you comment! Ms Planner — wow, thanks! A writer LIVES for such words! Kind of makes up for the last week of baseball (and tonight’s Broncos loss, that happened during this comment).Dunn Family — so nice to meet you! Hope we converse some more before the next tour.Mel — You buy next time at the Lushuary. I might be able to imagine your level of psyched-ness because mine is pretty high, too!

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Rebecca April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I also find solace in my reading and writing. When I was younger I used to do both of these religiously. I was kind of a dork and liked being myself. As I got older and busier and more social, my writing tappered off. It’s only recently since this whole IF crap that I’ve returned to it.

Reply

Lavender Luz April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Such commenting must have you gals thirsty — here’s the next round of Mojitos! No driving home, now.Pamela Jeanne — I’m glad this community has brought you into my life. I so appreciate your view of the world.Fertilize M — thanks for stopping in.Candy — I look forward to visiting more with you on both our blogs.Samantha — I’m so glad you visited. I liked your responses, too.Mommy Someday — I’m glad you enjoyed the book and the tour, too.Deb — did the audio and the page versions evoke any different emotions?Waiting Amy — and I always love it when you comment! Ms Planner — wow, thanks! A writer LIVES for such words! Kind of makes up for the last week of baseball (and tonight’s Broncos loss, that happened during this comment).Dunn Family — so nice to meet you! Hope we converse some more before the next tour.Mel — You buy next time at the Lushuary. I might be able to imagine your level of psyched-ness because mine is pretty high, too!

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Lisa April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

“And because she decided to stop struggling against the current, I think she eventually does find happiness.” – That is exactly how I feel most days – struggling against the current. Sometimes I think I have to stop doing this because if I don’t I will spend my entire life this way and someday look back and not remember anything about my life but IF.

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Lavender Luz April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Rebecca and Carrie — thanks for commenting. I’ll pop on over to your blogs shortly.

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Carrie April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I love your views on the book. I agree that it isn’t the most captivating book I’ve ever read. It was fine and I did enjoy it.The re reading of classics and Elinor’s behaviour makes perfect sense (now you’ve pointed it out!) of course she was trying to recapture simplier times. Who wouldn’t want that?I really like that you wrote a lot. I can see how that would be a help when you’re an expressive person.

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Lisa April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

“And because she decided to stop struggling against the current, I think she eventually does find happiness.” – That is exactly how I feel most days – struggling against the current. Sometimes I think I have to stop doing this because if I don’t I will spend my entire life this way and someday look back and not remember anything about my life but IF.

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Lavender Luz April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Rebecca and Carrie — thanks for commenting. I’ll pop on over to your blogs shortly.

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Carrie April 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I love your views on the book. I agree that it isn’t the most captivating book I’ve ever read. It was fine and I did enjoy it.The re reading of classics and Elinor’s behaviour makes perfect sense (now you’ve pointed it out!) of course she was trying to recapture simplier times. Who wouldn’t want that?I really like that you wrote a lot. I can see how that would be a help when you’re an expressive person.

Reply

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