A Book for Cold Winter Days
As temperatures are dropping, I wanted to share a book with you guys that is perfect for a day of staying inside and reading. It is definitely not a cozy feel-good book, but it is suspenseful and makes you reflect on what it takes to make a relationship work. I read it in one day and absolutely loved it. It does, however, contain references to sensitive topics, so let me give you a quick trigger warning before giving you an introduction to the plot: suicide, miscarriage, sexual assault & drug use.
The book is called The Silent Treatment* and was written by Abbie Greaves. The story focuses on Frank and Maggie, an elderly couple that has been married for forty years. But we know from page one that something must have gone terribly wrong in their relationship, because Frank has not spoken a word to Maggie in six months (despite them living together). The book opens with Maggie no longer being able to live like this and attempting to commit suicide by overdosing on a medication she regularly takes. Frank finds her, calls an ambulance and Maggie is then brought to the hospital. There, the roles of the past six months are sudddenly reversed: Now, Maggie is unconscious in a hospital bed and, therefore, unable to speak. Frank, on the other hand, is now the one who has to do the talking, since the hospital staff tells him that talking to patients can aid their recovery. So he finds himself at Maggie's bedside, telling her about their lovestory.
Throughout the story, Frank mentions his regrets about the times he couldn't find the right words, when he wished he had (not) said or done something and we realise how much he feels like he is not good enough. A light spoiler: We will also get Maggie's perspective on many situations described by Frank. At the end of the book, you have a full picture of much of their story and you realise how much they both did not know about what is going on in the other's head.
This book made me reflect on the importance of communication in relationships. It was so sad to see how their relationship ended up in the situation of one not speaking to the other for six months, because you could tell that a lack of love for each other was not the issue. From both perspectives, we can see that they really do love each other. It is beautiful to read about that love, that has only grown for those forty years of marriage.
But love itself is not enough to make a relationship work. A relationship means hard work at times. And it also means having difficult conversations and being honest - even when it is hard to do so. It was a really touching story in my opinion and I could not put the book down. I highly recommend it and ended up giving it 5 stars on GoodReads. If you end up reading it, please let me know your thoughts on the book here!
Lots of Love,
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