Lisa from SparkPoint Studio contacted me regarding today’s guest and asked if I would read and review his book. But since I am behind AGAIN, I disappointingly had to pass at this time. Oh how I wish I was a speed reader. There are just too many books I want to read and today’s guest has written one of those books. It is definitely on my TBR list. Welcome David Klein!!
David Klein is the author of the novel Stash, also published by Broadway Books, and his short fiction has appeared in a variety of literary magazines. He currently lives in upstate New York.
Visit David at his website, on Facebook and Twitter.
For Better or Worse
There really are no gray areas when it comes to traditional wedding vows. ‘For better or worse’, ‘Richer or poorer’, ‘In sickness or in health’, ‘Until death do us part.’
There’s no mistaking the intent of those vows, or the range of blissful and brutal conditions, emotions, and situations under which you promise to stay married.
In writing my most recent novel, Clean Break, I spent a long time thinking about the language of traditional marriage vows, and how those vows applied to my main character, Celeste. When the novel opens, she’s been struggling for several years with the level of commitment she “owes” her husband. The problem for Celeste is that the first years of marriage were all on the better, richer, and healthy side of the scale. But then her husband, Adam, fell under the spell of gambling. He lost all of their assets, poisoned their marriage, and emotionally damaged their young son, Spencer. And he lost his temper.
Their marriage had gone from better to worse, from health to sickness, from richer to poorer. Does Celeste really need to stick around because she’d made that promise to her husband ten years ago? The difficult question for her is whether Adam is truly ill, or has developed a nasty, addictive habit and a mean streak. You wouldn’t leave your spouse who is suffering from a disease. But you might leave that same spouse if he won’t stop a destructive behavior.
When talking to his son, Adam tries to tell Spencer he has a disease, “like grandma’s cancer,” and that the doctors are treating him so he gets better. But Celeste tells Spencer that no one chooses to get cancer, no makes a decision to get sick, yet Adam chose to gamble. He placed his bets.
Behavioral problems among adults get a lot of attention these days. In many cases, they’re positioned as addictions: gambling addiction, sex addiction, Internet addiction—you name it. Health professionals often prescribe prescription drugs to help sufferers, which some people argue serves to “medicalize” human distress or a person’s lack of accountability.
Even the mental health profession struggles in this gray area. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used by health professionals, researchers and policy makers to identify, classify and plan treatment for mental disorders. Proposed revisions would add “gambling disorder” to alcohol and drug problems as a “substance use and addictive disorder” that insurers and others would use to make decisions about treatment and coverage.
Better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health—yes. But the gray areas that life presents? Hard to say. For Celeste, like many spouses who may be stuck in an awful situation, it’s hard to know where commitment ends and survival begins. What are your thoughts on this topic?
ABOUT THE BOOK
But she quickly finds that starting over is not easy.
Adam demands his family back, and things get out of control. Jake, who witnesses a violent struggle between Celeste and her husband, becomes Celeste’s ally and friend, while struggling with his own emotional and ethical issues. Jake carries a history of failed relationships—one of them with Sara, a married and childless police detective who has a private agenda to pursue when a crime is committed that links these four characters together and changes their lives forever.
Amazon purchase link here.
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