For much of this week, I have been battling what can only be described as the worst illness to ever take up residence in my body. On day one, I felt bad. On day four, it was as if someone placed me in the middle of the road overnight and allowed a truck to repeatedly drive over my body. Since my husband is the only one in our house strong enough to accomplish this task, I’m highly suspicious. Maybe one day, I’ll find a letter hidden away with his confession to this unthinkable act.
Dear Christie – If you’re reading this, I am dead. Remember how sick you were that week in 2014? I was constantly walking behind you picking up the tissues and medicine bottles you left behind. Your nose was so stuffed up that you snored incessantly all night for days, and I was unable to sleep. You used my perfectly germ free pillow to lay on because your five other pillows just weren’t quite enough. Well, I just snapped. I made sure you were sound asleep from the medication you downed like it was your job, picked you up, laid you in the middle of the road, and allowed trucks to continuously run you over. I’m sorry.
Okay, I know that didn’t really happen, but if it did, and I were to discover my husband was capable of something so completely out of character to the person I knew him to be, it would feel much like what I imagine being run over by a truck feels like. I knew the secret of the letter was close to being revealed, and I approached it with both excitement and dread. I wanted to know and yet I did not.
Why wouldn’t I want to know? At about chapter 10, I guessed the contents of the letter. I’m not sure why it occurred to me except that I’m obsessed with trying to figure out plots in advance. It makes my husband crazy when we watch movies together.
Ryan: “You’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen, aren’t you?”
Me: “Yes, I think I’ve got it. Want to know?”
Ryan: “No! Why do you do that? Now, I have to sit over here watching this movie knowing that every time something happens, you are smugly thinking, ‘I knew it.’ The move is ruined.”
Spoiler Alert: If you aren’t caught up and have no desire to know the contents of the letter, you should stop reading this now. ***That was really exciting to write. I feel like an Entertainment Weekly reviewer for the Bachelor not wanting to reveal to the viewers which girl will cry because her “journey” was cut short this week. Yes, I’m making fun of that show and yes, I clearly watch it.***
Back to chapter 10… At this point in the book, I didn’t care that John Paul had killed Janie. He was traveling and had no real interaction with the other characters. I only knew him through Cecilia and it was hard to determine if the thoughts she had of him where out of truth or those made up by someone obsessing over the one thing in her life she had no control over. That letter.
Then he came home. I read the entire chapter of them in bed, and I instantly liked him. I enjoyed their easy conversation. The way he turned into a possessive father at the thought of someone whistling at his daughter. His awareness of how hot his wife looked in her “netball skirt.” Even the knowledge of him yelling “far…out” at that particularly unusual moment was endearing. In the chapters after that scene leading up to the actual reading of the letter, I continued to ask myself, “Could he have killed Janie? Did I get it all wrong? Was I right, but maybe it was somehow an accident?”
Then I read the letter, and I was devastated, but here is how I know I’m reading a great book by an author who knows how to write complex characters. I still find myself liking him. I’m rooting for Rachel to get her closure on the death of her daughter and somehow still see Cecilia, John Paul and their girls live happily ever after. I fear I might be disappointed.
So much to discuss. Here are some questions to get us started:
What were some of your favorite lines from these chapters? I loved when Cecilia thought about not just setting up, but leading, the Prisoner’s Wives Association. She imagined chatting with the other wives while they waited to go through the metal detectors. “What’s your husband in for? Oh, bank robbery? Really? Mine’s in for murder. Yep, strangled a girl. Off to the gym after this, are you?
Did you guess what was in the letter before you read it?
Do you feel the same as me about John Paul or am I the only sucker who wants everyone to get their happy ending?
What did you think about the other plot points in these chapters? I found them slightly overshadowed by the big reveal.
Next week, let’s read through Chapter 40. Also, I would like to begin thinking about our next book. Start jotting down your ideas and in the coming weeks, I’ll ask for suggestions. Thanks for continuing to follow! I look forward to your comments!