Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Cocktails For Three" by Madeline Wickham

Published: 2000
Read: 2011
Genre: Fiction
Setting: Contemporary London
Rating: 3
Review: Goodreads
Author's site

I have enjoyed reading the Shopaholic Series and the stand alone novels by Sophie Kinsella.  They are quick and easy reads.  I saw this book by Kinsella, writing under a different name at my local library's book sale and for $1, it was mine.  Doing a bit of research on her website for this blog post, I found it interesting that Sophie's real name is Madeline Wickham and that she wrote seven novels as Wickham before writing Confessions of a Shopaholic.  She submitted the Confessions manuscript under the pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella and the rest is history.

Back to the book.  Right from the start, I was drawn in and actually read it in one sitting.  Three friends, Candace, Roxanne and Maggie gather once a month, over cocktails, to catch up on their busy lives.   As I pondered this book in my journal, the word "alone" stood out - for all three women.  For they each had secrets - ones that created doubts, fears, insecurities, and irrational thoughts -  plaguing and at times,  overwhelming.  One thinks while reading the book, "Just say it!  Out with the secret...don't keep it in... tell someone, get perspective!"  It reminds me of the quote by English poet John Dunne, "No man is an island unto himself".   In other words, we need each other.

Candice struggles with guilt.  Her father, whom she adored, was discovered upon his premature death, to be a con man.  He swindled money from family and friends.  She feels tremendous guilt for his actions and when presented with an opportunity to make amends, she pounced on it, with unexpected consequences.

Roxanne has been having an affair for the past 6 years and the identity of her married lover is a secret.  He is not free to divorce due to having a young child so she struggles with anger, jealousy, shame, hurt, longing and bitterness.  Lots of feelings to deal with on your own.

Maggie struggles with insecurity.  Being a highly successful editor of a popular magazine did not prepare her for motherhood.  After having a healthy baby girl, she felt obligated to live up to a"supermom" image.  She tries to keep up the facade but ends up feeling lost, lonely, inadequate and a failure.

This book made me think.  Writing on Josh's blog has kept me connected to others while dealing with the catastrophic loss of our seventeen year old son to suicide, over two years ago.  Without it, I could not have survived.  Yes, every post is hard to write but it has, I think, been necessary for any type of healing to occur.  For I am forced to stop, think about my feelings related to his death, and articulate it as openly and honestly as I can.  And while this has benefitted me, I hear that it has helped others and for that, I am grateful.

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