There are so many ways to find out. From a cell phone. From a bank statement. From some weird supermarket encounter. One morning in early January 2005, Wendy Plump's friend came to tell her that her husband was having an affair. It was not a shock. Actually, it explained a lot. But what Wendy was not prepared for was the revelation that her husband also had another child, living within a mile of their family home.
Monogamy is one of the most important of the many vows we make in our marriages. Yet it is a rare spouse who does not face some level of temptation in their married life. The discovery of her husband's affair followed betrayals of Wendy's own, earlier in the marriage. The revelations of those infidelities had tested their relationship, but for Wendy, it was commitment - the sticking with it - that mattered most, and when her sons were born, she knew family had to come first. But with another woman and another family in the picture, she lost all sense of certainty.
In Vow, Wendy Plump boldly walks one relationship's fault lines, exploring infidelity from the perspective of both betrayer and betrayed. Moving fluidly from the intimate to the near-universal, she considers the patterns of adultery, the ebb and flow of passion, the undeniable allure of the illicit, the lovers and the lies. Frank, intelligent and important, Vow will forever alter your understanding of fidelity, and the meaning of the promises we make to those we love.
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Probably not only because I already know the story. Do people normally listen to audiobooks multiple times?
Honest and unapologetic.
This story is well worth the read (or in the case of the audiobook, the listen).
Vow is a very brave and honest account of a relationship that was doomed from the beginning. While many reviewers might be tempted to review the author as a person and not the book, I don't think that is fair. After all, it's no secret what this book is about. If you chose to read a book about adultery, and live vicariously through the actors in it, you can't judge them as people when reflecting on the story.
The book is very well written and effectively captures and describes the mentality of a woman who seems to have no respect for the vow of marriage until it is irreparably broken. At times, Wendy does channel her inner Frasier and use bigger words and metaphors than the scene calls for, but it's not obnoxious.
I didn't feel much (if any) sympathy for Wendy or Bill, but I don't think she tries to seek it. What I did feel was empathy. I can relate to the situation where a couple tries to continue their marriage after an affair without ever addressing the underlying issues that led to the affair in the first place. I understand what it feels like to always wonder if the other person is going to "get back" at you someday. I understand how being in a marriage where things just aren't right leads to needing to escape, and the comfort you can find in someone else.
But most of all, I can understand what it's like to want to stay together, even when there is no good reason to do so, simply because we're afraid of accepting the consequences of our actions. It's about deferring pain, and it accrues interest. We'll always feel vulnerable until we pay full price for those actions.
I hope that writing this book was a weight off of Wendy's shoulders. Once the story was documented and the last page written, I hope that she was able to move on from the past and carry the lessons toward a better future for her and her children.
- Josh Einstein