They have been married for 25 years but now, Terri fells like suffocating. She can no longer go on being the housewife in the suburbs whose daily routines have been the same for decades and who has lost all individuality. When she meets Lucas, she falls for him and leaves her husband David. Neither he nor their two daughters Ally and Karla can understand Terri’s behaviour. While Terri finds the second love – if that’s what it is since it does not actually go far beyond bodily desires – her eldest daughter finds her first love. David and Ally need more time to adjust to the new situation, but they two learn that another life is possible.
Marijke Schermer cleverly composes her novel to show quite different types of love. On the one hand, there is the reliable love that has been formed during years of marriage, where the partners know each other with all their weaknesses and have formed dependable routines. On the other hand, Terri lives an ecstatic love with Lucas which does mainly focus on bodily needs but not on getting to know the other’s character. Love within the family – which should be something you can trust on and which deeply disappoints if this is not the case – the first love with butterflies in the stomach and the love between those who have already loved, have been disappointed and not in the middle of their age, approach the concept with reluctance.
I liked the interchange of the different perspectives which are cleverly linked within the story. We often get the same moment first from one then from another character’s perspective thus outlining how they might differ in the assessment of the situation and also showing the different expectations they have.
Interestingly, I can easily understand Terri’s feeling of suffocating and wanting to break out of her life after so many years of only following routines, of feeling like having lost her self and being stuck in a dead-end. David’s perspective, too, is easy to follow. He and Terri have been a team, their family is their common endeavour, she cannot just stand up and go! For him, all was fine up to that moment and thus, he is totally surprised by his wife’s move. For the girls, the situation is hardest, family is the concept they have known and even though they have been confronted with separations and divorces this has been something that happened to others but not to them. How can they experience something like the first love when love can hurt so much?
A wonderfully written novel, right out of life which I totally enjoyed reading.