Friday, September 17, 2010

Epilogue: A widow re-entering the world of dating

Epilogue: A MemoirEpilogue: A Memoir by Anne Roiphe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Roiphe is a poetic, gifted writer. The way she describes certain situations in her life or her feelings of grief after the death of her husband are masterful. I meant to give some example quotes from the book I liked, but I forgot and put it in the "to be returned to the library" pile.

Wikipedia describes Anne Roiphe as a feminist writer. I've never read any of her books before--and in fact I think I might check out one of her novels out of curiosity. She is the mother of the very controversial Katie Roiphe.

If I hadn't read that description, I would never have labeled her as a feminist. She describes how her husband would always unlock the front door--she had never unlocked the front door until after he died! How does a woman have any independence if she never leaves her house without her husband (or if she does, he is always there to open the door for her when she returns)? She is a bit of a throw-back, if you ask me.

Roiphe enters the dating world after the death of her husband, and chronicles her adventures in this book. What I found most puzzling about her story was her apparent interest in the last man she found online. He was conservative, racist, sexist, and homophobic, yet she was strangely drawn to him. I cannot imagine ever falling in love with some diametrically opposed values to mine, to begin with. But for her to be attracted to this man, or the idea of this man, when he was sending her these soapbox e-mails about how all the world's evils were caused by the Arabs, homosexuals, and women? I cannot for the life of me begin to understand this. Finally she wised up, but it took her a heckuva long time.

So I give it three stars because of the beauty of the writing. However, as a person, I did not find her particularly appealing. She writes about her children and grandchildren as if they are very distant from her. Perhaps it's a New York WASP kind of thing to do.

She wrote eloquently about grief, but another oddity was that she celebrated many Jewish traditions (Seder, Kaddish, etc.), yet seemed to be an atheist and was absolutely positive that there was no life after death.

I'm debating about the number of stars, but I think I will leave it at three for now.

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