Apart at the Seams

by Kathy on September 8, 2014 · 6 comments

in Blog Hops, Book Tours, Books, Communication, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenting, Reality, Relationships, Writing

Apart at the Seams coverGreetings and welcome to this stop on the Apart at the Seams Book Tour! This is my seventh time participating in a book tour. My previous experiences were with Eat, Pray, LoveLife from Scratch, A Gift of TimeThe Sound of HopeThe Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption, and Measure of Love.

For those of you not familiar with book tours, they are essentially online book clubs. On a given date the tour leader, in this case Lori from Lavender Luz, who is a published author herself, collects one or more questions from each reader. Soon after that we all receive a list of questions (that were posed by our fellow book club members, each participant submits at least one question) from which we are to choose between one and three to answer on our blog in a post, such as this.

I have been looking forward to participating in this book tour since I first learned that my friend Mel, from Stirrup Queens, was writing another book in this series. When I heard that Apart at the Seams would not be continuing the story from where Measure of Love left off, rather it would tell the same story, but have it narrated from someone else’s point of view, I couldn’t wait to read it! What an awesome idea, to get first hand insight into what was really going on with some of the key characters in the two previous books, from their unique perspective. How often do I/we wish we could be a fly on the wall in someone else’s life, to have a better understanding of their experiences and how those impact their attitude, priorities and personal, as well as professional, choices?

As I said my review of Measure of Love, which holds true for Apart at the Seams,

I love how Mel tackles the reality of complicated relationships in adulthood: from marriage to friendships, as well as in-laws and acquaintances…. I found reading this book as a late-thirtysomething mom, who has been married for almost (14) years, that so many of the story lines resonate with me. In almost every instance I was able to call to mind someone I know, whether it be a loved one or more of an acquaintance who has experienced something similar. Not to mention the many situations that hit really close to home, because some version has happened with me and my family or friends over the years. I also appreciate what seemed to be the central theme of how communication (and lack there of) impacts relationships.

Now let’s get to the three questions I chose to consider and my answers to them (please feel free to comment and share your thoughts about the questions and/or my answers, even if you haven’t read the book or aren’t participating in this book tour):

Question 1: Did you read the other two books in the series?  If yes, how did you think this book compared?

Yes, I did. It’s been over a year since I read Measure of Love and even longer since I read Life From Scratch. I know that I really liked the other two, but in many ways this was my favorite. I am not sure if it is because I think the concept of a “sideways sequel” is so cool or if the perspective of the main characters and their storyline in Apart at the Seams just resonates more with me.

I would like to go back and re-read all three at some point, close in time to each other. I think it will be especially interesting to compare Rachel’s perspective in Measure of Love to Ari’s in Apart at the Seams. I have so many questions about how Mel (the author), came up with and executed this idea. So I am glad to know she will be answering some of our questions as part of this book tour. I have to say that I am sad that this series has ended, at least for now.  I really grew to care about the characters and felt like I knew them. Similar to when I finish a season of a TV series, I find myself thinking and day dreaming about the characters and know it will take me some time to “get over” Rachel, Ari and the others. Also, because I am friends with Mel, I have a sense of how much time and effort went into creating these books and have so much respect and admiration for her/her work.

Question 2: As a reader I felt distanced and came away with the impression that I only knew what Arianna wanted me to know. I wasn’t convinced that she knew herself, or possibly even trusted herself all that much. I questioned her motivation and felt she “settled,” which made me sad. I feel no one should settle. Do you feel she was settling?

No, I don’t feel she was settling. I think that in life, especially with our relationships, we have to make choices. I am not sure that there is such a thing as a “perfect match” for a marriage or other committed relationships. I believe that relationships take a lot of work, commitment, and flexibility. Of course marriage has so many positives too, but I don’t think a lot of people realize that when they decide to get hitched.

Yes, Noah was better able to understand and appreciate the creative side of Ariana’s personality, because he also works in a field that thrives on and encourages others to allow their life to revolve around their job. But there were so many things that Ethan brings to Ari and his relationship, that Noah lacks. Some couples I believe are well matched when their personalities aren’t exactly alike. I think opposites can be attracted to, and bring our the best in, each other. That has certainly been my experience with my husband of almost 14 years.

That said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t days and times when I doubt why and how my husband and I ended up together. Like Ethan and Ari, my husband and I love each other very much, but don’t share all the same interests and perspectives on things. Though he humors me and reads most of my blog posts these days (after years of my asking and encouraging him to), I know they don’t do much for him. But I get that it isn’t personal, he isn’t a big reader to begin with and the topics I write about most of the time are ones that don’t resonate as much with him. So I have learned to find my validation for my creative side in other places/from other people.

When my husband does complement my writing now and then, it certainly means a lot, but I am okay with it (most of the time) now when he doesn’t. There are so many wonderful things about him, as my husband, my best friend, and the father of our children, that make up for his lack of interest in some of the things I am passionate about. Likewise, I know that I am not everything he hoped and dreamed for in a wife and mother to his children. So we make it work and appreciate that we can’t, nor should we try, to be everything to each other.

Question 3: Do you consider this book a “modern fairytale” in that the story ends with a “happily ever after”? I have friends in real life who, like Arianna, isolated themselves in plain sight, by taking on too much work, managed to avoid real talks with anyone, and hid from the decisions they needed to make. Arianna was lucky, because she was close to losing Ethan, but did not in the end. In real life, the three (somehow) similar stories I know ended up quite differently, and the happily ever after is still to make its appearance.

That is a great question! I guess it is a sort of modern fairytale. It reminds me some of the movie Reality Bites, as I believe the ending is fairly realistic. I thought for sure Reality Bites was going to end one way, which I felt was the more romantic and Hollywood ending. But it didn’t. I feel that the ending of Apart at the Seams was actually fairly realistic, in terms of what would happen to/for most people in similar situations in their lives. I get that in the real world people do have affairs (emotional and/or physical) and sometimes run off/end up with someone else. But I also know of many couples who have survived rocky patches in their relationships and are still part of strong, happy, and healthy marriages.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on Apart at the Seams and my answers to the questions I chose to answer for the book tour. I look forward to your comments. Please return to the main post to read more opinions on Melissa Ford’s Apart at the Seams.

To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list at LavenderLuz.com.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bronwyn Joy September 8, 2014 at 10:29 am

Definitely a more realistic ending than some – I liked that. I hadn’t seen the connection to Reality Bites, but I’m seeing it now.
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2 Lori Lavender Luz September 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Oh, goodness, how I love talking books with you. We have quite a history of this, don’t we? I really like reading your answers.

I’m so like you when it comes to finishing a season of a TV show. The characters have become real to me and for days after the ending I’m wondering how they are. It’s like their essences are still with me, even though they were fictional! Great writers like Mel can make magic like that.

And I agree with you that it’s healthy for partners to not expect the other to be everything, to meet all needs. That’s different from what I grew up expecting (I wasn’t very grown up when we married) and so sometimes, it does seem like reality bites.

So so so glad you joined the tour, Kathy <3.
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3 Mel September 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I sometimes think that the best relationships are the ones where the two people complement rather than match each other. Sure, you can also bump heads if you miss the part where you’re bringing out the best in each other with your individual strengths, but when it works, it works.

I love that you brought up Reality Bites! It has been so many years since I saw that movie. Now I want to watch it again.

Thank you for not only reading the book but for participating in the tour, too.
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4 Mina September 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

I too think this is a modern fairy tale. Arianna learns a lot about herself through living together with Ethan (very important milestone for every relationship), having an unexpected emotional affaire, and having to face her life, her desires and her heart when she has to deal with the permanence and harsh reality brought on by her mum’s cancer. Ethan does love her, and waits for her, which in the end is what counts the most. One can be taught how to load a dishwasher and tidy up after oneself, one cannot be taught how to love. And I think Arianna loves him back, she just does not realise it and lets her “I said I would never marry” stance get in the way of her commitment.
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