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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Book Tour #9: The Jane Austen Book Club

Ok, another stop on the book tour. This is what we call a "pepper" book. Which means it has nothing at all to do with infertility, and it's a nice change of pace. Here are the questions that I choose to answer.

Allegra is described as "liking being an aunt. That it offered all the kid time she needed. Probably. All she wanted mostly." If you don't have your own children, but are an aunt how important is that role to you and, what special rewards does it offer?
I have children, but this question immediately made me think about my sister. She doesn't currently have any kids of her own, but she does have these 2 little twins that she treats like her own. I knew that my sister would love my kids when I had them. That wasn't really a question. But I don't think even I truly understood exactly what they would mean to her. She is over my house more than any other person. She lives one mile down the road, so it's convenient. But take for example today, Eric and I wanted to go see Cloverfield. So did my sister's husband. So Chrissy came over to watch the kids and we all went to the movies. The funniest part about it was when my mom called and said "I would have come and watched them so Chrissy could go to the movies too". But she didn't want to go. She wanted to spend time with my kids. She buys them stuff all the time. She showers them with love. She has worked from home 1 day a week to help us during our day care crisis to take care of them. I feel so blessed knowing that when my kids are with her, they are with someone that loves them just as much as I do. My sister makes the best parent to my kids, and I feel beyond lucky to have her in my life, and theirs.

What are your thoughts on happiness? Do you think that our happiness in life is mostly luck? Do we have some control over how happy we are?
My whole life has been driven by the desire to be happy. I don't think that happiness is luck. I think you make your happiness. I fought so hard for my husband. It's a really long story, but I saw every bit of happiness in front of me, everything I had ever wanted in another person, my best friend in the world. I saw my happily ever after, but it wasn't mine. He was with someone else. Unhappily, and not married. Just dating (I'm not a homewrecker! hehe). So I told him how I felt about him, and left the ball in his court. And he did some soul searching, and he decided that I was his happiness too. It was ugly for a little while on both of our parts, as I had just come out of a long relationship too. But we knew what would make us happy, and what wouldn't and we fought for it. Now as a married couple for 4 years, we work hard at maintaining that happiness. It hasn't really been that hard. He truly is my best friend, and I can't imagine not being happy with him.

Bernadette asks that the club be made up of women only: "The dynamic changes with men. They pontificate rather than communicate. They talk more than their share." What differences did having a man bring to the group? If you have close male friends, how do they differ in relating to your infertility/everyday struggles?
I think men bring a completely different perspective. For the most part, all my close friends in college were men. That was partly due to my major (Computer Science). There weren't a lot of girls to begin with. And it just turned out that the people I had the most in common with were guys. I had girlfriends from home, and I definitely got different perspectives on things from guys versus girls. And a lot less drama with guys. There weren't a lot of males I discussed my infertility with. My husband obviously, and maybe a few couples here and there. But most of my friends were understanding and supportive. I didn't really get a different male perspective.

The author writes in an off-handed way something I imagine would be highly insulting to gay people ..."there would certainly be something challenging in a genetic code that made you gay but left your reproductive urge fully functional." I know gay people who have a strong urge to parent and have gone on to do so with more care than many self-absorbed heterosexuals.
I read this kinda differently than the person who posed this question did. I read it more as a kind of empathy. A gay couple can not make a biological child together, but just because you are gay doesn't mean you don't have the DESIRE to be a parent. And that's a challenging situation. But that's just how I read it. I truly feel that a gay couple can parent just as well as a heterosexual couple. I think homosexual couples should persue fertility treatments, adoption, surragacy, etc. Whatever it takes to complete your family. I feel in no way that your sexual preference is a determining factor in being a parent.

Did you find the allusions to the various Austen books distracting or helpful in understanding the characters in the book? Were there enough similarities to Austin's characters for you to distinguish who was who (i.e. Jocelyn = Emma)?
I did, only because I have never read a Jane Austin book! I must admit that I am interested now, and I will probably get a few of her books. But for me, I must admit that it was distracting, because I had no idea what the characters were talking about.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Jane Austen Book Club? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #10 (Embryo Culture by Beth Kohl with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

10 comments:

loribeth said...

Thanks for all your observations. I'm sure someday you will enjoy returning the babysitting favour to your sister! ; )

The Town Criers said...

I loved the stories about your sister and how you came together with your husband. Especially the idea that we do create our own happiness sometimes.

Delenn said...

Great answers!

Andie said...

It's wonderful that your sister has such a great relationship with your children. I love that photo of them, so cute!

Pamela Jeanne said...

What a beautiful story about your sister. I'm so glad you're willing to share them so openly and with such love. The twins will benefit in so many ways seeing the wonderful relationship you have ...

Do spend some time reading the real Jane. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! (Thanks, too, for your comment on my thoughts concerning the book).

Anonymous said...

I should know never to read your blog while I'm at work because I started crying at my desk. I'm so luck to have you as my sister and to be blessed with my beautiful niece and nephew. I love them more than words can say and I get such an overwhelming feeling of joy just being near them. They always bring a smile to my face and brighten my day!

Keeping The Faith said...

I've decided to give the book club a try. I just ordered the Tour 12 book: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. So...that's like three books down the road but I'm hoping that will give me plenty of time to read it. Usually I'm a quick reader and love to read but I haven't looked at anything other than a baby book or a magazine since my twins were born. So I look forward to a change :-)

-Faith

JD said...

You have always been such a great writer. I could almost hear your voice and see your expressions...I need to "tune in" to your blog more often!

Ms. Infertile said...

Thanks for sharing your stories about your sister and your husband. You are lucky to live so close to your sister - makes me miss mine even more.
I do think that some of our happiness can come from working at it.

Chalsie said...

People should read this.