Another movie to add to the Halllmark or Lifetime channel – this was the general consensus from our discussion last week about A Better Man by Leah McLaren. We had mixed reviews in terms of enjoyment and take-a-ways for the pick this month – from it was too predictable, to the symbolism was weak, to we have seen this happen in real life. To me, I felt like it was a quick beach read with a few themes we could parse out as young adults in a small town – some of us in marriages, others in some kind of relationship, and others doing their own thing. It did seem that those who were married for a longer amount of time stepped back towards the beginning of the conversation to gauge how us early in a relationship thought about Maya and Nick’s marriage. Their opinions were greatly valued and brought us to a different level of figuring out how the Wakefields worked as a couple.
We spent quite a bit of time discussing the idea of “Fake it til you make it”. If Nick was genuinely trying to be a better man in the marriage, or anyone for that matter, does investing in “faking it” make it ok? Can people change with this thought of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It is my sincerest hope that that is so, however it is disheartening that the main reason divorce rates have declined is because so many people now are choosing not to get married. For a hopeless romantic like me, that is pretty scary but also the reality that maybe just living together in a committed relationship is the new norm and expectation.
Switching the roles to Maya, our group brought up the concept of the relationship checklist – married by ‘x’ age, 2 kids, white picket fence, healthy lifestyle, stay-at-home-mom. It almost seems that we are always waiting for the next thing on our own lists and not enjoying what we have in the present. There were several times where I thought Maya could see through Nick’s bs of becoming a better man (especially being a lawyer before quitting to take care of the twins), but love (or the desire for it) can be a smokescreen – each action Nick takes is a quick-fix, a band-aid per se for the real problem.
Relationships were the main theme of discussion, in addition to the odd symbols of a slain lion (which the symbolism we were unable to grasp) as well as detailed imagery and content that did not add much to the story – more like unnecessary filler or distractions. Although we did discuss them so maybe that was the point 😉 Certainly a different approach from our last two book clubs (where death was the main theme – we joked that with this book it was a ‘death’ of a marriage).
Here’s to our next book club selection, It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell!