Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: IS THIS ALL THERE IS? By Patricia Mann (part 1)

1.       Do other women fantasize about living a different life?
2.       Do they passionately love and loathe their families at the same time?

These are the questions pacing around Beth’s mind. A mother and wife, she contemplates life, wondering why she’s not satisfied while growing bitter and despondent. 

Being the mother of a toddler is too much, exhausting, which is why she is a stress eater. Can you blame her? The “mommy” tasks (breast-feeding, school, baths, bedtime stories, etc.) are boring. How long did the reader have to endure this monotony?

Still, the reader feels for Beth. “I had three ever-present men sucking the life out of me.” (23) Do something!

Things start to heat up when Beth runs into former student, Dave. Oh, now we’re getting somewhere. The excitement of an affair is what Beth needed to resuscitate her flaccid body. Dave was smart, sensitive, and empathetic. I liked how he intellectually challenged Beth; it was not just physical, although he had a lot of that going on too. If she keeps seeing him, she will have an affair, and affairs are like drugs—once you start, you will want more and more and won’t be able to stop.

I liked the analytical aspects that unveiled the questions without answers. Is this all there is? Is this it? What is it that we want? It’s always a tough decision. Humans are just never satisfied.

 For Beth, it’s all about the guilt, paranoia, and remorse. She spends the bulk of the story drowning in all of it. Well, she is the one with everything to lose. Readers will put themselves in Beth’s shoes and ride out the guilt all the way to the end. At times, however, the guilt is tediously overbearing. Still, this is a well-written story with a mediocre ending.

My rating: 3.5 stars

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