When It’s Not About You

by Abby on January 6, 2014

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane MoriartyIf you’re suffering from the post-holiday blues and feeling like your life is boring and predictable, have I got a book for you. By the time you finish The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty, you will be saying, “I take it back! Boring is good! I LOVE boring!”

Has anyone called Moriarty the Australian Maeve Binchy? Then I’m going to. She’s like a more modern, slightly edgier version of the beloved Irish author, with interesting casts of characters whose lives are interwoven, often unbeknownst to them. The Husband’s Secret is a compelling page-turner, even more so than the last book of Moriarty’s I read, What Alice Forgot. You can’t help but ask yourself, “What would *I* do in that situation?”

The novel also perfectly illustrates a realization I’ve been having over and over lately: you never know what other people are dealing with. Let me say that again: YOU never know what OTHER PEOPLE are dealing with.

You THINK you do, admit it. You send someone an email and don’t get a response and immediately start thinking, “What the heck? Are they mad at me? What did I do? I bet it’s because I didn’t donate to that 5k fundraiser they did last month…” Come on. We ALL do it.

But then has it ever happened that you find out later that person was
a) out of the country,
b) legitimately busy with a major life event like a move or a new job,
or c) dealing with some crisis, like a death in the family or a medical diagnosis?
I have. Many times. Cue the shame spiral. There I was, thinking it was about ME. When in fact, it had nothing to do with me at all.

What’s that saying? “You wouldn’t worry about what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they do”? It’s so true. We waste massive amounts of time and emotional energy imagining scenarios that AREN’T EVEN TRUE.

Not having your call or email returned, not being invited to an event, reading WAY too much into a comment or look – these are all things that have sent me and lots of people I know into a tailspin at one time or another. And most of the time, there is a perfectly legitimate explanation for the other person’s behavior.

But here’s the tricky part, and the thing that The Husband’s Secret spotlights: sometimes you discover that reason and sometimes you don’t. Oh, the party was only for classmates? You had my old cell phone number on file? You weren’t wearing your glasses? Ohhhh, OK. It all makes sense now.

But other times, you may never know what’s going on with someone when they don’t call you back/respond oddly to seemingly normal questions/ignore you in the parking lot. They could be dealing with a miscarriage, a divorce, a child’s learning disability, an aging parent, an alcoholic spouse, a lice infestation! You just don’t know. And yes, these are all real-life examples.

Hopefully, neither you nor anyone you know is facing the issues the characters in The Husband’s Secret are grappling with. But read it and tell me it doesn’t make you think, “You never know…”

What about you? Read anything good lately?

Disclosure: Posts about books may include affiliate links, which means that if you click to buy the book Amazon gives me like $0.02. So, hey, thanks in advance!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello January 6, 2014 at 7:27 am

You are so right, we never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. This also applies to being judgmental about how others live their lives. Why does someone get a divorce? Why doesn’t someone ever attend school functions? We don’t know and the older I get, the more I realize that we all have our own burdens to bear and my being judgmental is just plain wrong to do. I try lo live the Golden Rule as best as possible and especially as it applies to others’ situations….live and let live and treat others as you would want to be treated.


Viv January 6, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Well said, doll! I try to always give people the benefit of the doubt because you never know what someone else’s life is *really* like. But it’s a lesson continuously learned.


Angie Mizzell January 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm

So guilty of this… making things about me. And, it’s so freeing to let that go. I have to really check my motives… am I really concerned if the other person is okay, or am I simply concerned about why they weren’t nice to me? And your review is great. Totally worth more than 2 cents. 🙂


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