Book Notes: The Wife Between Us

This is so weird. This novel is identical to the one I just finished and wrote about in the previous book notes. Both books are co-authored by two women (two different pairs of women, that is) and the plot is exactly the same. And I don’t mean it’s the same in the sense that nobody can invent a really new plot anymore. I mean it’s identical.

A very rich man marries a wide-eyed ingenue who soon discovers he is controlling and abusive. She goes out of her head with boredom in her luxurious and isolated mansion in the suburbs and concocts a plan to make the husband leave her by finding another woman for him to marry instead. But the replacement bride the wife finds turns out to have a secret plan of her own.

I didn’t buy the books on recommendation from an Amazon algorithm or anything like that, so it’s got to be just a coincidence. But it’s still weird. And quite tiresome.

The Most Popular

I have finally found a way to enjoy The New York Times. The paper has turned into such a pathetic propaganda outlet recently that it’s impossible to read.

But I found a way to enjoy the paper still. In my app, I go straight to the “Most Popular” articles. This is what people really read, and the unhinged political blethering is at a minimum there. The articles that the readers prefer are on parenting, travel, health, science, cooking, shopping, exercise, productivity – everything that constitutes a normal life. The disconnect between the most popular articles and the front page or opinion page is enormous.

Dr Phil and the Dogma

There was a show on Dr Phil last week featuring a black girl who is extremely and viciously racist. She has decided that she is white and wants to join the KKK. The family is understandably devastated. It soon became clear that the girl is traumatized by the death of her Dad and the racist persona is a reaction to her grief.

But the funny thing was how nobody on the show dared to tell the girl that race isn’t something you can choose. The poor Dr Phil was contorting himself into all sorts of bizarre shapes with his meek and confused, “Of course, you can choose to be white because everybody has the right to choose their identity but. . . erm. . . but. . . uhm. . .”

It’s not OK to contradict the Dogma. And the Dogma is that biology doesn’t exist and anybody can choose their sex or race or ethnicity, and anybody who contradicts this is the bigotedest bigot of the most bigoted bigots. All this progressive blethering did was confuse the poor unwell child even further but the Dogma is more important than that, obviously.

Sudden Literalists

It’s really silly for people to shriek “but it’s not in the Constitution!” at this point in time. Abortion and gay marriage are not in the Constitution, and it took some very inventive arguing to pretend that they are and that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t have died of horror when presented with either concept.

But it’s still a fantastic thing that these inventive arguments were made and we now have these really wonderful things as a result. We are the side that’s all about “oh, it’s ok to see in the Constitution what’s clearly not there because it’s a living breathing document that should change in the direction that the times demand.” What were the chances that nobody else would want to adopt this argument the moment it was convenient?

I missed all the news yesterday and then woke up to a bunch of scandalized, prissy voices in my feed that have suddenly discovered a profound respect for the literal interpretation of the Constitution.

Why Are You So Tired?

So I had a full day of work with three hours of office hours and then class, raced home, cut out and glued all pieces of the trunk-or-treat design, raced to the school, picked Klara up, took her out to dinner, brought her back to school, decorated the car while making sure that Klara didn’t wander off into the candy-dispensing crowd, then convinced her to leave the happy candy-dispensing place early because it was her bedtime, took apart the design, raced home, and finally put her to bed after two books and a long story about a zombie and a crocodile.

Now a question for everybody: which question is it not a good idea to ask me tonight?

Great Ideas

More experienced parents brought other things than candy. One genius mom, for instance, brought bottles of water. Everybody loved her for it. Another mom brought bead necklaces and bracelets.

This is what I’ll do next time because one gets tired of all the candy.

Tomorrow we will be trick-or-treating, and on Wednesday there’ll be a parade and a school party.

Really Creepy

The creepiest thing I have seen on any Halloween is the design one family created today.

They made an elaborate design that just drew you in, wanting to see it in more detail. Part of the design was a cage decorated with skeletons. And they put a severely disabled kid inside the cage. Which at first you don’t understand and think you are gaping at a doll or something. Because the kid is quadriplegic and not aware of the surroundings.

I understand that they want to include the kid, and that’s great. But I now feel horrible because I stood right in front of the cage and exclaimed, “Look, Klara, this is a really spooky monster!” Because I had no idea there was a kid inside. Again, I realize it’s not about me but I feel kind of horrible.

Sam’s Has a Stupid Idea

So instead of cashiers checking out items, Sam’s Club wants to introduce a model where you scan each item with your phone as you pick it up and then pay with the phone, as well. Which will make it impossible to shop with kids because while your nose is stuck in your phone, your toddler is galloping across the maze-like store, making you freak out every five seconds that you won’t be able to locate her before she pitches a mega tantrum, tears into a pack of candy, or collapses a stack of doll houses on herself.

About the worst thing you can do while you shop at Sam’s is take your eyes off your kid for longer than a second. The other day I saw a mom of three, and every one of her kids sprinted in a different direction the moment they came in. The last thing she wanted to be doing was futz with her phone. I only shop with one kid but I need to train for it like a marathoner.

Thank you so much for coming up with a way to make my shopping even harder, Sam’s.