Book: The House
Author: Anjuelle Floyd
Publisher: NOJ Publications/October 2010
Category: African-American Fiction/Women’s Mainstream Fiction
Description of The House
On receiving the very thing she wants—a divorce and the power to sell their house—over which they have fought the past year—Anna Manning learns that Edward, her soon-to-be ex-husband is dying from cancer.
A faithful wife for three decades, and stay-at-home mother of four children, Anna endured Edward’s constant absence due to travel for his international real estate firm and numerous extra-marital affairs. With their children now adults, Edward has less than six months, possibly three, to live.
Anna takes him home to die in the house she has fought so vigorously to sell. But letting go of someone who has caused so much pain in your life doesn’t come easily. Edward has changed. There are Anna and Edward’s four children, three of whom who are married and struggling to endow their families with meaning and purpose.
There is also Inman who loves Anna, and gives the one thing Edward denied her—passion and intimacy. And lastly there is Anna. An art history major turned wife and mother out of college, she had planned on divorcing Edward and with her proceeds from the sale of the house move to France. Anna would visit and study the works in Europe’s famous museums—perhaps work as a docent in one.
News of Edward’s terminal illness provokes her to understand the present, rooted in a wellspring of the past and pouring into a future without him.
The House shows what happens when one adopts the belief that: All hold regret and are seeking forgiveness. Our salvation rests in the hands of others—most particularly the ones we love, and who have treated us wrongly.
My Thoughts on The House
My parents separated when I was in high school, and divorced my freshman year in college. Although I have an older brother, I have 3 younger sisters as well. I think they were more affected by my parent’s divorce since they were younger.
However, in this story, it’s the adult children who have a difficult time with their parents’ divorce. The divorce affects their relationship with their parents, for most of the children have chosen sides, it affects their relationship with each other, partly because of the sides they’ve chosen, and it affects their relationship with their significant others.
I was very surprised to see this reaction from adult children. I really was. I guess I just didn’t realize how much a divorce affects everyone. Most of all, I was extremely surprised that a woman, who has been trying so hard to get a divorce and move on with her life, would decide on the day her husband grants her wishes, to bring him back into the family house to take care of him after so many years of mistreatment.
I’ve never been married, but I can’t imagine that I would be so caring, and forgiving. Seriously. In addition to the fact that Anna brings home her husband, Edward, she still must deal with the fragile emotions of her children, who are now blaming her for their father’s illness.
The family dynamics in this story are so interesting, and truthfully, so real. All of the children have completely different viewpoints and opinions on their parents’ relationship, the causes of their parents’ breakup, and they all react differently. It was unexpected.
It made me realize how much attachment a family has to the house they grew up in. I don’t know many people who grew up in the same house from infancy until the end of their school years, although my grandparents houses on both sides are still in the family. And while I’ve got memories, both good and bad, of things, small and large, which occurred in those houses, it still never occurred to me the significance attached to the family home.
I enjoyed this book. I was hooked from the first chapter. I can actually feel the emotions of each of the characters, especially their bitterness, anger, and pain. Reading this book was almost like being right there. The author brought me right into their lives. She made me want to know some of the characters more – to determine what makes them tick. Others, I wanted no parts of, and wouldn’t have chosen for friends.
I look forward to reading more from this author.
Anjuelle Floyd is a wife of twenty-eight years, mother of three, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in mother-daughter relations and dream work.
A graduate of Duke University, she received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. She has attended the Dominican Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers’ Week and The Voices of Our Nations Writing Workshops.
A student of Process Painting for the last decade, Anjuelle has participated in The Art of Living Black Exhibitions 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 held at the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California.
Anjuelle facilitates writing groups and provides individual consultation of fiction projects. She also gives talks on The Need for Family, the Writing Process as a Path Toward Self-discovery and Healing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a book review. The opinions are 100% mine.