Wednesday, April 07, 2010
The Heights by Peter Hedges (Spoiler Alert!)
I like how Tim becomes a stay at home dad who tries to blend in with the other parents and gives them all names like, “Mom with Moxie” and “Bearded Mom” and one dad who he simply calls “The Weasel.” (I do that in my head at my husband's church, but my husband gets mad about it when I tell him.) I wonder about the other moms in the story, how they would speak about Tim and their lives.
By reading stories like this, I find that I can relate to my own life better. I am isolated and don’t relate to other women or the pecking order, so reading about these characters that I can relate to helps me see myself better and understand the motivations of others. Like Kate, I have taken the kids outside to trudge through the snow only to realize that I forgot to zip up my jacket and get myself ready to be out in the cold. I can sadly see myself leaving a phone bill for my husband to “deal with this!” and to talk to him about our children taking their first poop in the toilet and not flushing until he gets home. Sadly, I can also relate to utter boredom that they both experience in their marriage.
Tim did what I have done—he blundered at a costume party. Only in Tim’s case, he forgot the costumes that Kate had made, and in my case, I forgot the costumes that I had made! Like me, Tim procrastinates. I know his professors who get impatient with him.
Is this story good? Yes. It was worth the $20.00 that I paid for the book. I underlined bunches of phrases that I have worked into my own work and FaceBook status reports. It’s great because for the most part, I personally can relate to most of the characters. Based on what I have read of Hedges, he knows people like the super rich who add flavor to the book, but he doesn’t develop them. Am I so far out of touch that I’d never be able to relate to them if he did? They don'tneed developed characters because the book was not really about them—they were supporting characters who threw in the temptations for Kate and Tim. They were predators and as it should be in a book like this, Tim and Kate were the prey. They fall, but they get back up.