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Monday, February 16, 2015

Dept. of Speculation: A Novel

Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation had been on my radar all year, but there were these pesky library fines I had to pay before I could request new books. It's a long story involving an involuntary move. But good news, folks--I finally got it!

Life is what happens when you aren't paying attention. Marriage is harder than it looks. As the wife watches her marriage crumble and her husband admits he is having an affair, her world collapses around her. It was all so wonderful--what happened? The once sent love letters to each other postmarked Dept. of Speculation, as what on earth is ever the truth? Was the marriage real? Was it the child? The bedbugs? Or was it her?

This was a doozy of a book, and I mean that in a wonderful way. It was, in my opinion, well worthy of the hype it brought about in a literary community. It's the story of a divorce that has led to broken hearts and broken lives, and mostly they belong to the narrator. She's a writer, and a teacher, and the mother, and a wife – one who barely understands what has led her husband to find a new girlfriend. Sure, things were not perfect, but are they ever? What justifies a man straying from his marriage bed? Is it ever justifiable? As our protagonist reels from the pain, will she make decisions that will affect her forever, or will she be able to stand the pain? These are all questions that are explored through this book in a very upfront and honest way.

I really enjoyed this book, and I think it was because I enjoyed the relationships in the book as much land with the story. I would easily argue that the story is about the relationships, and it goes be on the relationship between husband and wife. It's also about the wife's relationship with her best friend, and her relationship that is never quite consummated with her husband's girlfriend. The scene where she just needs to speak with the girlfriend, rightfully so, made me angry for the wife, as I felt she had every reason to speak to the woman who willingly aided in breaking up her marriage. It's a raw tale for sure, but one worth reading.

For purchase below.

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