Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 169 - Remember the Sweet Things

Remember the Sweet Things
Ellen Greene


Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis: [from harpercollins.com]

For twenty years, Ellen Greene kept a running list of the thoughtful, funny, touching things that her husband, Marsh, said and did. She wrote them down secretly, then shared those thoughts with him every Valentine's Day when he would find pages from her "Sweet Things List" tucked inside a card.

Married and divorced at a young age, Greene raised two small children alone. After another failed relationship in her late thirties, she swore she'd never again subject herself or her kids to men who treated them poorly. Then she met Marsh Greene.

In this beautiful tribute to a man and a marriage, Greene intersperses selections from her "Sweet Things List" with recollections from their years together. Written with grace and candor, Remember the Sweet Things captures the kindness, sharing, humor, and affection that defined the Greenes' marriage, and encourages us to acknowledge the goodness in our own lives and relationships.

Review:

I won this book for a Valentine's Day giveaway from the lovely ladies over at the Book Binge. And for a little background info: at the time I was with someone that was my other half. He wasn't really into reading when I met him, but my love for books somehow got to him and we would read together every chance we got. So I was super excited to win this book and hopefully find the time to read it with him.

Sadly the book arrived in early March and my other half and I were no longer together. I didn't have the heart to pick the book up after that. It was in fact, broken. It still is, 3 months later, but I got the nerve to open the book about a week ago. I'm so glad I did. Ellen's story is filled with so much love and compassion that it truly touched me. Sorry for all that personal information. I just wanted to express that even though the memories the story invoked for me were painful, they were still heartful and welcoming.

"Remember the Sweet Things" is really a list that Ellen started when she first married her husband. Marsh didn't do extraordinarily sweet things on a daily basis, but Ellen found most things he did were in fact endearing and sweet enough to jot down. Each year she would then share her list in a Valentine's Day Card for Marsh to read.
The book then goes into detail about Ellen's life before Marsh, how the two met, their marriage, and life after "happily ever after". It is obvious that Ellen loved her husband deeply and while reading along I could easily see why. Not necessarily my type of guy, Marsh was still a man to love and admire. I know I came to care about him and his personality. It was like watching an adventure unfold as Ellen re-told her story of a truly loving marriage, filled with both ups and downs.

Ellen included many excerpts from her "Sweet Things" list at the end of each chapter and I wanted to share a few in hopes of generating some smiles from you all:
  • Getting home from his trip to Eastern Europe and recounting his frustration with delays on the last leg because "they cut into my time with my wife". (87)

  • His response to his best friends calling him pussy whipped: "I know. I like it." (88)

  • Coming home with a rose and a sweet note, after I'd told him about my hard time with my hard time with my boss. (89)

  • The excitement of his home leave after two months and meeting him at Logan; people smiling at a sixty-year-old man and a forty-five-year-old woman flying into each other's arms and kissing with abandon. (120)

  • A vacation in Bali; Jennifer's disappointment at not finding a nice shell on the beach; his buying one and planting it for her to "find". (121)

  • Opening the last peanut or spreading the last cracker or dipping the last chip, and always offering it to me. (191)

  • On his hands and knees, next to the pool with Lola, his face in the water, demonstrating how to bob for the tennis balls she'd lost there. (225)
  • My torn knee ligaments on the mend after a fall on the street; his impatience with me when I tried to help myself: "Call me!" "I'll do that!" "Go sit down!" (226)

  • Telling me that he considers it a little gift each time that he wakes up and finds himself being held by me." (251)

As you can see, most of what Marsh does is small, sweet, and kind every day things that I'm sure many men (and women) do for their significant others. Reading through them made me think of my other half and how much I miss the little things he did for me. However painful it may be for me I can always hope that I still have a shot for my "happily ever after". I highly recommend giving this beautiful book a try.


3 comments:

Lenore said...

Wishing you find your happy ever after guy soon :)

Teddyree said...

Thanks for sharing, this wouldn't be a book I would normally choose but I loved your review so much that I'm adding Remember the Sweet Things to my wishlist

ann marie said...

After reading your review, how can I not pass up adding this book to my list.
Sorry to hear about your breakup, but your HEA is waiting for you, let fate handle it.
Have a good week. :)

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