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Next to Love
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Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Created: 04/30/12

Replies: 19

Posted Apr. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

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Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

In an era that regarded misfortune as something to be ashamed of and silent suffering as a virtue, all three women keep secrets from husbands, children, and one another. Our own era believes in openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace. Do you think Babe, Grace, and Millie would have had an easier time of it if they had shared their problems and unhappiness?


Posted May. 01, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

When I think of some people I know who were born in the era in which this book takes place I can see a great difference in the way they hold things in than most seem to do today. A few are embarrassed to even say words like "alcohol," and definitely anything related to sex. I personally think it's a great thing there are less stigmas in today's society, that people are able to admit to seeing therapists without such a feeling of shame. For me, I enjoy the greater freedom we have today, to talk more openly.

Thoughts?


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mollyb

Join Date: 05/02/12

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RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Absolutely, as long as they opened up to people whom they trusted and who would hold their confidences tightly. Speaking something out loud forces you to really think about it first, or if you don't, your good friends can help you process it to figure out what you truly do think about it. It's not always so easy to understand what it really going on, and assistance from trustworthy friends who have your best interests at heart, usually helps the process.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

In addition to speaking about problems out loud I find writing them out in a journal is a great way to work things out for myself. The only problem is I worry who'll find and read the journal, just as you have to be careful to whom you reach out verbally, if they'll tell someone else and it will go on from there.

I'm torn between destroying my personal journals and keeping them for posterity. Maybe I'll have to edit them if I have time...


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
ritaq

Join Date: 01/20/12

Posts: 3

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Absolutely, they would have had a much easier time in sharing their problems and openly discussing them. Thank God we are not only allowed, but encouraged to do so today. I have three daughters and have encouraged them to always be open, especially with me. We are extremely close. In my own personal experience, openness has made me stronger and helped me to get through some tough times. Too bad these women couldn't seek therapy at the very least, even if they couldn't confide in each other.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathrynk

Join Date: 05/21/11

Posts: 31

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

I too encouraged my kids to feel free to tell me anything. Some times it was hard to not react to what I was hearing rather than respond! It was well worth it because as adults they still feel free to talk to me about almost anything! As teenagers, even some of their friends would come around knowing I would hear them out and answer their questions without being judgemental. I think women today are generally more open in sharing but at the same time they are under tremendous pressures to be the superwoman -- much more so than in days past. In those days there weren't the counselors there are today -- and not a whole library of self help books either!


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BarbW

Join Date: 04/09/11

Posts: 13

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Even now, my mother, who was a child during the era of this book, has a hard time talking about things that trouble her or asking for help. I'm sure a lot of her reticence is due to the way she was raised, the attitude that "we keep our problems to ourselves." Some of that was probably due to that belief, but I also think they were aware that everyone else had problems too, so why add to their burden?


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

KathrynK,

There are so many self help books out there it's overwhelming! Every time I turn my back it seems they multiply. I went through a phase in which I became addicted to them, then I realized most of them have the same basic messages, just phrased in different ways.

If such books had been available to people living during the time of the setting of this book I wonder if they'd have been too embarrassed to buy them? Likewise, therapy wasn't prevalent at the time, either. I can't imagine the stigma, especially in a small town. It probably wouldn't be used until/unless the person completely lost it, then was sent to some sort of facility.

These days it seems almost nothing is taboo. Look at all the "tell-all" memoirs being written, and unauthorized biographies. Then, the tabloids. I don't necessarily believe this aspect of our open society is all that great but I suppose we can choose to look away and not read things. It's just so disconcerting how the public believes nothing is off limits anymore. These two ages of history could hardly be more different.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

To add to Lisa's comment about self-help books. It always stuns me to look at the charts of top selling books published by Publishers Weekly each year (the leading publishing industry mag in the USA) to see the enormous sales of self-help books. To be honest, I find it a rather cynical business - especially after having a conversation with a self-help publisher a few years back who explained that they have their books on a roughly 3 year cycle - where basically they can repackage the same ideas in a different format about once every three years and, on the whole, sell it to the same audience who bought the previous books.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
katf

Join Date: 03/14/12

Posts: 2

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

I know people buy the self-help books, but do they read them or follow the advise? Considering the state of our society, I hardly think so.

The women each had their own issues, heavy duty issues and I don't think any of them were realy qualifited or equipped to help the other.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BamaCarol

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 29

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Maybe I am in the minority, but I feel like there is a little too much sharing of problems these days. Don't get me wrong, there are a few select people that I feel like I can share my problems with but to me it seems like some folks are oversharing. And I am not sure it is a 'cure' or solace to them once they realise that their problems are widely known. Since each woman in the book seemed so focused on her own life and problems, I'm not sure they would have been in a condition to help the others.


Posted May. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sarahw

Join Date: 05/14/12

Posts: 3

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

I agree with irtaq in that the women would have had a much easier time had they shared their secrets and discussed them. I am of the opinion that in every age there is comfort in sharing with a close friend. That could certainly have made life easier for the women. My daughters and I discuss our problems. They discuss with each other. All of that sharing has helped us come to closure for some problems with which they are dealing. sarahw


Posted May. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

I have always believed talking about a problem is one of the solutions. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a good friend you can talk to. I am lucky as I still have my friends from high school (from many, many years ago). This is especially true as you get older.

raynat


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted May. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

I think a journal is also a wonderful idea as suggested by another member. I keep several on different topics. I do them in my computer and I'm the only one using it.

raynat


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted May. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dlpiano

Join Date: 08/14/11

Posts: 15

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

There were SO many rules to follow on what was right and what was wrong. What if you spilled your heart out to someone and they in turn repeated it? In the era of this book it could have caused even more problems. Even a little slip of the tongue could get you in trouble (think of the pond incident and the black child protesting) The safest bet to me would have been as suggested -keeping a journal.


Posted May. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mollyb

Join Date: 05/02/12

Posts: 4

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Keeping a journal - good idea, except the privacy issue. How do you really keep it safe? And what happens when you die? OMG - fun and fascinating for the kids, but how embarrassing! Once I started considering that, I quit being quite so graphic in my journal. As soon as you commit your thoughts to words, whether they be written in your journal or spoken to a friend, you are at risk. The best thing may be to really think through the issue until you get to the point where you know it's your truth, or at least your unknowns are intelligent ones, so you can be proud of what is read or repeated; then it may not matter who else knows it. Fortunately, we live in an era where honesty and self-examination is encouraged. But for me, I'd rather get as far as I can on my own first, before airing.

And as for self help books, Davina's enlightening comment the 3 year cycle for those kind of books...yuk. Makes sense to me. It's mostly smarm anyway. We are perfectly capable of helping ourselves through reflection, meditation and allies.


Posted May. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

I forgot I had one more comment about journals. I am trying to write a condensed version of my life so my children will have some insight into my childhood. I never got to ask my parents anything and now they are gone.

raynat


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted May. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
malindan

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 34

RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Personally I think that there is a happy medium between the "oppenness" of today and the silence of a few generations ago. Sometimes having a stiff upper lip isn't so bad. People need to learn to live with adversity...most of the world does! However, there should always be at least one person in someone's life that they can share almost anything with...whether it be a mother, sister or friend. To be alone in a tough marriage must be unbearable. I also think that it is important to point out that many people don't share their problems with anyone. There are many "picture perfect" families that are really just normal families with basic problems. If people worked as hard as Babe did to save their marriage today I'm not so sure that it would be a bad thing!


Posted May. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 116

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RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

It looks like BamaCarol and I are in the minority but I do agree with her in that I feel there is sometimes too much sharing going on. I trained as a therapist and after all the time I spent in Iraq I came back to the US and there was no one here that could really relate to my experiences. (I was civilian working with the US military and Iraqi military.) But I grew up in a society where you kept your problems to yourself and that made me strong. I have been able to handle it. I also worked ten years as a crisis counselor so I know the value of being able to talk about your problems. If more people had really good friends a lot of therapists would be out of work. But I feel there needs to be common sense used -- knowing when to share things with your best friends and rely on them versus airing it all on Maury or Jerry Springer. I'm not sure some people today know where that boundary lies.


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: Our era considers openness as a cure, or at least a form of solace; but in the era of the book, silent suffering was seen as a virtue. Do you think the women would have had an easier time if they'd shared their problems?

Having just yesterday posted on my personal journey through deep, bipolar 2 depression, it's so obvious how different things are today. How isolating things would have been in the period of the novel. Sad, really.


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