52 Books: Book 43


For the last several years I have been reading the blog Mabel’s House by Elizabeth Owen. It is witty and funny and very real to life. Better yet, I know Liz and her husband, Matt, personally from college and somehow that makes her stories even better.

Her posts about dissatisfaction with life and the need to grow up resonated with me. As did her thoughts on not being ready to become a mom {which she finally plunged into last year after almost a decade of marriage}. I relate all too well.

When I found out she was writing a book, I jumped on board and pre-ordered my copy as soon as I could. A few weeks ago that book arrived on my door step and I couldn’t wait to dive in. As usual, Liz’s style of writing did not disappoint.

My (not so) Storybook Life is broken into 14 chapters that take us into the world of marital bliss {that prove to not always be so blissful, as is often the case}. The book also shares Liz’s personal journey of the loss of a friend to cancer. While Liz could have chosen to run away from her problems or write her story in a cynical way, she chooses instead to be grateful for all of the moments that make up her life, even when things don’t turn out the way she thinks they should.

One unexpected twist in this book is Liz’s introduction to each chapter. She takes literary characters that we grew up with and weaves modern-day scenarios of what those characters would be up to in their ever after {the parts that don’t always go so happily}. If you are a lover of literature and are curious about what Anne and Gilbert; Scarlett and Rhett; Marianne and Colonel Brandon or the March Sisters are up, you cannot miss out on this book. Just be prepared to both laugh and to cry.

Excerpts from the book: 
It’s often said that people resemble their pets, or vice versa. If I were a vain woman I would deny this fact to the death since Mabel desperately needs a diet for her rotund backside and a daily regime of anti-anxiety medication. But denying our similarities would do no good in light of the fact that she and I are doggy-human soul mates.

As long as I didn’t pray about the big things, I avoided being disappointed in God… When you kneel before God and pray, you admit your helplessness. You admit that there’s nothing you can do about a situation. And in praying, you admit that God is really up there. You concede He’s really listening. And that, my friends, is no small revelation.

I relayed my frustration to my mother.

“Do you know what I did yesterday? I’ll tell you. I worked eight hours, got stuck behind a wreck on the river bridges, got home an hour and a half later, threw sticks with Mabel and got a splinter, changed the sheets on the bed because they feel gritty, ate a bowl of cereal, balanced the checkbook, cried, weighed myself, cried again, and finally passed out on the couch. Of course my toilets are dirty! Of course we eat takeout! Of course my baseboards are dusty! How can I possibly be expected to do all this?”

Mother watched me placidly, paintbrush in hand. Slowly she began to shake her head. “Who cares? I raised my daughters to be creative and happy, not disinfecting, baseboard washing experts…”

“I had so much time before, so many possibilities stretching endlessly ahead of me. But it’s not endless. This all has an expiration date.”
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