Apart at the Seams

Welcome to my part of the Apart at the Seams book tour! I’ve never done this before so I hope I remember all the steps.

~::~

I loved reading this “sideways sequel”; in Measure of Love, there are multiple moments when it’s hard-to-impossible to know what Arianna is thinking or why she’s doing what she does – the reader is as mystified as Rachel is. So seeing the same series of events through Arianna’s eyes is hugely revealing. I also think I’m more like Arianna than like Rachel in personality, so in some ways I enjoyed this book the most of the trilogy. I adore the cover – the fact that it matches details in the book itself is really nice, and the yellow boots just pop wonderfully. 

~::~

Throughout the story, Arianna slowly develops a non-romantic relationship with a man named Noah. Although the two are attracted to each other, they maintain the status as friends due to Arianna already being in a relationship with Ethan. Arianna, along with myself as the reader, compares Noah to her boyfriend Ethan and it’s obvious that Noah and Arianna have much more in common. They both share the same views about marriage as well as the importance on advancing their own careers. Is it possible to nurture and maintain a platonic relationship between a man and a woman despite the attraction the two share?

Yes. I believe it is. Here’s why: while I don’t think we can or even should control how we feel about things, we have more control over how we think about things, and the most control over the actions we choose to take. An attraction is a feeling – it’s there whether you like it or not. But how you choose to act on it is up to you. I don’t know if Arianna crossed the line or not… Obviously Rachel thinks so, but does Ethan?

I do feel that the word “nurture” in there does make it tricky… how do you nurture a platonic relationship differently from a romantic one? And how do you know when you’ve crossed the line? And is actively nurturing a platonic relationship with someone you are attracted to, while in a committed relationship with someone else, simply a dangerous (to your relationship) thing to do?

I’ve been in this situation myself, so found this question very compelling to think about – and read about in the novel as well.

 

Marriage is one of the main themes in the story. Do you think it is possible for a couple to share a long-term domestic relationship without actually being officially married?  Why is our society so keen on the expectation of marriage in a romantic relationship despite the high divorce rates?

I think that humans in general have a hard time dealing with ambiguity. We want things to be crystal-clear and easy to mentally categorize. “Married” is a very clear category, legally, financially, and socially. The connection is unambiguous. In other cultural contexts, living together and especially raising children together is socially recognized as marriage, sometimes even legally (in Bolivia, after only three years a domestic partnership secures all the same legal protections as marriage).

There’s probably a commercial aspect to it as well that reinforces the social expectations – big weddings mean big bucks to some people.

 

About 7% of the way through the book, Arianna describes her reasons for choosing the safe career option rather than the fulfilling one, referencing her priorities in life and how they’ve changed and evolved. She says, “I’ve been working to support myself, but not really working to fulfill myself.” How have your priorities changed and evolved throughout your life so far? How do you see them changing and evolving over the next ten years? Can you tell us about the trade-offs you’ve made and are prepared to make?

When I was growing up, I never saw myself as having “a career,” or doing just one thing for the rest of my life. I’m not sure why. I always wanted to be a writer and/or a teacher, but then in college I became interested in community development work and that dramatically shifted my life direction. Looking back, I see that I have always swung between an academic life  and social service kinds of work. For me the biggest trade-offs, though, have been because of my marriage. Because of the ways in which we’ve negotiated our different goals and interests, we’ve ended moving between continents twice during my dissertation-writing which I think cost me about a year towards finishing each time. I’m not where I imagined I’d be when I started this doctoral program… which is ok. I actually love my job, love having lived in all these places with my husband and our children. I still sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t married him, where I’d be, what I’d be doing. 

In the book, I loved the glimpse into Arianna’s professional life and the world of high fashion. It was so fascinating, and something I’d never really thought about before – who does all the hand-sewing for haute couture gowns? I guess I imagined it was all sweatshopped out overseas. As an industry I know nothing about, I loved learning about that in this book.

 ~::~ 

 To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list at LavenderLuz.com.  

Advertisements

12 Responses to “Apart at the Seams”

  1. Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist Says:

    It was really fascinating to get a glimpse of the fashion industry (and I believe Mel worked hard on her research there, too).

    When we add others into the equation (partners/kids) life can definitely take some unexpected turns. I think it’s good to be ready to evolve based on the changing landscape. Sometimes you have to juggle your priorities, and to me there’s a lot in this book about that.

    But mostly I love your thoughts about platonic relationships. And the other thing is that a feeling or an attraction can be many things/for many reasons, and it’s not always clear what those things are at first. And then sometimes it’s true we could be happy with that person and it’s just about choosing – which doesn’t necessarily preclude a friendship either.

    I didn’t see a problem with her finding solace in someone who understood her creatively, and it seemed as if she didn’t have time to stop and properly unpack whether that was the full extent of it. She seemed to cut off the relationship “just in case” which I thought was a shame.

  2. Lori Lavender Luz Says:

    I really like the cover, too. I’m glad you pointed that out.

    And this is a great question, one that has me stroking my chin to answer: “how do you nurture a platonic relationship differently from a romantic one?” For me, it would be keeping things cerebral. You know, talking about books or current events or politics or work. And integrating that platonic relationship with my other romantic relationship. In other words, not keeping either secret from the other, not compartmentalizing.

    Also, your thoughts on ambiguity and non-marriage is something I hadn’t thought of and which makes good sense.

    Thanks for sharing this excellent post on the book tour!

    • Elizabeth Says:

      Lori, I think those are really sound principles. Something I always ask myself or check myself on is whether I’m sharing thoughts or feelings with someone else that I *should* be sharing with my husband. Am I looking for emotional support somewhere else when I should be looking to him? I don’t mean girlfriend support – I mean if I’m attracted to someone, then I have to be really careful what emotional needs I might be trying to fill there instead of at home.

  3. Judy Says:

    I found all of the information about the fashion industry interesting. I had no idea! Thanks to Melissa for being so detailed. 🙂

  4. Mel Says:

    I both loved learning all the fashion stuff AND at the same time clung more and more to my sweat pants as I wrote. I spent a lot of time looking at clothing and trying to describe it, and then running it by the atelier designer and asking her how a person would construct this outfit or that. And yet, my clothing choices took a nose dive during the writing of the book.

    Thank you so much for writing this AND for reading the book.

  5. Know Yourself, Honestly Says:

    […] Elizabeth of Project Progeny […]

  6. Annie Says:

    I too never saw myself as having a career when I was younger and through the years I’ve gone from health inspector to nurse to lamaze teacher to EMT and energy healer. Now I can clearly see I like change! bUt with each career I’ve had, especially when I was younger and having children, the security of it and the income potential was very important because I had to think about providing a roof and food for my family and that became more important than soley my self-fulfillment in the actual job. I guess i can say I was self-fulfilled by having the ability to provide for my family despite whatever job I was currently holding.

    • Elizabeth Says:

      It also sounds like your different jobs have all concerned healing in some way – coming from really different paradigms, and in different roles, perhaps, but still ultimately concerned with the wellbeing of people?

  7. Tiara74 Says:

    Seems you & I have a few things in common! This was my 1st book tour, I, too, identified more with Arianna than Rachel & this was my favourite of the trilogy, which is tough to say since I loved all three so much!

    I also never saw myself as having a career but because I always believed I’d be married & having children. I never took school too seriously for this reason…imagine my surprise when I turned 30 with no husband, no kids & no specific career!

  8. Mina Says:

    I agree that we can’t control out feelings, they just are, but we can control how we act and behave, so from this perspective, I do think Arianna had an emotional affaire. A platonic relationship excludes from the start physical attraction or romance, so I think the better term to use when having a relationship with someone we are attracted to, but we do not act on that attraction, is friendship. It is just a matter of semantics.

  9. The Apart at the Seams Book Tour is Here! | Lavender Luz Says:

    […] Elizabeth of Project Progeny […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: