Saturday, February 28, 2009
Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I had read A Matter of Wife & Death by Ginger Kolbaba & Christy Scammell. This is the second in the series and to a great extent my response was similiar to the first book in the series, Desperate Pastors' Wives.
The series features four pastor's wives from small town Ohio. The four women get together for lunch at a Cafe several miles out of town. The friends share their own individual challenges as well as their shared challenges. Jennifer is still struggling with her inability to get pregnant. Lisa's teenage daughter is, well, being a teenage girl - an attitude problem. Mimi is overwhelmed with a colicky baby and feeling ignored. And Felicia is trying to figure out how to keep her job and stop her son, Nicholas, from biting.
Early in the book, the wives attend a regional meeting for pastor's wives. While there, Jennifer has an arguement with the "Pastor's Wife Diva" - Kitty Katt. A short time later, Kitty is found dead. Jennifer is suspected of murder. The remainder of the book deals with the consequences of Kitty's death and the difficult decisions each woman must make as well as their own situations.
The book is quite appealing and is revealed in such a way that it certainly kept me engaged. I found it difficult to put down the book and go to sleep each night. I enjoyed revisiting each character, even though I felt they were a bit stereotyped. Yes, we pastor's wives have special challenges to our lives. There are times when it is feels that the whole world is watching and judging you. There are some things which you can only discuss with your husband. And there are special challenges to raising children in this kind of situation. However, every marriage has unique challenges. Every marriage has situations you can only discuss with your husband. And, in my experience, if it feels like the whole world is judging you - it's probably just a few people and is usually mostly perception, not reality.
In particular, I got frustrated with Mimi's story line. Mimi is isolated in dealing with her colicky baby. But, that has never been my experience. When my children were born I had many offers of help and support. In every church I've been in, when a family (pastoral staff or not) has a new baby there are constant offers of meals and help with caring for the new baby. I have found this to be an area where churches are particularly empathetic and supportive. It surprised me that there was no one offering to give Mimi a bit of relief and that there were no suggestions of what might be causing the colic. I kept thinking, "Where is her support system?"
As for the other wives' situations, while I found them to be engaging, I also found myself thinking, "Oh come on. Anybody could figure this out." I knew very quickly what was causing Nicholas to bite. I also found myself frustrated with Felicia for not communicating with her husband better. This didn't ring true for me at all. Most ministerial couples give their marriage the utmost importance, and, therefore, nothing is kept secret. The story line I enjoyed the most was Lisa's. The teenage angst combined with the pressure of watching your father's work struggle at very close range -- this I felt was the most realistic of the bunch. I also really enjoyed how Lisa handled that situation -- wise parenting.
Overall, despite the flaws, a good read. I enjoyed my visit with the PWs and look forward to the next book in the series.