Friday, February 24, 2012

Perfectly Awful

What would you do if you found that your whole life was based on lies?

Julie Metz's husband Henry was 44 years old when he died in her arms of a pulmonary embolism.  Julie had what she (and many others) thought was a perfect life - a 16-year marriage, a beautiful daughter, and a successful career as a graphic artist.  Her book Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal is the story of how she came to terms with the fact that it had been not just imperfect, but perfectly awful.

Henry, a handsome, outgoing bon vivant, had been secretly very insecure and trying to fill the hole in his psyche by chasing (and usually catching) other women.  Julie, who had never suspected his infidelity, was devastated by the extent of it, and by the $40,000 debt Henry had also concealed from her.  Like many women, she had accepted her husband's accusations that she was to blame for their fights and her depression, but after his death she realized that he had been "gaslighting" her to conceal his own guilt.

I think most of us who have lost a spouse wrestle with pain, guilt, and anger in varying degrees; in Metz's case, the anger is supercharged as the truth emerges, and she takes some extraordinary steps to try to discover just what Henry had done and why.  Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction; few novelists would even try to write a story like this for fear that it would be too unbelievable.

This is definitely not the usual uplifting survivor's account of "how I found peace after a year of grief."

"Julie Metz'a memoir of how her marriage unraveled after her mate's death is piercingly honest, haunting, and heartbreaking." ~Susan Shapiro

No comments:

Post a Comment