Book Review: Beneath a Blanket of Snow by Arlene Lomazoff-Marron
This book came to me during an incredibly busy week. I opened it up, scanned the first few pages, and said, "This is not for me." It had a lot of references to men feeling emasculated if their wives worked and women being fake to keep the peace. I almost put it down, but I'm glad I didn't. (First, you should know that my specialty is researching women's mental health, which is why I react so strongly to these implications.) Thankfully Lomazoff-Marron is also not a fan of such things either, because her women not only rose from the ashes of their lives, they came back stronger and more authentic.
The book begins with Jonathan and Meredith Perkins. Jonathan is painted as the hard worker with "business acumen," whose business is booming. Meredith is the art history major turned housewife, who attempts to find contentment in decorating her house. Enter federal agents, who arrest Jonathan for fraud and embezzling. The Perkins' world crumbles, and Meredith is left holding the pieces. Her group of friends, Elissa, Kelly, and Jaclyn distance themselves from the situation, so Meredith is forced to walk through her trials by herself.
The beautiful part of this book is that it peels away their facades to reveal their deeper secrets. As I said, Meredith's friends are horrified and they feel embarrassed on her behalf. They don't call, even though each one feels incredibly guilty. They also don't stop the horrible rumors going around. Instead, they tell themselves they are too busy to deal with all the drama and go on about their lives for almost two years.
In that span of time, each woman in the group finds her life falling completely apart. Each one must sort her priorities, and each one comes to the place where they can admit that they aren't happy.
Leslie Bennetts wrote a book called The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much. In this book, she interviews countless women: working women, stay-at-home-mothers, married women, single women, women of different races. The underlying thought is that no one seems to fully understand the vulnerability that women feel in a relationship. If their husband is the sole provider, they might wake up to find he wants a divorce, or he might die and leave them penniless. If they work, they feel immense pressure to dial back their efforts, lest their husbands feel emasculated by their successes. They are also penalized for taking time off to tend to sick family members.
Lomazoff-Marron encapsulates those feelings in her book. She writes of the insecurities women feel about their weight, fearing their husbands will stop loving them if they gain too much. She writes of the secret sacrifices that women make to keep the peace. These women go to extremes to remain attractive; they give up everything to make sure that their husbands succeed; they pretend to be okay until guilt, frustration, and desperation send them over the edge.
- Sexual Content: 1 out of 5. They talk about sex a couple, of times, but that's about it.
- Thematic Material: 2 out of 5. A man impulsively conspires to commit arson. A child falls down stairs and punctures an organ.
- Violence: 1 out of 5. There isn't really any violence other than the thematic material discussed above. Character discuss whether or not the child was pushed down the stairs, and that's about it.
- Language: 0 out of 5. I don't remember any.
- My Personal Rating: 4 out of 5
Overall this book is a solid read. There were a lot of characters to keep straight, but I ended up being able to read this book in two days. Honestly, I recommend it if you like books like Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann or other books that have female characters being honest about their lives.
Jayna Gerhart is an avid reader and researcher. Her favorite thing to say is, "Studies have shown." Her father-in-law lovingly calls her "Professor." Her friends lovingly call her a "Nerd." When she's not curled up with a nonfiction novel about women's mental health, she is reading for the podcast.