Monday, September 8, 2014

Apart at the Seams by *A*

Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour for Apart at the Seams!  I enjoyed getting to know Arianna better, after reading a little bit about her in the previous books.  And it was great to know her side of the story that was a teaser in Measure of Love.

For the book tour, I am answering two questions that I believe are somewhat related.    
  • A constant theme in Apart at the Seams is whether Arianna's relationship with Noah is appropriate. Arianna wants to believe their friendship is acceptable because she desperately needs someone who understands the pressures of producing creatively. Rachel seems to believe her relationship with Noah is unaccceptable, possibly even bordering on a possible emotional affair. How do you judge Arianna's friendship with Noah? Would you be comfortable engaging in a similar friendship yourself? Would you be comfortable with your partner doing so? 
  • Apart at the Seams, like the previous two books in the "series," examines the ambivalence some women feel toward the institution of marriage. Throughout the book, Arianna tries to explain -- to herself and others -- why she doesn't want to get married. When she is fitting Rachel's wedding dress she explains her reasons for not marrying Ethan:
"I think there are people we should be with at different stages in our life, and maybe those stages stretch on for fifty years or maybe they're over in a few months. But not knowing how long you'll be compatible with that person, something as permanent as marriage seems like a dangerous choice. And with Beckett in the picture, it makes things ten times more complicated because divorce would affect him, too. So that's why I don't want to get married..."
As someone who waited (for both personal and political reasons) to get married until after I bought a house and had children with my partner, I am understand Arianna's ambivalence about the institution, except my ambivalence swings in the opposite direction. I felt like marriage was a formality that didn't really affect my commitment to my partner, that it would be just as hard to extricate myself from my long-term relationship whether there were legal ramifications or not. Arianna obviously feels like marriage would cement her relationship in ways that living together for a prolonged period of time wouldn't. How do you view marriage? Do you agree with Arianna that it adds a level or commitment that is dangerous given the unknowns of the future? Or do you think it's a mere formality, that doesn't really change the level of commitment between two people?

I'm not sure if the first of these is simply a male/female dynamic question, or a time spent with/thinking about question.  I have male friends.  Almost every Wednesday, I have lunch with 5-6 current or former coworkers, all of whom are male.  My husband used to work with us, so he knows them all, but that's sort of irrelevant.  None of us are looking for anyone other than someone to have interesting conversations with regarding current events or random topics.  When we have some interesting encounter with management, or a case of road rage, or some other notable life event, we seek each other out at work to tell our stories.  I email random links that I think will interest them or enliven the monotony.  We attend each others' children's birthday parties or holiday parties or the like.  We're more than just coworkers, we're friends.   I would never consider what my life would be like if I were dating any of them, though.    I think that's where the line of an emotional affair gets drawn.

On the other hand, my husband made lots (almost exclusively) of female friends during his last couple jobs.  He still texts and talks with them.  He has expressed physical attraction for several of them, but recognizes that it would be a momentary thing to satisfy his curiosity.

Back to the book, (and to address both questions) it seems to me that Arianna is dissatisfied and looking for greener grass.  Between her relationship with Noah and her opposition to marriage, it appears that she's always got an eye out for the next thing.  She isn't looking at Noah as an addition to her life, in my interpretation.  While enjoying getting to know Noah on a personal level as a friend, she's also weighing him as a potential replacement for Ethan.  That's what kind of puts it over the line of emotional affair.   

Now, looking for greener grass is not a bad thing - it keeps the world moving through innovation and creativity.  But when it comes to relationships, it seems at odds with her decision to become a parent.  Maybe it's my career (tangentially in law enforcement, and thus, the underside of human nature) that informs my perspective, but while divorce is hard on children, serial dating is even worse.  Do I think people need to be married to have children?  No, not at all.  But if you split with a partner, married or not, it affects the children.  If you have a new partner, it affects the children.  If you and your children move in with someone, it affects the children.  It seems a more dangerous choice to start a relationship, especially knowing that you are leaving the door open to take off at any time...without consulting your children and how they might feel about the situation.  (Apparently, I should change my middle name to tangent, as this foray into SMC-land has nothing to do with the questions!)

As to my opinion of marriage - ooh, that's a tough one!  I think there is something to pledging "til death do you part."  Society has obviously downplayed that idea, or else divorce wouldn't be so prominent.  If you had asked me about marriage when I was in my 20s, I  would have told you that I was too young to get married.  That was more or less true, but a supporting factor was that I hadn't found anyone with whom I wanted to spend more than 8 hours, let alone the rest of my life.  But, all in all, marriage ends up being more of a legal state than an emotional one.  Once a divorce is sought, the relationship has already ended.  That being the case, I think Arianna's explanation is actually more about commitment than it is about marriage.  She's not willing to predict how long the compatibility will last, so there's no reason to make a legal commitment if she's not even really making a specific emotional one.  It seems that her view is "I love  We'll see how it goes."  Is it foolish to imagine that you will love someone forever?  Who knows?  Probably.  But I don't think Arianna sees that there's an intrinsically pessimistic view that can be taken from that, and that's why I felt bad for Ethan (even when he was irritating me by being a completely insensitive dunderhead).

BTW (oh look!  Another tangent!), I think Ethan went very wrong with his announcement about wanting to adopt Beckett because he made it about commitment to Arianna.  That's sort of insulting to Arianna (he was trying to end run her into any sort of commitment) and pretty insulting to Beckett too.  Beckett should have been the focus of the adoption idea, not Arianna or what kind of picture-perfect family they would make.  (I think I've been reading Lori's stuff for too long!)

It's taken me a long time to process this book, which was supposed to be a light summer read!  There are a lot of themes in here that struck me and made me think. 

To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list at Apart at the Seams Book Tour on

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Apart At The Seams

I have read all three books in this series and am lucky to call the author, Melissa Ford a personal friend.  We live in the same general area and get together, not often enough for my taste.  Luckily, I was able to separate my personal relationship with her when reading the books.  I still loved the books, and it is awesome to be able to email the author questions, or discuss the book over lunch.

On to the questions:

  • Did Arianna really have an affair? Does an emotional affair weigh the same as a physical affair? More? Less?
In my opinion Arianna did have an affair, she had an emotional affair which is more damaging than a physical affair.  Sex is easier to forgive, especially if it is something like a one night stand.  But when you find yourself falling for someone else, when you are in a committed relationship with someone, I think that says something about troubles in the relationship.  So does a sexual affair, but an emotional affair is far more telling and dangerous and exposes more holes in the relationship you are in.

  • Arianna has several major events that are downplayed by Rachael. How would you have reacted if this had happened to you? Would you have made the effort to repair the friendship?
I think that this is the beginning of what could be the end of the friendship between Arianna and Rachel.  I have had some long term friendships end and it is a really hard, brutal thing.  But this book demonstrated to me how much Rachel was not there for Arianna, and was so wrapped up in her own stuff.  Everyone has times when it is all about them.  But when it is all about someone else all the time, then it is time to end the friendship.  I would like to see Arianna and Rachel 10 years from now, and see whether they are still friends.

  • Were you rooting for things to improve for Arianna and Ethan's relationship?  Why or why not?
I was not rooting for them to improve.  I thought Arianna should break up with him.  I thought she spent most of the book trying to convince herself he was the guy for her rather than believing her was the guy for her, which is not the same thing.

Jodi used to blog at but recently retired it.  She came out of retirement because she loves to read, and Melissa.

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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Now Reading: Apart at the Seams by Melissa Ford
The virtual book club is now reading the novel Apart at the Seams by Melissa Ford. The discussion takes place in early September, 2014.

For more details and to sign up, visit

If you wish to post your stop on the book tour on this blog, please let Lori know. You'll then receive an invitation to author on this site.