March 17

Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn

If you’ve ever held the secret desire to sit in a marriage counsellor’s room and listen in, well, praise be, John Jay Osborn has opened that door and invited you in.

Voyeurs rejoice!

This is a clever tale where you are witness to the breaking and making of Steve and Gretchen’s marriage and their work to both save it and escape it.  They are helped by skilled counsellor Sandy.

These three characters come together weekly but there is an ever-present, silent fourth personality – the marriage itself and this is who Sandy believes she represents.  She listens to the marriage and the marriage says they need to give it a try.

Gretchen has left Steve because he’s behaved pretty badly for most of their relationship. There are two children.  Gretchen believes she is in love with someone else and wants a divorce.  He doesn’t, but feels utterly helpless to save himself and the relationship.  Each week they come together to work through the wreckage – their separation, betrayal, lies, finances, egos, the question of hope and if any remains.

These sessions are no bed of roses, friends. Mostly I was as drained and traumatised as Steve and Gretchen at the end of each one and at times wondered if I could go on.  But this is just part of this book’s cleverness.  You are both witness and participant as you sit, stuck, in the room as the misery, fear, anger, betrayal, fury, love, sadness and heartbreak swirls around you.

It’s a good read and one well worth your time.  I reckon it is a really good one for a book club because  whether you’re in a good or tricky relationship, you’ll recognise the voice of the marriage and it will certainly get the fire going in some folk.

I found Listen to the Marriage compelling and intriguing –  damn exhausting at times, but so worthwhile.

Hang on a minute.

Did I just describe a book or my own marriage?

Either way, this is just my two cents worth.