I have great affection for good fiction that has the plus of a theme of addiction, recovery or relationship how-to (or not to) perspective. My all time favorite summer book—I read it every other year—is “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy.
Anna K. is the best all-around summer book because it has it all: romance, intrigue, humor, family saga and even business advice. But what is surprisingly and so often overlooked is that Anna K. is a book about addiction and codependency. Yes, Anna is a drug addict. She is always tipping up those little vials and sipping her codeine and alcohol “medicines”. Add to that her crazy combination of beauty and low self esteem and yeah, you can hear the train coming.
But Anna is a classic and a must read. But what about new stuff?
Well, this summer we have a great supply of wonderful relationship novels. The one I am loving right now is called “You Should Have Known” by Jean Hanff Korelitz. This book is so good: A marriage, an affair, a murder, the Upper East Side in New York City, and a therapist who is an expert on dating and marriage and she is about to have some serious surprises about her own. I assure you—it’s a page-turner.
But, there is another reason I love, “You Should Have Known”—and that is because the hidden bonus is the great advice this marriage guru gives in the first three chapters. Yes, she’s a fictional character and the author, Jean Hanff Korelitz, is presumably not a couples counselor but you will want your friends to read this book too so you can talk about her advice to single women and to wives.
In long-term recovery many of us get to have another relationship, maybe a new marriage. So it makes sense that we gobble up relationship advice and how-to, self-help for couples. Now, this summer, you can take that reading to the beach, disguised as a terrific novel.
Do check out, “You Should Have Known.” Let me know what you think.