Every family is plagued with some sort of epidemic. Infidelity is the worst of them all. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller brought out the devastation attached to the word family. The heartbreaks, the ugly parts; the REAL parts lying in plain sight.
This book is about Ingrid and Gil. Student and professor. Lovers. Husband and wife. Mother and father. But in between all that they both were human. There is a point where we think love conquers all. All the rules, all the expectations, the disappointments; there’s a time where we think love completes us. In a way it does, but regrets often come when it’s too late.
The writing style was rather slow. I found myself skimming through a few paragraphs and pages knowing I wouldnt really miss much. The author makes it a point to make their readers visualize. But more than that the author made me experience.
There were points I found it too much to bear that I had to take time to let my heart breathe. It was much too painful. It felt so real because infidelity is real. It happens. Why it does, well I don’t know. I don’t understand it. But as the saying goes:
“We are ever striving after what is forbidden, and coveting what is denied us.”
What made my stomach churn to the point I felt like throwing up was that Gil did his dirty work right in the house where his family slept just a few steps away. No, actually I can’t decide which is worse: the lack of guilt and even the decency to cover up his tracks, or the dedication on his book. That was the climax for me. My heart literally stopped. I was too caught with the story. I felt Ingrid’s emotions, I felt the grief, the loss, the pain.
But to be honest the book was just unfair. Here was Ingrid not wanting to start a family, not wanting to have kids. Here she was her life ahead of her, and she chooses to give that up. Because she believed that love weighed more than all that. But was it really love? Or simply just attraction that went too far.
I try to understand men and why they cheat. I feel like it’s inevitable. I already expect it coming. There’s a point in relationships, once all the surge of waves have come to an end, when all is calm, then starts the storm. We mistake love for other things, because love takes so many forms in varying levels.
I suppose this books affected me so much because…I know what it feels to be like Flora and Nan. I know what it feels to be in the center. Either you’re blind or you watch it all happen. I was both. I turned a blind eye on things I shouldn’t have knowledge on; pretended I was an innocent child, and yet you can never shield children from reality. You can only do so much for them.
The ending brought mixed emotions. Part of me wants to hate Ingrid for leaving her family with only hope to cling to. Hope is ironic. It makes you strong, it makes you weak. It’s there even when you don’t want it to be.
Overall I recommend this book for people who understand. I don’t recommend it for people who know. Nothing will be resolved after reading this book. Don’t expect to find answers. It’s merely a realization; the truth.