My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review: Crossing To Safety

I have never heard of Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, until my good friend Debbie suggested it to me.  Written in 1987, the book begins with two young couples as they start out their careers and lives together and follows them over many years.  Beginning in Madison, Wisconsin in 1937, we meet the Morgans: Larry, a newly hired college professor, and his pregnant wife Sally.  There, they hit it off with another academic couple, Sid and Charity Lang, and begin a life-long friendship.   As you read this description, you may think, "God, this sounds Boooring!"  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The hopes and dreams of these idealistic young people clash with the reality of world wars, illnesses, and career disappointments.  Each character is seeking a way to "safety" through their relationships, which inevitably means that they will sacrifice some of their ideals.

I really loved this book.  I know I got invested in the story when some of the characters became so infuriating that I wanted to throw the book down and scream in frustration!  It has even taken me a surprisingly long time to write this review because I have needed time to digest what this book was trying to tell me. 

As the story progresses, events occur (beyond their control) that will test Larry and Sally's optimism and love for each other.  Sid and Charity also face adversity, but at a different level.  Can we live up to our potential when a spouse is constantly reminding us of our shortcomings?  Throughout the book, Sid is pushed by Charity to do more, be more.  And when he falls short, she is quick to point it out.  I was waiting for Sid to either leave Charity or have an affair.  There are hints of his seeking affection elsewhere, but we never fully understand if Sid carried through to actually betraying Charity. 

When I take a step back and consider the title of the book, I think the message is that people often find security in unlikely places.  A person can have a job that they may be over-qualified for, yet they really enjoy it.  It may fulfill a need that is not immediately noticeable.  In a couple's marriage, it may seem as if one partner is being bullied by the other, yet there are other unseen factors that balance out the equation.  This may be sexual, psychological, financial... who knows.  What determines one's sense of safety is different for all of us, and it's not for us to judge.

This book is not one of action and adventure, but of choices and consequences, events and outcomes.  It is a book I will ruminate over for many more weeks.


Source:  Borrowed from a friend (Thank you Debbie)

Format:  Paperback

Recommendation:  A thoughtful book that will ponder over for a long time.

Will I read more from this author?  Yes

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I hope I did the book justice! Your blog is wonderful!

  2. I've been thinking about our discussion of the ending so I re-read it. Don't want to give anything away to readers, so we can talk next week! Your description above was beautiful!

    1. Thanks Debbie. The more I ruminate on it, the more I accept Sid and Charity's marriage. It is not how I would like to live, but if it worked for them... (she says as though they were real people!)

  3. This sounds like a book that made you think a lot and I love when a book has that effect on me. And I love historical fiction and books about relationships (warts and all!) so I think I'd enjoy this one. Thanks for the review as it's one I haven't heard about anywhere else. Adding it on GoodReads now!

    1. Thank you, Trish. This book was recommended to me by a friend. I hadn't heard about it either. But it had a lot to say about marriage and life's unexpected turns. It really spoke to me.


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