I’m a news junkie, I like to read blogs. I was driven to read this particular story, at first out of sheer curiosity. It started with reading a brief synopsis of her story on her Huffington Post blog. Her story immediately caught my attention, perhaps because I’ve known people like her former husband. People that posses a unique and bewildering talent for weaving elaborate webs of deception. I think what caused me to fixate on this particular story was at first my own desire to understand why some people develop a taste for manipulation, for living in and perpetuating lives based on lies.
From the first sentence, this book is a page turner and quite difficult to put down; as you learn one piece of the story you immediately begin to thirst for the next. In this case, Lisa has truly lived what has often been said, a reality stranger than fiction. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be manipulated and lied to so succinctly and completely by the one person you’re supposed to be able to rely on and put your trust in the most, /after/ a marriage of ten years and a relationship of sixteen years! It simply boggles the mind and for me, calls me to question my faith in humanity itself. How is it that some people come to be so self-centered, so diluted that they can perpetuate acts of complete and utter treason against not just another person, but their /spouse/?
How could a man be caring and loving and intimate one moment, and for all the many years leading up to that moment, and then decide abruptly, coldly and without any feeling at all to simply vanish from her life, from /their/ life together, with nothing more than a text message and a very cold and unsettlingly impersonal “Dear John” letter? Without ever having a conversation with her, without ever expressing any disinterest or dissatisfaction in or with their marriage? How does a man then also marry another woman while still married to his first wife? How is it that she never saw any signs or clues of his pending blitzkrieg of complete emotional and financial ruin? What could make a man so distorted and narcissistic to consciously make these choices? Well, friends, this book does not disappoint. This true story of betrayal, of infidelity, of bigamy, of a woman’s story of how she picked up the broken pieces of her life and mended her soul and confronted and laughed and cried and began anew will haunt you, will move you, will humble you. And yes, will cause you to question many, many times the sanity of the man she married. I found myself completely captivated by her story.
And, finally, if you are like me, in a happy, loving marriage, it will also give you reason to count your blessings, and be grateful with and humbled by the joy and the tremendous fortune of having a good marriage with a good person. Reading a story like this just makes me love my wife all the more and see how lucky I truly am too. For people like me, this story is a cautionary tale that decrees that at any moment a bomb can fall from the sky and sweep it all away in the blink of an eye.
Lisa Arends writes with a style that is honest and engaging. She shares with us her journey to recover from having her world kicked out from under her. Her story is a demonstration of the full gamut of emotions that are experienced when something this heart-wrenching happens. The unexpected occasional humor gives the reader more insight into the author’s personality, and I have to admit that chuckling out loud in the midst of reading this book at first felt so wrong. But I quickly came to realize that Lisa’s ability to realistically ‘tell it like it is’ is one of her many strengths that helped her discover who Lisa Arends really is.
This books shows the worst of humanity, but it also joyously demonstrates the amazing potential resilience of the human race. We have the ability to let go of hurt, let go of anger, and to choose instead peace and gratitude. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your story with us.