*author’s note* This is a review I wrote for Goodreads back in March, and I just realized I never added or posted about the read here. So here are my feelings on a reread of a childhood classic, Up A Road Slowly, by Irene Hunt. I’m back-dating this, so if you feel confused about where this came from, that’s why.
Maybe because my family is so important and vital to me, I understand how you can love the very things about your family that drive you crazy, and how precious it is to have a family when the road we walk is sad or confusing. They don’t always do the right thing, but sometimes the littlest gesture is the one we remember for years.
I cried this read-through, in that very early chapter where Julie is crying inconsolably in the closet and Cordelia crawls in and holds her and cries with her. When I came home for Thanksgiving right after Cori died, I got into my parents water bed and went to sleep. When I woke up, my sisters were there, one on each side, and we just cried and talked quietly, remembering when Cori visited and just being together. I love this book because it reminds me of moments like that, when being a family is what’s holding you together, imperfections and all.
Wow. Um. I don’t know if this is a coherent review at all, but I feel like I should mention one more thing. One of the main negatives mentioned in other reviews about this book is Aunt Cordelia’s statement that a woman becomes a woman when she loves a man. Perhaps, being a bit on the old-fashioned side, I don’t find fault with this because I agree with her, but I think this statement is more than just an strong support of marriage. This statement is made in a context of not just love, but of self-sacrificing love. Not love that annihilates an entity, but a gracious love like that of Cordelia for Jonathan, a love that encompasses his frail, dying wife and supports him long after her hope of being his wife herself has died. I don’t think Cordelia is suggesting that a single woman is incomplete, so much as that a person who has never truly loved someone more than themselves is incomplete. And you know, loving someone else unconditionally is a challenge that everyone should try to live up to, single or married, young or old.