|Our Beguine: The dance of life|
Eventually, having had a lovely birthday on Sunday, I took it outside with me and read it in the warm sunshine. It was a difficult book. There are some morose incidents with cancer scares, depression and grief in their losses of family; adoptive children, some near some far.
A lot of male writers, I have found, don't bother with descriptive paragraphs of their settings. Levin is one of them. I kept wishing for sights, smells, sounds, of the various places he and his wife visited. It reads more like a blog, without the photos. As with my book, you have to share the lessons learned with the reader, but these lessons were pretty specific to a doctor, whose family has much, except for time with a father. That said, it was a long-lasting marriage, but his emotional toil was difficult to digest.
TraveloguePart of the story involves their cruises, yes, a travelogue, and Levin describes them, writing much about the struggles, but not the setting. They were in Germany (during WW II), Paris, as well as many other cities, during their marriage. I was discomfited by his wife's issues with arthritis in Paris, when they likely should have gone home. I felt such pain for his wife who was unable to walk distances. They were there during the Paris bombings in 2010, and it was a painful read for these reasons.
EditingAnother problem, the repetition of nouns were frequent. I think visiting synonyms.com would have been a good idea. I found he used far too many asides (for obvious items) which slows down the reader (who knows what two-by-two means) trying to make it humorous. It just didn't work.
While a lovely sentimental journey, the political comments could have been omitted. Making the book shorter by about 100 pages would have been wiser, methinks.
After Donna’s passing 2011, Levin was caught between feelings of despair and ongoing love. He penned a memoir of his relationship with Donna titled, “Our Beguine” to explore and recreate the soul-to-soul relationship shared by the two and celebrate their 57-years of love.