Into the Arms of America

SPOILER ALERT:  Don't read unless you are 6% into The Summer Garden. 

"We all talk a different language, talking in defense." ~ Mike and the Mechanics

I don't even know what to say.  This is so sad.  Alexander (note I'm not calling him "Shura" either) took Nick to the army hospital and hasn't come back in days.  I'm beside myself.  These people are so in love and have just...forgotten.  It's devastating.

I've been doing some underlining (love me some Kindle) and two things I noted were:

1) Anthony asked to go on the boat with his dad...and his dad said "no" because it was dangerous.  And Anthony was so bummed and defeated that he put his head down - exactly like his father does.  Alexander's pain is much like Anthony's little 3 year old pain: He doesn't feel like he is important enough or good enough to handle something; life, in Alexander's case.  Oh god it's eating me up to sit back and watch this take place and tear this family apart.

2) Anthony calls his father "Dad".  Not many 3 year olds refer to their father as anything but "Daddy" or even "Dada".  But "Dad" is just so formal for a child of that age.  He calls his mother "mama"...which speaks volumes. 

Another thing that is killing me is Tania's pain.  This woman is screaming inside and nobody sees or hears her.  She has been through so much - yet she is the glue that holds this fragile house of cards together. 

I am headed back to the book now...but just had to let you all know where I am.  Not a lot of humor in this post...hopefully I took care of that earlier with the Ferragamos. 

OH - and one more thing - Alexander's pride and controlling nature (and yes, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - I know) is keeping the family from being better off financially right now.  I keep saying "Why aren't they in New York?  What is with this "state-a-month" deal?  That's something you do once you're on your feet.  Not now.  Not when what they need is privacy and - I would think - routine.  And structure.  And money.  If they'd move to New York - they'd have a support system as well as Tania's old job back.  They could work on their issues with a roof over their heads - three bedrooms - and a much-needed date night once in a while. 

But this?  This nomadic lifestyle is not helping.  Or at least it doesn't look that way from where I'm standing.  Perhaps - hopefully - I'll be proven wrong?


  1. I keep reminding myself how YOUNG Tania is. She has no one to consult on a) raising a child, b) caring for a traumatized husband, c) caring for herself because let's not forget, she is also traumatized.

    There is no book, no "recipe" for what she is going through. She is so terrified, all she can do is cry and her tears are met by her husband with indifference.

    This book is soooooo desolate!

  2. I know! And little Ant - you're so right that he's trying to be a brave little man when he's just a pitiful little boy (an amazingly well-behaved, traumatized one too). I feel so sad when Tatiana realizes that it may even be better to live in their own alienation than confront the horror of what they've been through. But then I also think, if Alexander can't even stand the shoes and the nail polish that represent New York, how could he make a life there with her? So tortured.

  3. I know, T&A ended on such a good note, and now this gut-wrenching stuff.... It's like they don't know HOW to be peaceful and just together without any kind of conflict going on around them. I have faith that they will find a way, but it's a looong book... :-(

  4. Hang in there Carol, it gets a lot worse before it gets better. This is the hardest book to get through in my opinion.

  5. Yeah, you guys are right.........these are two incredibly broken people.

    I must say the second reread is going better for me than my first. I remember it taking me longer to read this third book than any of the others. One thing I didn't get with my first read was that Shura feels almost emasculated b/c all of his escape attempts failed. His flashbacks are horrific.

  6. Jennifer J, I'm trying to read quickly because I can't stand the agony of what is happening with them. Then I'll go back and re-read after I already know how things turn out. I just can NOT read these books slowly - too many unresolved issues!

    (Still, have I mentioned that I LOVE them?? lol)

  7. BTW, when I say "read quickly" I do NOT mean skimming. I promise I am reading every word. I'm just forgoing sleep in order to find out what happens next....


  8. I remember not liking Alexander as much when I read this the first time. When I reread it I felt completely differently. My heart just broke for him. I finally understood just how broken he was. I really only felt for Tatiana the first time through.

    Cari, I also remember reading these books so quickly. When I reread them I devour each and every word. I loved them even more then. I also lost a lot of sleep and would read on my lunch breaks. It wasn't pretty. :)

    Ah, and Anthony. What a little gem. I love that kid.

    I agree that NY wouldn't have been the best place for them.

  9. Oh, I didn't mean the whole book. My comments about Alexander and Tatiana were only referring to the first part that Carol read.

  10. Hildy,
    That's EXACTLY how I feel!! The first time I was like, "What the heck is that man doing?" And this time my tiny heart just bleeds for him........uuuugghhhhhh.

  11. Well, I finally caught up to 6%... and not liking Alexander here. Just too selfish. Tania risked everything for him... for him and for her, and he just doesn't seem to give a shit at all. I think he needs a good smack upside the head. And I think Tania is being too nice... too outwardly understanding. Having a hard time cutting him any slack when he's treat somebody as wonderful as Tania like shit.