Compartmentalized || From Left to Write January 2013 Book Club, The Expats by Chris Pavone

This post was inspired by mystery thriller novel The Expats by Chris Pavone. Kate Moore sheds happily sheds her old life become a stay at home mom when her husband takes a job in Europe. As she attempts to reinvent herself, she ends up chasing her evasive husband's secrets. Join From Left to Write on January 22 as we discuss The Expats. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

One of the hardest parts of motherhood is dealing with the range of emotions from and different emotional stages of my children.  This has been true since they were tiny people and remains true no matter how many birthdays pass.

I find myself, when they are in the throes of some temper or spat or whine-a-thon, telling them calm down, to walk away, to find a way to move on and leave it behind.  To, in so many words.

But they don't always - calm down, walk away, or move on.

Sometimes?  Yes.  Especially as they get older and have more life experiences to draw upon, as they gain more bits of wisdom from those experiences, they do pull themselves together, zip their lips, and find ways to rise out of their own emotional tailspins.

But not always.

And it's only when I find myself a moment of calm and quiet to mull my own thoughts that I realize that this is exactly as it should be.  They are all still works in progress, they are all journeying onward and upward into life and part of that passage to adulthood is learning to balance those emotional moments with rational thought and self-control.

And the best way to learn is by doing.

After reading The Expats: A Novel by Chris Pavone, I found myself mulling over my thoughts about secrets and truths and created realities versus lived fictions.  The one word that summed up this book for me was this one:


This book was a good read, well-written with twists and loops and plot tricks galore.  But in the end, I just couldn't enter into the story fully because it was so difficult for me to accept that the main character could be a mom who lived a life of such extreme compartmentalization.  It seemed unnatural.

It seemed impossible.

But then I got to thinking about my own life, and how I do the same thing even though I might not see it as such.  This part of me is a mom; that part a wife.  This part of me is a friend; that part of me is a worker bee.  This part, still a dreamy writer; that part, an ever-practical adult who pays bills and folds laundry.

I could go on and on but the gist of it is this: I find myself getting frustrated with my own children when they are thrashing through their emotional cyclones simply because I have found ways to compartmentalize my own emotions when I myself am upset.  I find myself frustrated that they haven't learned to do the same yet.

After reading this book, though, I have to wonder if my way, my method of trying to compartmentalize all the different facets of my life - and the different emotions that accompany them - is the better choice.

I'm still wondering.....