DISCUSSION #2: THE UNFINISHED JOURNALS OF ELIZABETH D

Where has this week gone? Does anyone else feel like it has flown by? I’ve been caught up reading and writing in my spare time … I’ve had extra this week because I’ve had late-night pick ups to do. Midnight at the train station…that’s what my 17-year-old Bear has gifted me with for the next few months.

So, before I left for the train station last night, I joined in with Week 2 of the bloggers’ discussion about The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D. For those who want a summary and don’t mind spoilers, click here for the host blog. I’ve tried not to give away too much below.

This week I looked at quotes that stood out for me as I read. There is a real sense as you read The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D that no one is as they appear – as Kate finds through her reading, there is a lot she didn’t know about Elizabeth; she and the reader also see a different side of Dave (Elizabeth’s husband, who doesn’t come across too well for a lot of the book). Kate is also realising that she doesn’t always know her own husband – there are some things she is not sure she wants to know.

‘The effects of your choices might not be clear at the moment they were made. But if you turned back to see where you’d come, there they’d be, the ghost of the path not taken leading to the places you would never go’ – p172

Are you a “what if” person? Do you make a choice and then wonder later (turn back) if it was the right one? (The ghost of the path not taken) Or do you make a choice and move on? Unfortunately, I have a tendency to turn back and second guess myself sometimes…still trying to unlearn that!

‘She wondered how much of what she’d assumed was superficiality might have been his way of masking something he felt too much’ – p221.

Here’s Kate reconsidering the Dave she thought she knew. Had she judged him harshly in the past? Have we as readers? I think there is more to Dave. He’s flawed, but he’s strong in other ways. And I’m guessing here but I think Elizabeth is protecting him by keeping the journals from him.

‘“Even in great relationships, there are limits on how well we can ever really know someone.”’ – p221.

Totally agree. I am still learning about my husband and my children, even my mother. They still surprise me, as I am sure I do them. You don’t need a journal to tell you that.

‘She hadn’t thought to be wistful or protective of the parts of herself that she might be leaving behind…’ – p227.

Kate is reflecting on Elizabeth’s desire to work part-time after her first child is born, and her frustration that Dave expects her to stay at home. While I had no doubt that I wanted to be home with my boys, a few years later I did begin to wonder where “I” was – where were the parts of me that I’d left behind. I see Elizabeth as more of a giver and Kate as more of a taker – this quote confirmed that.
On page 270, Kate realises she has judged Elizabeth’s tendency to say yes, to be a giver, as a sign that she was “simple” and “dreamless”. What I love about this is that Elizabeth has, in a gentler way, conveyed to Kate some simple truths that needed hearing. Kate strikes me as someone who would not have listened any other way.GIVEAWAY: I have a copy of The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D to give away. To be in the running, comment below. Whose diary would you really like to read?