Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I immediately liked Cassandra. I did realize Cassandra needed heavenly help as soon as possible. She and her husband, Ken, had four little boys. Cassandra also owned a child care business. This meant her house was at all times full of a joyful noise or sometimes humbug noises coming from one child or another child. I remember having four little boys. People called my children "stair steps" because they were so close in age. I could have never taken care of my children and a daycare all at the same time. Impossible.
It came as no surprise to learn almost immediately that Cassandra is on the way to having a nervous breakdown. She's at the end of her rope. Not just because of all the duties with the children. It's also because she's carrying emotional stuff around like she would carry a diaper bag. Cassandra owns baggage: Sadness, anger and guilt plague her steps. These negative feelings are related to Cassandra's mom. For years they have not come to closure about life's past events that happened in their house. Betty is nicknamed "Bad Betty" by Margret, Cassandra's best friend. Soon the whole town knows Betty as Bad Betty because she is abrupt, seemingly selfish. She is a woman people think of as hard, tough, mean.
There are other relationships in "Stray Affections." Margret and Leo are constantly asking themselves should we do this? should we do that? I felt so many emotions for this couple. However, I never stopped thinking about Cassandra. After all, she owned the mysterious, flurrious snow globe.
More seriously, I thought about the mother and daughter relationship. Women in these roles can face complicated, catastrophic and heartbreaking moments. These nasty moments can go on for years.
When the mother and daughter relationship doesn't work for a long time or a short time, it becomes impossible for a daughter to function as a good wife and mother in her household. This is because she's carrying a bag of should haves, why did I say it or do it and other such thoughts around her neck from morning until night. It is possible the very same bag is hanging around the mother's neck. But how in the world do you communicate with one another when so much pain is in the room?
By the time I neared the end of the book I had no idea how God would help Cassandra and her mother, Betty. I didn't know how Margret and her husband, Leo, would deal with not having what they wanted so much. Thankfully, Charlene Ann Baumbich is one of those authors who ties everything up in a neat bow before you can say Merry Christmas. After all I could not enjoy my Christmas, if they did not find happiness under their tree too.
I also liked the dogs in the story. I can't write the review without mentioning Toby. Toby plays a big part in what happened in the past between Cassandra and her mother. There are also other pet doggies too. I thought about Betty White and others who say pets are good for stress. I think Charlene Ann Baumbich would agree.
I enjoyed this novel. It's so like real life except for the flurrious snow globe. I did miss tasting one of Burt's Durves too. I am glad there is a recipe in the back of the book. By next Christmas I should know how to make a Durve. By the way, Burt is the friendly butcher man. Betty talks grumbles at Burt while buying her sausage or chops. It's all according to what Burt is calling a good buy for the week. Burt does see pass the meat he is cutting or grinding. He sees Betty along with his Durves.