When a librarian raves about Remember the Sweet Things, I feel especially proud. This review appeared last week on the website of the King County (Washington State) Library System.
-- Ellen Greene
Posted by Destinee @ Bellevue, King County Library
There are a lot of books out there about unhappy marriages. You have your Ethan Fromes, your Anna Kareninas, your Tesses of the D'Ubervilles. Tragic relationships can make for interesting reading, but don't you sometimes want to read about a remarkably happy marriage? Better yet, how about a happy marriage that actually existed in real life?
In a world where it's easy to be down on marriage, Remember the Sweet Things: One List, Two Lives, and Twenty Years of Marriage is the antidote to such cynicism. In it, author Ellen Greene relates her history with men, including her rocky first marriage, her experiences as a single parent, and the job she took that led her to her future husband Marsh. The book is a memoir that stands in testament to the real, lasting love between Ellen and Marsh, and it's also a reminder to each of us to "remember the sweet things" our own loved ones do for us.
Ellen kept a "Sweet Things List" during her marriage to Marsh in an effort to always remember and appreciate his acts of kindness toward her and her children. Ellen would compile her long list of sweet things every year and give it to Marsh on Valentine's Day. Examples include:
- Buying a seashell and planting it on a disappointingly shell-less beach for Ellen's daughter to find
- His goofy way of saying "Hi, Honey, I'm home."
- An afternoon spent reading and napping together
- "Marsh the Caregiver" emerging when Ellen breaks her leg
I feared this book would be a bit too sweet for me when I first picked it up, but it's not the story of a perfect storybook marriage. Instead it's the story of a successful one, full of the real details of a life filled with children, cooking, vacations, sickness, sailing, and laughter. The Greene family lived in New England, China, and Mexico (and did a good amount of traveling in between) so this is a bit of a travel memoir as well, but mainly it is a sweet read full of insight into real-life romance. For hopeless romantics and cynics alike, I recommend Remember the Sweet Things.