WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 161 of 203

books "it's been very fulfilling, a real pleasure" Nichole Bernier With the journals, Bernier also introduces another question: What comes of these personal artifacts when they outlive the author? What did Elizabeth want Kate to do with these journals? As Kate struggles under the burden of this question, she has to hold Elizabeth's husband at bay. He is angry that such a personal part of his wife's history was not given to him. Why did his wife not deem him to be the proper recipient? Was there some- thing she was trying to hide? With these questions, the novel expands from fiction to mystery. The name of an adolescent crush is reintroduced into Elizabeth's journals, and her husband, who read his wife's last journal, is plagued with what this man meant to his wife. He, in turn, is more resentful that Kate has the full archive and can piece together the puzzle of his wife's life. Meanwhile Kate, who struggles under the pressure and pleasure of this gift, reads through these chronological entries while undergoing a period of uncertainty in her own marriage. The novel is a superb act of controlled timing. As one reads the book, no word seems uninten- "I found myself coming back to this thought: There can be such a contrast between how a person is viewed by friends and how she views herself." In the novel, Bernier uses journals as a way to juxtapose how her character, Elizabeth D., the mother of two, wife of an ex-golf pro, and play date ring leader, really views herself. Elizabeth bestows her journal on her good friend, Kate, the other main character. When reading the journals, Kate is surprised to learn that the confident Elizabeth she saw struggled with motherhood, the absence of a professional life, creating friendships with other mothers, and, most surprisingly, the legacy of her troubled upbringing. 160 tional. It is not surprising when Bernier talks of her extensive rewrit- ing. She wrote out Elizabeth's journals from ages 12 to 38 and then she edited them down, getting rid of 80 percent. But by then, Elizabeth was a living person in Bernier's mind. In fact, all the characters became live people for Bernier. When she talks of her writing process, she not only admits the isolation that she felt, but the borderline obsession that she experienced. "It became my one hobby. I had to give up all my other hobbies— working out, golf, etcetera—to dedicate my non-Mom hours to the book. I was and am out of step with contemporary culture. But I don't regret it. When the time would come to write, I could feel myself run- WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013

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