I am honored to close this week’s festivities for Jenny Gardiner and her fantastic debut novel, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver. It truly is an honest, brassy, HIGHLY relatable look at what happens to many marriages a few years and a few children in—covering so much more than just loss of that initial spark, when passion dissolves into comfort (and sometimes malaise). It’s about sharing responsibilities, about respect, about communication, about growing up, about never forgetting to see the world through your partner’s eyes. And as Lisa said in her eloquent post on Wednesday, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver is, at its heart, a love story—or rather, a falling-in-love-again-with-the-same-person story.
As the only Deb who has been divorced, Jenny’s novel really made me think. I mean, REALLY made me think. What makes some marriages salvageable and others doomed? Some people would say that all marriages should be salvageable, that too many things are already disposable in society today, that marriage is a sacred bond, and so on. And others might say that life is too short to spend unhappy or with the wrong person, that people can change in sometimes negative ways, that some transgressions are unforgivable, etcetera ad nauseum. I’m certainly no expert, but perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the messy middle, where things like fundamental compatibility, chemistry, personal histories, values, goals, and communication styles flow together in a bright and constantly-evolving kaleidoscope that can tip the balance either way. Depending.
Jenny explores this territory beautifully. Nobody likes to talk about the day-to-dayness of marriage—we’re so much more a culture of fireworks and hearts and roses and Viagra and KY Warming Gel. Speaking of which, who’s going to need this stuff if they’re necking passionately and throwing articles of clothing around the room like the couple in the pre-Valentine’s Day commercial running on repeat on the Oxygen network? I want to see a couple in flannel PJs, no makeup, two days’ worth of leg or face stubble, David Letterman running through the Top Ten List in the background. It may not be the most romantic of scenarios (per conventional wisdom), but it’s perhaps more realistic and dare I say….intimate?
To write a credible love story (make that a funny, real, and moving credible love story) about two married people falling a little out of love and then back into it again, is the mark of a gifted writer. And Jenny Gardiner has done just that. Kudos to you, woman. And happy launch week!
11 Replies to “On the fifth day of launch week, my true love gave to me…by Deb Jess”
Amazing, Jess! I love to read about how we each “received” this love story, what kinds of thoughts and feelings were provoked. I think that’s one of the things that’s so great about Sleeping With Ward Cleaver–it’s so funny but it’s a story that will stick with you for the deeper themes.
Fantastic, thoughtful post.
And more big cheers for Jenny!
I just can’t wait to read your book, Jenny! Hope you had a great launch week!!
p.s. according to the rhyming dictionary, nothing rhymes with Canada (or orange or purple)
You know why I adore you Jess? You can write a heart felt post that contains the words KY Warming Jelly.
Yay! Jenny! Happy release week. May your sales be many.
And Jenny and Many rhyme, we now know!
Jess, that was the SWEETEST post! Thank you so much for you really kind and heartfelt words. And I too love that you could work KY Warming Jelly into that. Given some of our Deb discussions, this is a most fitting wrap to SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER week!
And I have to say, I couldn’t have shared this with a nicer bunch of gals 😉
Wow, Jess what a deep and wonderful tribute to Jenny and WARD CLEAVER. Really made me think… also enjoyed the Warming Jelly detail…
Thanks for chiming in, all! I always love seeing what people have to share on everyone’s posts. 🙂
Jenny & Eileen, I plan to do a little guerilla marketing in some Milwaukee bookstores this weekend. Face-out with Deb cards or bust!
I LOVED this post!! (And the line about the KY warming jelly cracked me up)
Thank you for your brilliant, funny take as always.
Congratulations of the launch of SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER — we’re so proud of you!!
Excuse my tardiness, Jess, but your thoughts and feelings were truly heartfelt — falling somewhere between reality, fantasy and where we all want to be. You did Jenny and WARD CLEAVER proud!
i just stumbled upon your site…you guys are adorable. 🙂 i, too, am a writer (well, aspiring to be so) and look forward to being one of your regulars.
A really great post which you included a huge deal of deal in! Thanks for your post and I look forward to reading more of your future articles!
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