Book Review: 'The House' by Anjuelle Floyd

A Review of SheWrites' very own Anjuelle Floyd's work:

Summary: Anjuelle Floyd's "The House" offers a poignant portrait of a family plagued by one man's infidelity and his wife's persistence in providing love and security for her family in spite of the odds. Ana Manning is a protagonist whose struggles describe the lives of many women in our society today; she's strong, courageous, and silently suffering within the confines of a marriage and a home that is held together by the glue that her strength provides. She is a real life heroine who holds a house together with one focus in mind: it is her duty to provide security and love for her husband and children. She commits to this objective for three decades full of sacrifice and sadness on her part, for her husband, Edward, is a workaholic that is never home and constantly in other women's beds. After thirty years of self-sacrificing and achieving maternal and wifely perfection, Ana finds the courage to divorce her husband, sell the house that holds all her secret longings, pain, and loneliness, and find love. Signed divorce papers in her hand, Ana's future is put on hold when she learns that Edward is dying. Does she abandon the man who didn't think twice about emotionally abandoning her and her needs, a man she still loves, or does she show him empathy, love and forgiveness during his last dying days? What would you do?

Review: No matter what you think you would do, this  choice is not an easy one, especially as Ana still holds love in her heart for the man she married, lived a life with, and with whom she raised their children. A licensed psychotherapist with a degree in psychology, Anjuelle Floyd captures the essence of tangled family dynamics that is reality -- not fiction-based. At the heart of such a decision is the fact that when we walk away from family and love and chaos that make up our experiences, we don't gain anything. We perhaps gain freedom from the shackles of the past and its toxic people, but we walk away blinded by negative feelings like anger, resentment, unresolved angst. 'The House' shows us what we can achieve by not walking away. By walking instead into the hot, painful mouth of estrangement, infidelity, broken trust, denied love, and shattered dreams, we are rewarded with the unique experience of self-reflection and self-discovery. We deal with our anger and resentment, demand the respect that was not given to us, and we find our voice -- perhaps even our purpose. By not walking away from those who have wronged us, we help them face their demons while we find courage to face our own. We forgive them, and in doing so, we free them and ourselves from the tortuous grasp of betrayal and hurt that is often so difficult to escape.

By choosing to stay, Ana frees not only herself from half a lifetime spent in utter disappointment and unvoiced longings, but she also frees Edward, who was hanging on by loose threads of childhood pain he never articulated, and which contributed to his philandering; by holding on, she saves her children, who silently perceived the pain that haunted their house, their family, and who as adults, began to show signs of similar behavior. After decades of self-sacrifice, Ana gives up three more months of her life to her dying husband and children, and in that short time span, she is able to save everyone from the injuries they suffered, sending them off to live their lives in peace and in the kind of love that requires courage, communication, and understanding.

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