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Accidents of Marriage: A Novel
by Randy Susan Meyers

Published: 2014-09-02
Hardcover : 368 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 2 members
From the bestselling author of The Comfort of Lies, an engrossing look at the darker side of a marriage--and at how an ordinary family responds to an extraordinary crisis.

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a ...
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Introduction

From the bestselling author of The Comfort of Lies, an engrossing look at the darker side of a marriage--and at how an ordinary family responds to an extraordinary crisis.

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he's lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids--which works to keep a fragile peace--until the rainy day when they're together in the car and Ben's volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.

Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. Accidents of Marriage is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Maddy ran her tongue over her teeth, imagining the bitter taste of a crumbling tablet of Xanax. After a gut-wrenching day at the hospital, nothing tempted her more than a chemical vacation. Nothing appealed to her less than cooking supper. Churning stomach acid—courtesy of work—coupled with anxiety that Ben might come home as frenzied as he’d left—made a formidable appetite killer. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Why do you think spouses allow themselves to be verbally and emotionally abusive in a marriage? What is the goal of the spouse who is charging around the house? Do you think all wives and/or husbands are sometimes walking on eggshells in their homes?

2. What do you think will be the ultimate resolution of Maddy and Ben’s marriage? What do you think the best scenario would be for them? For the children?

3. Discuss the role of religion in ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE. How did it affect each child in particular? 1.Meyers begins her novel with an epigraph from Frida Kahlo that reads “There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.” Did the epigraph inform your reading of Accidents of Marriage? How did that relate to Maddy’s marriage to Ben?

1. Meyers begins her novel with an epigraph from Frida Kahlo that reads “There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.” Did the epigraph inform your reading of Accidents of Marriage? How did that relate to Maddy’s marriage to Ben?
2. Why do you think that Meyers chose to title her novel Accidents of Marriage? Aside from the major accident at the center of the novel, are there other accidents that occur within Ben and Maddy’s marriage? What are they?
3. Discuss the structure of Accidents of Marriage. What is the effect of having multiple narrators? Which narrator did you feel the most drawn to or have sympathy for? Why?
4. Does Maddy’s relationship with Emma evolve throughout the book? If so, describe how. Given the trauma in their family, did you think that the changes in their relationship were realistic? Why or why not?
5. Vanessa, Maddy's sister, seems cold and unaffected by Maddy's situation. Why?
6. What were your initial impressions of Ben? Did they change throughout Accidents of Marriage? In what ways and why? Do you think that he can change, as he promises? Why or why not?
7. Emma’s grandmother tells her “forgiveness can make you feel better.” (p. 303) Is she correct? Why is it so important to the family that Emma is able to say the words “I forgive you”? Why do you think Emma is unable to do so?
8. What role does religion play in the novel? Do Maddy’s and Ben’s different faiths exacerbate the challenges in their marriage? If so, how?
9. What character did you find yourself the most worried about and why?
10. If you were in Maddy's situation, would you stay with Ben or leave him? Explain your reasons why. Did you find her decision surprising, given her profession? If so, how?
11. Each of the children react differently to Maddy’s accident. How do they cope, if at all? What do you think the long-term effects on Emma will be? Explain your reasons.
12. After reading the ending, what do you think is ahead for Maddy and her family? Was the ending satisfying?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by kathyp28 (see profile) 09/16/16

 
  "YuK!"by FriendshipSisters (see profile) 11/10/14

Very depressing and really sad. Found myself liking the husband more than any of the other characters, and don't think that is what the other was going for. Would not recommend.

 
  "Accident of Marriage"by petersos (see profile) 09/11/14

A dramatic and difficult story about an emotionally abusive marriage and what happens after a catastrophic accident. Well-written though a tale that is hard to contemplate!

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