An Ideal for Living is very near to my own experience: I don’t like myself so much, and of course I blaim on my overweight all my relationship problem; but since I’m also able to see outside my shell, I know that is not the reason, or at least not the main reason. There are overweight women who bring around their kg with thoughtlessness, and exactly for that reason they are basically as if they don’t have it. Appearance is not all in life, and when it becomes the only driven force, there is probably something wrong. True, it’s entirely possible that people around you are not helping, but probably you need to find the strenght inside you before being able to fight your own issues.
As I said, Grace is not only one of the main character of this story, she is probably also the strongest voice, or at least the one voice who I listened better than her brother Robert’s. For her, I would not classify this as a gay novel, or not only. Grace is a desperate housewife, married to her college sweetheart who stopped to be that long ago; it’s not that Grace was totally faithful herself, but until the escapades from both side were enough discreet that they could simply ignore them, Grace was, if not happy, at least comfortable. When Rich becomes to have more on your face attitude, than Grace started to question her own attractiveness. As I said, Rich, her own brother and her mother didn’t help in reassuring Grace that appearance is not all, but Grace’s issues have a deeper root, probably dating back to her own relationship with her father.
The other voice in the story is that of Robert, Grace’s gay brother: he is in lust with James, a buddy friend one can’t really call boyfriend, and I think he never was; as Grace, Robert is convinced that all his trouble in having a long term relationship is due to his weight. Moreover Robert is not used to be overweight, he was always an athletic guy until college and so, in a way, he is not used to his actual appearance. Robert thinks he wants to change to conquer James, but I think instead Robert’s true reason is completely different: he doesn’t care much about James, but more of himself. Even when his own sister falls down, even when he realizes that James is starting a downfall spiral, neither then Robert understands that balancing everything with appearance is not trying to resolve his issue, but hiding them behind a pretty exterior.
Marshall Moore is not kind with his own characters, and by the way, there is no salvation or repentance for them; this is not a quest towards understanding the real meaning of life, but more a confirmation that modern society is pretty much fake and without true feeling.
Amazon: An Ideal for Living
Amazon Kindle: An Ideal for Living