Library Moments: Dysfunctional couples

angry heartBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

Sunday is Valentine’s Day but rather than looking at books where the characters lived happily ever after, we thought we’d look at books that show us “dysfunctional couples.”  One of the best examples of one of these couples is Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind, which I will be talking about later.

There are many other great examples of dysfunctional couples.  Today on Library Moments Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each talk about a book with one such relationship.

die for youSherrill Sherwood, Collections Development: Die For You, a novel by Lisa Unger, tells the story of Isabel and Marcus Raine. Isabel thought she had everything – a successful career, a supportive family, and a happy marriage to the man she loved. Then one ordinary morning, her husband, Marcus, picks up his briefcase, kisses her good-bye, and simply vanishes. That day, all her calls to him go straight to voicemail; the messages she leaves at his office go unreturned, too. Panicking after finally receiving a call from his cell phone in which all she can hear is a man’s terrified cry, Isabel calls the police but they aren’t interested. Men leave, they tell her, they leave all the time. Desperate to find her husband, Isabel races to his office. Instead of finding him, she finds herself in the middle of an FBI raid. Hours later, she awakens in the hospital with a severe concussion and a homicide detective by her bedside waiting to question her. Det. Grady Crowe informs Isabel that not only is her husband missing but he’s been lying about his past, having stolen the real Marcus Raine’s identity years earlier. Despite a text from Marcus urging her to forget about him, Isabel vows to track him down even if it means risking everything – including her own life.

harry potter deathly hallowsErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: In the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, no relationship is so contentious in fandom as that between Hermione Granger and Ron Weasly. The bane of Hermione/Harry shippers – shipper being fanspeak for one who supports a character relationship written or not – how the no-nonsense, intellectually sharp, straight A, over achieving Hermione could fall for the bumbling, goofball, take the C-minus, Ron was beyond many readers. And indeed, Hermione and Ron’s relationship was far from smooth sailing. Although clearly taken with Ron’s sense of humour, Hermione could be put off by his ill-timed buffoonery, and although clearly admiring of Hermione’s intellect, Ron could be put off by her criticisms. It came as little surprise for most when – spoiler alert – after surviving Voldemort’s onslaught in the Deathly Hallows that Hermione and Ron are seen as happily married adults at platform 9 ¾ sending their own ginger haired progeny off to Hogwarts. If their love could survive a Wizard War, then certainly it could survive the ups and downs of their odd-couple-ness. But years later, in a 2014 interview between JK Rowling and Emma Watson, the two discussed the fact that Rowling herself considered the Hermione/Ron relationship a mismatch, and regretted marrying them in the conclusion – that it was a young relationship and for Hermione, Ron probably should

ron and hermione

Hermione and Ron, were they really meant to be? (Image retrieved from Buzzfeed)

have been relegated to high school boyfriend status. It should be no surprise that Hermione/Harry shippers rejoiced – at long last vindicated that there could be a secret relationship between Hermione and the boy-who-lived. But Hermione/Ron shippers take heart, Rowling conceded that while they would certainly endure their share of dysfunction, a little couples counselling may just do the trick for Hermione and Ron’s marriage. Hm… I wonder what couples counseling for wizards would look like?

gone with the windBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Gone with the Wind was written in 1936 by Margaret Mitchell, it received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1937 and was made into a feature length film in 1939. The story is set in Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled but resilient daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after the Civil War. Written from the perspective of the slaveholder, its portrayal of slavery and African Americans is controversial. However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white. Scarlett’s love/hate interest throughout the book is Rhett Butler to whom she is married for a time. The movie version of this couple is played by Vivien Leigh, who won a best actress Oscar for it, and Clark Gable. The two are decidedly one of the most memorable couples from movie and book history. Mitchell left the ending of the story speculative for the reader; however she was often asked what became of her lovers, Rhett and Scarlett. She replied, “For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult.”  An interesting answer, but one that gives an indication of how dysfunctional this couple really was. Haliburton County Public Library has the book, the movie as well as a number of spin offs.

Hopefully Valentine’s Day was better for you than all of the couples we have talked about today.  Of course all three of us are in perfect relationships and no-one would ever consider us difficult. That’s it for this week’s episode of Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM February 14th – 20th, 2016.


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