A wife recounts the good and bad years of marriage in this debut memoir.
Schuldner had been using dating services for a number of years when in June 2003 she received a message from a man named Stephen. Stephen told her that he was surprised that someone so beautiful “wasn’t yet taken.” The two chatted over the phone and then arranged to meet. When the author first set eyes on Stephen, she was lost for words: “I felt as though my soul was talking to his soul, as if they knew each other, and had finally found one another.” Stephen later echoed this sentiment by unexpectedly saying “welcome home.” Both raised on Long Island in the 1960s, the two developed an instant bond, with Schuldner thinking of Stephen as “myself in the male form.” They were married in the fall of 2004. The memoir is a celebration of the strength of their love in the face of adversity. Following the death of her grandmother and a number of miscarriages, the author experienced psychosis and asked for a divorce, and Stephen underwent surgery for cancer. The book is a skeletal chronology of Schuldner’s marriage to date. The author consciously avoids literary embellishment. For instance, when she first meets Stephen, little physical description is offered beyond “he was absolutely grand.” But she does tend to include banal details: “I asked him what kind of car he drove, and he told me a Toyota Corolla. I said that I did, too, and mine was green.” The memoir passionately records such minutiae that are of great significance to Schuldner and her husband, but less so to general readers. Yet the author’s asides can also prove deeply touching: “One day, I said to Stephen, ‘I love you more today than I did yesterday.’ He liked it so much he took it and said it back to me for years.” In the closing chapter, the author notes that the book was a joy to write and hopes “it will bring our families joy to read.” Her writing achieves this goal, although besides those facing similar challenges, the work will likely struggle to attract a wide readership.
A heartfelt account of a marriage.