A divorced mother explores the dating scene and herself in this debut memoir.
Binns, a 33-year-old clairvoyant, left her husband of 12 years after feeling invisible. In her book, she describes the dizzying succession of high-drama relationships that followed, from which she protected her 2-year-old son, Shane. Bouncing between overlapping men, the author assessed each one with sarcasm, self-doubt, and more than a little prickliness. (“What cave had he crawled out of?” she wondered when asked to explain her clairvoyance training.) She recalls alternately love-bombing and punishing her dithering partners, asking them to remember her birthday, then removing all traces of them in her life—then checking to see if they noticed. Binns begged for attention, then ignored phone calls; forgave—or rather, overlooked—traits that later repulsed her; and ascribed motivations to men without discussion. The author recounts that her writing and painting, moments with her son, and the occasional true intimacy—sometimes with Vietnam veteran Steve—provided some joy. She eventually shed her insecurity and alienation, confronted her memories of her parents’ terrible fights, endured two deaths, and found meaning in being a mother. In her wide-ranging memoir, Binns’ writing style is both canny and witty. She delivers acerbic comments about her own behavior (“It made me queasy to think of sex as payment, but it wasn’t as if I wasn’t getting anything out of that”). But her self-loathing and insatiable approval-seeking eventually become a bit oppressive. Self-obsessed (“He did not love me enough to…love himself”), hypersensitive to rejection, and quickly immersed in liaisons, she would find fault and tear up mementos while hiding her anger. Such morbid loneliness and interpersonal myopia bred contradictions. “How dare he judge me?” she asked about a man questioning her having an affair while she was married. Yet she considered another man’s extramarital turmoil “laughable.” She also discusses her so-called friends, who “tuned into my life for their weekly entertainment.” In these pages, the author genuinely relates her suffering and how she safeguarded her son’s welfare, and the book ends strongly on a ray of hope. But many readers will likely find it difficult to follow Binns’ painful journey.
A candid but bumpy account of a woman’s search for happiness.