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BY THE IOWA SEA by Joe Blair


A Memoir of Disaster and Love


Pub Date: March 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4516-3605-5
Publisher: Scribner

One man’s midlife crisis surrounding love, marriage and parenthood.

As a child, Blair imagined his adulthood including motorcycles and the freedom to come and go as he pleased. Years later, he was tied down with a heating-and-air-conditioning repair job, a wife, four children (one of them severely autistic), a mortgage and no motorcycle. He was living the placid life of a middle-aged man whose dreams had been set aside. Blair’s existence had settled into a daily rut, and he believed that only “an act of great faith or courage [would] change [his] circumstances when [his] life [was] nothing but a repetition.” Every day was centered on work and the constant struggle to help his autistic son maneuver through his life. Blair’s honest writing recounts the relentless need to be there for Michael through his seizures and tantrums, and the inner turmoil he felt toward his son—loving the child during tender moments of play and angry at other times when things just couldn’t be normal, which caused Blair to feel he was inadequate as a parent. The author’s need for a change became more urgent. Excessive drinking and sexual fantasies of his wife with another man were not enough, and Blair, desperate for an escape route, turned to another woman, finding passion and excitement in her arms. Internal confusion over his infidelity collided with the outer reality of his wife’s anger, and the resulting changes surprised even the author.

The author candidly examines his relationships with his wife and family and the changes they went through to stay together.