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01 December 2010

The Man I Should Have Married, by Pamela Redmond Satran

Should Have, Could Have, Would Have.......

Shocked when her husband of ten years, Frank, announces that he is leaving, Kennedy Andrews must pick up the pieces of her life and start over.  With a teen aged daughter in open rebellion, partly because of the separation of the only parents she's known, and in part from curiosity at finding her biological father, Kennedy agrees to help Maya locate him.  When both Maya and Amanda, the younger daughter, visit Frank for a weekend, Kennedy decides to revisit the neighborhood she used to live in with Marco, Maya's father, and then alone with Maya after their breakup.  Walking the changed streets, she hopes to rediscover the bold independence she felt during that time of her life.  But Kennedy gets more than she bargained for when she visits McGlynn's, the restaurant and bar she worked at all those years ago, for her former boss, Declan McGlynn, is still the man that sets her heart a flutter, and he's single. 

Kennedy had loved Declan all the years of their close working friendship, and she knew exactly the charmer he was as well as his love-them-and-leave-them attitude, which is why she disappeared from his life after sleeping with him ten years ago and married Frank.  Now, Kennedy is fairly sure she doesn't want to live her life "playing it safe" as she examines her past choices in response to seeing Marco, Frank, and Declan, the men she has loved and lost.

Pamela Satran's, The Man I Should Have Married, is a wonderful story in respect to a woman re-evaluating her life's choices, second guessing herself as she starts over, and re-discovering the woman within the wife and mother.  Satran blended realistically the mixture of joy at new found freedom, the fear of being alone, and the confusing world of love and sex for the woman re-entering it after so many years.

Satran tackles a difficult subject in this book, single mother/fatherhood, which is a topic I usually don't enjoy reading about; however, once I pushed aside my recalcitrance, I did enjoy the story with a few exceptions.  Maya, Kennedy's teen aged daughter was a bit over the top.  I appreciated her rebellion to a point, (not everyone has the "perfect" child....whatever that means.), but at times I felt like she needed her face slapped. (Maybe not politically correct, but honest)  I would have liked to see Kennedy assume the role of parent instead of friend.  Too often, Satran's main character goes along with her daughter's wishes to "keep her", and I found that disturbing, as this was primarily a story about Kennedy finding strength and taking control of her life, which she does in all areas except with her oldest daughter.  Satran did tone Maya down considerably, and it did somewhat marginalize the issue; nonetheless, this broad wanted Kennedy to command more respect from her daughter.

The main character's love interests, both past and present, were quite different from one another and provided convenient avenues for Kennedy to explore the good, and not so good, reasons why she loved these men along with the effects of her cumulative choices.  Declan and Marco were far more interesting characters than was Frank, something I believe the author intended.  I would have liked to have known Declan McGlynn a bit better, there being a romance between the Irishman and Kennedy, but Satran's focus is primarily on what her heroine thinks, desires, hopes, and fears as she discovers herself anew and builds the life she wants.

 Worth reading, The Man I Should Have Married, by Pamela Redmond Satran is a quirky tale based on the experiences of women beginning anew.

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