Let me introduce a book I published on Kindle last September, The Columnist. As its title suggests, this novel will include political and social opinions, analysis and scrutiny of today's events typical to any opinion page of a newspaper. Its main character, Jon, is an American columnist who writes many bold arguments on virtue, and yet through his craven actions in his personal life, he alludes himself to thinking that his family and marriage parallel those values he regularly writes about.
Yet real life situations are a very different matter. He believes he has the perfect family in a new land, Slovenia. In many respects he does. But his dominating mother who has a dark secret, his sister treated as an outcast, this family which is ultimately broken and with Jon now carrying its painful remnants that is threatening his own marriage. A visit with his mother in New York, pins the frustration he has with his own past:
“When I came here, I was thinking about when I was a kid, with dad...”
“Not about your mother?” she scolded. I let this go.
“No, when Claire and I were kids.”
“You were always a good boy.”
“What about Claire?” I interjected.
“What about her?”
“Why do you always talk down to her?”
“Talk down to her? Claire? She’s talked down to her mother since she was a little girl. I did everything to give her guidance, support, whatever she needed, yet she hated me anyway. It gets to the point when a mother has to decide either keep fighting or just accept it and let it go. That’s what I had to do. I just let her go.”
“I never saw it quite that way. She seems to need a little more love and respect from you. Maybe because of her face, you know, she has always been self-conscience about her looks, never as pretty as other girls.”
“Wow, it took you all this time to draw that conclusion?”
“I just wonder if you and dad were fair to her. I mean, when I was growing up, I had the privileges even though I was the youngest.
“And why not? You were good, smart, handsome and respectable. You were never any trouble. Look at you now, what you have accomplished in your career and family. I am very proud of you.”
“Except that I live in Slovenia.”
“Jon, I miss you very much. It is not easy for me that you are so far away.”
This is a story which many of us can relate to and all too familiar with. Family breakup and dysfunction have a lasting effect on people lives and society at large. How do we reconcile these important relationships in our lives? In The Columnist is takes a lot of courage and love.