The Things We Keep Hidden

Book Discussion

Many of the conflicts that arose after Joe's death in Seré Prince Halverson's The Underside of Joy were due to the things that people kept hidden. There were things of which people did not speak and yet their presence was felt. These hidden things shaped their lives.

Joe's family did not speak of his grandfathers' internment during WWII. They did not speak of how his grandfather was forced to leave his house without his shoes. They did not speak of how both grandfathers came back from internment and were never quite the same. They did not discuss the name and contents of the family store changed or how English became the language they spoke at home, not Italian.

Ella did not speak of how her father died and guilt she carried about his heart attack. Joe didn't say how much he didn't want to run the family store and David did not discuss how much he wished to run it. Paige didn't talk about her mother and how she feared she was turning into her. Joe didnt tell anyone that Paige wanted contact with the children or why she left.


Credit: Andy Rennie on Flickr

All these things were left unsaid by the characters in the book. I think we often fear to speak of the unhappy things, because to do so makes them too real. We put them in a box at the back of our lives and keep them secret and hidden. But by keeping all of these things unspoken the characters in this book gave those secrets power -- the power to negatively impact their lives. It was only after they acknowledged and faced it that they were able to move forward.

Is something holding you back? What can you do to move forward?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.


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