What Does Independence Mean To You?

Book Discussion

At some point, we all strive for a little independence in our lives. We want to make our own decisions -- call the shots. We want to control our own destiny. Eva, the main character in Sylvia Day's Reflected in You, craved independence from an early age, in large part due to the fact that in many ways her mother was dependent on the men in her life.

"Monica Tramell Barker Mitchell Stanton was very, very good at being a trophy wife. She knew precisely was expected of her and delivered without fail. Although she'd been divorced twice, both times had been by her choice and both divorces had left her exes despondent over losing her. I didn't think less of my mother, because she gave as good as she got and didn't take anyone for granted, but I'd grown up striving for independence. My right to say no was my most valued possession." Page 23

At times, I found it difficult to remember that Eva really considered herself an independent woman. Her mother and step-father paid for her New York City apartment, though they had a good reason for doing so. They wanted to be sure she was safe and they had a legitimate reason for fearing about her safety. At the same time, Eva didn't take that safety for granted and pushed herself to learn how to defend herself should she ever be attacked.


Image credit: sboneham on Flickr

She also didn't want to consider herself a trophy wife or girlfriend, yet she was in a relationship with the kind of man one would expect to have that kind of relationship. On top to that, Gideon was an exceptionally controlling individual. Yet as much as Eva craved a relationship with Gideon and did sometimes cave to his demands, she also pushed back a lot. She argued with him. She refused to use his car service. She said no.

Eva could have said no to her parents about her apartment but it gave them peace of mind. She could have said no to a heck of a lot of things that Gideon wanted to control, but she pushed back. Even within their sexual relationship, Eva had a safeword that allowed her to say no and know that it would be honored.

It could be easy to dismiss Eva as someone who was not independent, but it becomes more difficult once you consider her personal definition of what independence means. For Eva, being independent didn't mean that she had to provide everything on her own or that she wouldn't make compromises. Eva's definition of what it means to be independent is simply the ability and right to say no. By that definition, she succeeded.

What is your personal definition of independence?

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


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