Saturday, October 07, 2006

Having it all?

Since it's the weekend, I thought some of you might like an online free read. This one's by Jenny Haddon, who's published by Harlequin Mills & Boon as Sophie Weston. Alice, the heroine, says that:
Some time in the sixties, some damn silly woman wrote a book saying women could have it all. Love. Family. High powered career. Great sex. And her own choice of hair colour thrown in. Women have been breaking their backs to do it ever since. And I'm here to tell you, it can't be done.'
She's got a point - to do things well takes a lot of time and commitment, and there are only 24 hours in a day. How many of us can be beautiful at all times, successful in a career and marriage, and also succeed as a Good Mother and a Domestic Goddess? I'm not sure anyone could do all that without at least some help. But, on the other hand, maybe Alice can have more than she thought she could.

Here's Jenny Haddon's short story - The Edward Lewis Gambit.

What do you think - can we have it all? Can we have more than we think we can? Do you prefer a fairy-tale ending where the heroine does get it all? Or do you prefer a more realistic ending where she has to make compromises, or get help from others? Or am I just being defeatist in not believing one can have it all?

If the heroine does compromise in some areas of her life, in which areas should it be? Obviously, this being romance, she can't give up on love, but what about children? or career? or household chores?

And in general in romance, does the hero get to 'have it all'? If he does, is this realistic? If it is, is this at least in part because when a man has it 'all', he's not expected to be a Domestic God, and because the role of a Good Father is less strenuous than that of a Good Mother? For a man does 'having it all' include having a wife who'll take over the domestic chores and household responsibilities, whereas a woman who wants to 'have it all' is expected to perform all the traditional feminine roles in addition to succeeding in her career?


  1. I finally got a chance to read this story. It's pretty good!

    To answer your question, I don't think men even think of "having it all." It seems to them life is a series of goals to achieve: get a girlfriend, have sex, get into a good school and/or get a good job, get married, have kids (optional)Then, they seem to tend to be happy until one of those things develops a problem. Did Haroun of this story worry about having it all? He couldn't have Alice, but substituted a lot of blondes for her. Twelve years is a lot of time to sublimate your desire for someone else. He didn't seem to let work get in the way of HIS social life. Good story, though.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the story, Jennifer. I did, which is why I wanted to share it. It's not in the same style as the books I've read by Jenny Haddon in her Sophie Weston persona. The Sophie Weston stories weren't in the first person, and they had relatively young heroines with successful older men as the heroes. Of course I can't draw conclusions about all her novels based on reading just 2 of them, but that was the impression I had. The short story's somewhat different.

    Now that you raise the question of Haroun's behaviour, it does make me wonder why Haroun, who's described as being really persistent, waited so many years to make his feelings known. But I suppose he's also described as having unusual thought processes, so maybe he had reasons which made sense to him.