"Unhappily Ever After" employs three different narrative techniques to tell the story of Rachel Rothschild, her family and friends, the wealthy young man who will become her husband and their children. Seeking to establish her own identity, other than as her rich husband's consort, Rachel works hard at becoming an investigative journalist, and she is succeeding.. But then she experiences a trauma that threatens to destroy her sanity and marriage. Trying to recover her balance, Rachel, who had always been a star student, enters graduate school - in large part as a retreat from life and emotions she cannot control.
The story is told in four chapters or "books." The first book is an autobiography, begun when Rachel is expecting her first child. It starts with Rachel's tomboy childhood in Santa Monica, California, moves on to the development of a tight circle of girlfriends in junior high and high school and the angst and the sexual experimentation of teen-dom. As in real life, the first book surrounds Rachel not just with her girlfriends but with parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, each of whose stories is an element in Rachel's own story.
After entering the University of Colorado to room with her cousin, Yalie Goodman, Rachel is expelled following a drunk driving accident. She undergoes several months of difficult community service back in the Los Angeles area. Then she reenters college as a beginning freshman at UCLA and the following year is permitted by her parents to transfer to the University of California at Berkeley. There she pursues her goal of becoming a journalist and meets the young man, JJ Weiner, whom she will marry.
But the marriage will not take place until JJ completes his law degree and obtains an MBA. Meanwhile, he insists that Rachel complete her senior year at Berkeley, return to her hometown and begin her career. He also refuses to have sex with her until they are married, adding up to more than two years of frustration and bafflement for Rachel. Unwillingly, Rachel accepts JJ's edict because she is not strong enough to stand up to him.
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November 05, 2009
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