Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Loves You Best by Tess Stimson

Who Loves You Best by Tess Stimson is an exceptional novel filled with unforgettable characters and an indefinite amount of suspense. The novel revolves around the complex choices that women must make for their relationships and motherhood, in addition to the countless unexpected events which open our eyes to what really matters in life. Clare Elias is a profound entrepreneur who owns seven flower shops around her town. She has everything she needs: a luxurious house in the upper skirts of town, a handsome husband, and enough money to last any family three centuries. She has already mastered the business world, so how hard can motherhood possibly be? Clare soon learns, however, that motherhood is not about being able to control every event and predetermine the outcome of each decision that she makes. Clare gives birth to two twin babies in the middle of inner-city England, beginning a stream of unfortunate events that throw Clare’s life into a hole of chaos and confusion. She has sworn that she will never hand over her children to a nanny the way that her insensitive and inattentive mother did. Before long, however, Clare returns to her work and invests in a beautiful young nanny named Jenna. Clare has no idea that bringing a stranger into her house will change everything as she knows it. Clare is forced to realize that letting another woman raise her children involves flexibility and patience. She is not prepared, however, for the day that her daughter calls Jenna “mom.” Soon after, Clare’s husband becomes distant and secretive, having smuggled 1.8 million dollars from Clare’s business to cover a debt made by excessive gambling at his work. Worst of all, Clare’s baby girl Poppy gets sick. Clare is accused of trying to poison her children and is placed under arrest. Clare grows close with Jenna as they begin to share in both friendship and love for the children. It is only because of this strong bond that Clare is able to survive through her husband running away with her children and also adapt to life as a single mother after the separation with her spouse. By the end of the novel, Clare is finally able to accept the beauty in unpredictability as well as learn the importance of love and putting her family and friends before her career. Most importantly, Clare is able to be satisfied with her imperfections and settle her past by letting go of painful memories as well as forgiving herself for her mistakes. She is able to learn the importance of independence but also understand the human need for partnerships and stable relationships.
1. At the end of the novel, Clare realizes that not being present during the majority of the first few months of the twins’ life has had an impact on her children. The babies both recognize Jenna as their prime caretaker and develop a deep connection with the nanny over their mother. Clare, however, still feels completely obligated to continue her overbearing involvement in the business world. The choice between building relationships or following her passion becomes excruciatingly difficult. If you were forced to chose between what you are passionate about or the relationships in your life, what would you chose and why?
2. Although Jenna never gets emotionally involved with Clare’s husband, Clare continuously wonders if Jenna and Marc are hiding an affair as Marc becomes more and more distant. As Marc becomes secretive, Clare and Jenna also become closer. Clare sometimes wonders if Jenna’s supposed trustworthiness is an attempt to cover the truth. Would you ever allow someone, such as a nanny, to become so intimately involved in your family relationships? Would you be willing to trust that your spouse is remaining faithful despite the incessant temptation present in your household?

13 comments:

allie s 11-12 said...

Well to answer the first question, i would have a hard time deciding between my passion and relationships. But know i would try to balance both of them. I would hate being away from my kids and my passion so this would be hard, but i might have to choose my relationships.

Heather M. 13-14 said...

to answer question 2, i dont think i would ever let someome become intimately involved with my family. When i eventually dede to start a family, it will be because im willin got put in the time and effort needed to raise my family my way. I wouldnt want someine to be with my kids/family and raising them their way, because it's my family and its my responsibility to spend time with them and be the primary caretaker.

Sydney C.13-14 said...

I would definitely choose to build my relationships before pursuing my passions in life. No one can survive and be sane without loving relationships in their life,and in a situation such as Claire's, where it is such a crucial time in her children's lives, she can not afford to be distant.

I agree with Heather in the fact that if i were choosing to start a family, I would do it at a time that wouldn't be conflicting with my passions. I wouldn't expect Clare to drop everything in her life for the twins, but if the children do not view her as the mother figure in their lives, there is certainly a problem.

Brad S 11-12 said...

1. Relationships should be your passion, i believe. If you're not passionate about the people around you, why be with them? Wouldn't it be lying if you said you loved someone who you weren't passionate about? Passion can be for many different things, but it should also be included in relationships. If you were to pick between your life goals, and the bonds that you could build, i don't believe that you could be truely happy. Finding the midpoint between what you "live" for, and giving "life" to relationships, both figuratively and in context, is the only way to achieve true happiness. I would pick both, just because i don't do life changing actions that i am not passionate about.

KatherineS13-14 said...

1) I would never completely pick one over the other. At certain times in my life, my passion might play a more dominant role, but I would always make time for the relationships I have with those close to me. If and when I get married and have children, those relationships will always play the more dominant role over my other passions, because I would be passionate about keeping those relationships strong.
2) If I ever had someone like a nanny in my life for an extended period of time, they would probably end up being involved in personal relationships. However, I would only hire someone that I completely trust and I would only be married to someone that I know would never cheat on me. So yes, I would be willing to trust that my spouse is remaining faithful to me.

Steve S 13-14 said...

I would choose both because I would be passionate about the relationships in my life, any children of mine would be my pride and joy and nothing would get in the way of them.

Given certain circumstances, I think having a nanny would be okay, however, it would take a lot for that to happen. And I would trust my wife in any situation, that's what marriage is.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

Sydney-I agree with you and Heather completely. When a woman chooses to start a family, she should be completely ready to devote her time to her children. Otherwise, she should face that fact that she is simply not ready to start a family. Having children is something that takes time, patience, devotion, and certainly not a mother who only pays half attention.

In addition, I agree that humans are loving and sociable beings that have a need to be nurtured and cared for. People need to pay attention to the relationships in their lives, because in the end, they are all that is left.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

Katherine-I really like the way you thought of that. Although it would be difficult to always know that there is someone who hold the potential for so much destruction in the relationship between you and your spouse, there should be trust. Always. Without trust, there cannot be a marriage in the first place. Trust is what marriage is built on.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

Steve-From a males perspective, I think it would help to avoid the hiring of nanny if the wife has the father's support and constant assistance, like you said. Two people should be able to want to make compromises in each other's lives to help bring up the children which are shared between the two.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

Brad-I agree completely and you said it beautifull. I think humans tend to forget that they need to find that balance in life which is not only self satisfying but also allows us to fully embrace and enjoy the relationships in our lives. This includes passion in additoin to being able to find time for something that we as individuals love.

Dana D 11-12 said...

1. I agree with Brad on the fact that your relationships are part of your passion. You shouldn't have to choose one over the other. Life is about being able to balance the things you love and the amount of time spent with each. Being a wife and mother doesn't mean spending every waking second with your family. And the same goes with having a career. If you are truely passionate about both they should be able to coexist.

Emily C. 13-14 said...

2. i dont believe i would let anyone else get involved. i wouldn't want to to basically give my children away and have another prson take car of them. i would want to make sure my children know that i am their mother and i would do everything to car for them. i would hope that when i get married i completely trust my husband enough to even when there is temptations, he doesnt go for them and remains faithful

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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