By Leo Tolstoy
Read How You Want, (2007)
EasyRead Large Edition edition, in 16 Point Font
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - April 8, 2010
Critics, such as John Bayley, tell us that Tolstoy disliked Family Happiness as soon as he completed it: "the main (reason) seems to have been because the story was made up." Tolstoy lacked experience with the events he was narrating. Tolstoy seems to be right. The story is well-written, but it does not fully explain the reaction of the husband in the tale.
The first half of the story details the developing love of a seventeen year old girl, who grew up secluded in the country, to a 36 year old business man, a friend of her father, a man more than twice her age, who had traveled much. The second half tells about her life after her marriage; both she and her husband are very much in love.
However, she discovers that she is bored with life and persuades her husband to live some months in the large city. She attends many social events there and experiences a life she only heard about, a life that her older husband had long ago experienced and no longer needed or desired. Her new life creates a rift between the couple. The husband clearly loves his wife and gives her all she desires, but the love changes. It dissolves into a love that many middle age couples experience.
She realizes her mistake and tries to reignite the former deeper happier love, but her husband, who insists that he loves her, tells her that there is no possibility to return to the first love. It is this decision by the husband or his insight that is not sufficiently explored.Family Happiness is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.