Author Note

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Did Sherman and Edna Have a 
Dysfunctional Relationship?

Note: You might like to have read the book before you read this.

I got a chuckle from a recent review of "An Uncertain Justice."

"Although I recognize that this story is based in fact, the lack of compromise between Edna and Sherman leaves the reader wondering ... whether we should feel relieved that poor Edna has escaped her sinful family and will be surrounded by right-minded folk, or whether we should expect that she will bring some levity to Sherman's puritan life."

If you too noticed the lack of compromise in the couple and had an uneasy feeling that trouble might lie ahead for Sherman and Edna, pat yourself on the back. This was intentional. That is who they were. My goal with "An Uncertain Justice" was to write a book that didn't sugar coat my family but portrayed them with their loveable and less-than-loveable qualities. Sometimes saints can be sinners and sinners can be saints.

Personally, I love books and movies that make you think. I hear in Australia that's considered a mature way to end a story when it trails with an ellipses (...) and allows the reader to extrapolate what might happen in the future. It creates discussion and keeps the reader thinking about the story long after it is over (which most people tell me they do with "An Uncertain Justice").

In the U.S. we tend to like nice, neat, wrapped-up little packages. But life simply isn't that way, and "An Uncertain Justice" is about life. There are dysfunctional relationships. Very few people "live happily ever after" on a bed of roses. Most people marry in a whirl of idealism and hormones and wake up in a few months to discover the other person is human and has flaws that drive them batty. 

In real life, Sherman and Edna, did have their battles, but they stuck together. Sherman's insistence that Edna not work outside the home led to her feeling stifled and limited. As far as I know, she never considered herself "rescued from a sinful family." Most of the time she felt insecure and looked-down-upon by her sisters because they had jobs and she didn't. They, on the other hand, held an unspoken envy for her stable home and a man who provided well for her. The grass is always greener...

Edna did carry her fun-loving nature throughout her life, but she wrestled with bouts of depression and anger -- which she did unleash on Sherman -- because she was never fully able to express what I suspect was an entrepreneurial nature.

Let me give you an example. Sherman was tight with money -- especially with anything he didn't see as valuable. Edna wanted a new dining room suit, but Sherman wouldn't give her the money for it. So she raised chickens and saved her egg money until she bought the dining room suit herself. Rather than congratulating her for her ingenuity and her ability to save, Sherman gave her a hard time for wasting her money on something so frivolous. His controlling nature, which you see in the story, didn't suddenly disappear because they got married.

As a side note, I inherited that dining room suit. I still own the china cabinet and intend to keep it as long as it holds together. It represents a piece of my grandmother that I see in myself -- determination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. It reminds me how incredibly blessed I am to be able to live in a time when I can fully express those qualities.

Now, did Edna always take it lying down? No, she did not. A hint of her reactions to Sherman's control is evident in a remark he made. He and my cousin came in the house to find Edna sleeping. Sherman commented, "She looks like an angel when she sleeps. Too bad all that disappears when she wakes up."

Now, I would like to go on record that I never saw any bickering between these two, it wasn't like they fought cats and dogs. Rather, like most married couples, life is not perfect. People have issues. There are those who like to be in control of everything. And there are others who like to "go along to get along" yet erupt in flashes of temper when enough is enough. 

I'm not condoning this as an acceptable dynamic, but it happens -- it did happen. So, if you saw this foreshadowed in the story, pat yourself on the back. I meant to do that!

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