Though we all loved The Financial Lives of the Poets, our book club discussions did get a bit heated when it came to certain issues in the book, and how the main character dealt with his responsibilities. Two of our members, Meghan and Jason, may have had to be separated at one point… But now we are letting them throw down, in our first POINT/COUNTER-POINT DEBATE:
In one corner we have Body Pump extraordinaire (currently lifting heavier weights than any other HCC Body Pump participant), resident feminist and vegan Meghan.
In the other corner we have… Jason.
MEGHAN: Okay, well, I’ll start by saying that while I generally loved Matt Prior and felt lots of sympathy for him, the one thing that really annoyed me was the fact that he kept his wife in the dark about their money problems. It actually made me really angry when I put myself in the position of wondering what would happen if I were married and if my husband knew that we were about to lose our house, but didn’t tell me. Obviously, the wife is accountable in that she obviously isn’t looking over the finances, but presumably that’s because she thinks everything is okay (or, as okay as it can be with Matt out of work).
JASON: Right, I get that point of view and there really is no defending Matt not telling his wife. However, I also can identify with the idea of him being the family saviour and saving his wife the heartache and worry over their financial issues. Since he was the one who quit his job to start up a completely ridiculous financial poetry business and put the family into this mess in the first place, he should be the one to get them out of it, no matter what the cost. I mean this just adds to him as a tragic, yet stupid andidentifiable character. There’s no telling what I would do in order to keep my family safe and provide for them properly. Would I keep my wife in the dark? I would hope not. But, do I understand his thought process? Yes. Could I ask myself any more questions? No.
MEGHAN: If I were Matt’s wife and he told me that he desired to be “our family saviour” I would probably throw-up. Perhaps he could settle for just not ruining the family? Or, better yet, if he has some sort of desire to be a saviour, he could start by getting a job? Unfortunately good intentions don’t pay the mortgage. I mean, you don’t seriously identify Matt as someone who would do anything in order to keep his family safe and provide for them properly, do you? He’s obviously misguided, but if he thinks that by not working, not seriously looking for a job, not facing his mortgage problems head on, and instead taking up with drug dealers that he is doing everything to keep his family safe and provided for, then he would probably be the stupidest man alive. I think Matt’s story is not one of a man looking to do “anything” for his family, but a story about a man who is facing problems that he cannot handle, so he ignores them.
JASON: You have a point that Matt is a man who is facing problems he cannot handle, but I don’t think he ignores them. To me it seemed like he put the most pressing at the forefront and then let the others, which were piling up, slip out of his grasp. And actually I do see him as someone who would do anything in order to keep his family safe, the man turned into a drug dealer! I’m not defending his actions or the keeping issues from his wife, but I do sympathize with his thought process. He would never tell his wife he desired to be the family saviour because it seemed to me that he would suffer through the trauma alone just so his family wouldn’t have to feel any of it. He was just a guy who got caught up in several situations that got way out of control at the same time. From what I gathered he had the best intentions to provide a better life for his family, but as you said was misguided and it all fell apart.
MEGHAN: He won’t be ‘suffering through the trauma alone’ when him, his children, and his wife are kicked out of the house.
JASON: Come on, you don’t even find even a trace of romance in the idea of a husband trying to keep his family afloat, no matter how he does it? Yes he made mistakes, yes he went about it an odd way, but I still have a bit of a soft spot for the family man trying to put the burden on all his shoulders, to attempt to keep the same worries away from his loved ones. As a single male, I find the idea of taking incredible burden on ones’ self in order to keep it off of others, a noble action, not necessarily right, but at least noble.
MEGHAN: I think we both can agree on two things – Matt is misguided, and Matt is not trying to be a bad guy. I guess where we’ll have to agree to disagree is that I’m not completely romanced by the idea of a man trying to shoulder the burden of life’s hardships to ‘protect’ his family. Nothing Matt does protects his family, except for from some immediate worry. Ultimately, they all have to deal with the fall-out and he does not protect them from losing their house. As a single woman, I find it much more romantic to think of a husband that would want to be my partner – someone who would trust that I am strong enough and capable enough to help when things get hard.
Agree with Meghan? Agree with Jason? Have your own points to add? Let us know! Want to hear what YOU have to say.