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The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County

I’ve been searching for what type of fiction book I want to write. Oops, found it.

You know when reviewers write, “I couldn’t put it down!” and you think that it’s nice and all, their enthusiasm, but c’mon, really?

I fell asleep during the moving last night (yeah, well…) so when we finally went to bed at 1:30 AM, I wasn’t all that sleepy.

“Ooh, I get to read a bit more of “The Bridges of Madison County,” I thought to myself.

More often than not, and I dare say this as an author, but reading at night puts me to sleep.

I prop my Kindle up on a pillow and I’m on another pillow. This way, I can keep reading with my eyes open until that smooth transition where I do that neat trick of reading with my eyes closed.

Maybe it was the late-night nap.

Maybe it was the characters.

Or the setting. Or the movie (which I’ve seen).

Or even that I’ve read the book before, know what’s going to happen, but STILL want to keep reading.

How can that be?

My son:

  1. See the score of the basketball game and
  2. Doesn’t want/care to watch the game.

I know EXACTLY what’s going to happen in the book. Yet I want to read it again anyway.

— Can’t Be Said Very Often, Right?

But what is it, what’s really at the heart of the story?

  • Missed chances
  • That moment when your life might change
  • When it might take such a detour from where it’s going that it’s irreversible–and that might be a great thing
  • It might be a terrible thing
  • You’re not going to know
  • Ever
  • Unless you …
  • Decide

Could it be about decision making? How do our decisions affect our lives both short-term and long-term?

But let’s go back to the cornfields of Iowa for a moment.

She was from Italy. She had a life as a young woman in Italy. Then comes the American farmer to whisk her away to the American Dream.

Yet is it a dream? Or is it a nightmare?

No, it’s not a nightmare.

But it’s also not quite what she had dreamed.

Then comes Robert Kincaid. He offers her a ticket out, a one-way free pass to, possibly, that life she never had.

Her husband, as she puts it, will be destroyed.


My kids use that word in video games. Blood-Thirsty spouses use it in divorce proceedings.

But she loved Richard. To destroy him was the last thing she wanted.

It was a question of how much did she love her own self and how much she loved Richard.

He would never live down the gossip in the town. “Live down”? He might have never lived through it.


It was her life or his. What does she choose? How does she choose?

There are more lives at stake: her kids. Robert.

Is it all really so complicated?


Which makes it a page-turner.

I know what’s going to happen.

I’m going to read it anyway.

The writing is delightful. The characters come through the page and touch me. I want to feel what they’re feeling, see what they’re seeing, and live through what they’re living.

I don’t envy Francesca’s decision.

One of the last scenes when she has her hand on the door handle. She could burst out and change her life–and the lives of many around her–forever.

She chooses the smart path, makes the rational decision. She does what’s right.

What’s right?

What’s wrong?

How do we know?

If I could write a book with a small percentage of the story, the passion, the love, the hand-on-the-door-handle tension, I would be a happy camper.

Watch out, here I come.

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