Maggie was a beautiful and capable woman. Since she grew up in a poor and dysfunctional family, she got married very young just to get out. Several years later, with two children in tow, she divorced her husband and left. Since she didn’t have any income, the judge ruled that the two children should live with her husband. Maggie subsequently enrolled in a university. Although she’s very smart, she was more interested in finding a husband. She met Philip and started a relationship. After a while, they broke up. Maggie wanted the relationship to work–so she faked pregnancy and got Philip to marry her.
Several years later, after two real pregnancies and abortions, Philip insisted that they divorce. She tried to commit suicide but was saved by vigilant friends. Since she’s a very capable woman, she found a good job in a publishing house and earned a good income. However she didn’t want the divorce and she tortured Philip on paying alimony.
Then one day, she’s out partying with a friend, who drove the car in a reckless way. They smashed into a structure on the roadside and she died.
Marji was a beautiful, sweet, and very good tempered woman. She was an heiress, with plenty of money of her own. She’s Philip’s girlfriend after Philip separated from Maggie. She’s so afraid that she’s going to fail college that she never dared to attend classes. However Philip insisted that she took courses in NYU. She did and became one of the top students. However despite her wealth and her education, she aspired to nothing in her life except to marry Philip. However Philip got tired of her after two or three years, and dumped her. Marji also tried to commit suicide, but was saved by others who helped her vomit all the pills she had swallowed.
Poor Maggie and Poor Marji. Two women who just couldn’t see their own value other than being Philip’s partners. I really want to shout at them: wake up, wake up. You are making yourself miserable.
This is from the biography of Philip Roth, which was written by Blake Bailey. I have gone through one third of the book, but very strangely, my attention couldn’t be focused on Philip, an author I didn’t like before. (However two months ago one of his books was on sale in Audible and I bought it and really liked it.)
For this biography, my attention has been more drawn to the unfortunate women who were in Philip’s orbit. They were just one train-wreck after another. Why? Why? The book seems to say (and I believe it or probably I am too gullible) that they just couldn’t leave Philip alone even though he couldn’t make them happy. They wanted to give up their beauty, wit, jobs, income, or even life just to be with Philip even though they knew his manifold faults and his indifference to them. Why? Some may think that he’s a good catch, with all the fame and everything, but he was very difficult to live with and his philandering amounted to an astonishing degree.
I have two thirds of the book to go and I am sure I am going to find more women like them in the rest of the book. I sincerely hope that the “me too” movement has reduced the number of women like Maggie and Marji.