Sunday, July 20, 2014

A review of Sarah Tate's Renaissance: A Journal of Discovery...

A couple of weeks ago, I re-posted a review I wrote of Sarah Tate's e-book, Web of Lies.  Sarah Tate's first book about how she had a whirlwind romance with a man who turned out to be a narcissist.  She had three children with him before they divorced.  British born Tate had a good career in Switzerland when she met her ex-husband.  He had wined and dined her, convincing her that he was a brilliant businessman.  She got caught up in the romance and when she got pregnant, decided to stop working.

Tate bought into her ex husband's lies, believing his stories about his first wife being a bitter, vindictive, crazy woman and his second wife being mentally ill.  She thought that maybe she was the right woman for him.  Not long after their marriage, his true colors came out and life quickly went downhill.  I was fascinated by Web of Lies and decided to see if Tate had written anything more.

Last night, I finished reading Renaissance: A Journal of Discovery, Tate's follow-up to her first book.  In her first book, Tate calls her husband "Bill".  In her second book, she refers to him as the "basement dweller", because he took up residence in their basement for awhile.  Renaissance is about the aftermath of Tate's divorce in Switzerland and her struggle to reclaim her life.  While I can't say I found this volume quite as interesting as the first book was, I did find it intriguing because Tate writes about the Swiss welfare system and the "help" she received in the wake of her divorce.

Evidently Switzerland has a welfare program that doesn't necessarily help women like Sarah Tate.  She writes of the infuriating way she was treated by social workers who wanted her to go back to work through a "scheme" designed for people who had no skills and had not been working for years.  Sarah Tate had been a successful and well-educated member of the work force before her unfortunate marriage.  Yet the social workers insisted that she needed to be doing government subsidized jobs doing simple and menial tasks that were way below her qualifications.  The welfare system had nothing to help a woman like Sarah Tate; it was truly for the down and out.

Since I have social work training, I was interested in how the Swiss system works.  In some ways, the Swiss system seems rather humane.  Tate was given time off and support from her canton because she had very young children.  However, she was treated with condescension by the people tasked to help her.  In the long run, she had to help herself by calling on friends and former colleagues.  That's how it works for many people around the world.  Indeed, that's how my husband Bill just got his new job.  But when you are a woman with three little kids and an ex spouse who doesn't want to willingly contribute to their welfare, asking for help and getting assistance that actually works can be a challenge.

I felt like this book ended a bit abruptly.  It took me awhile to get through it and then, once I did, I was surprised that it was ending.  I also think it could use another run or two by a proofreader, as I found quite a few typos.  On the other hand, it's an interesting story and Tate is a good writer.  It only cost me $1.99 and gave me an interesting look at Swiss culture.  I would recommend it to those who read Sarah Tate's first book and want to find out how she did in the wake of the divorce.


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