The war of the Roses is framed by two Staffordshire ornaments, a pair somehow separated at an auction while the buyers were somehow united. Would either be as valuable or as beautiful alone?
Years later, the details in model and shape have overwhelmed a marriage as surely as they overwhelmed the anxious auctioneer. Something’s wrong in Oliver’s world. Something’s changed in Barbara. And if life is fleeting, what should marriage be?
Warren Adler’s The War of the Roses depicts the dissolution of a marriage, a family, and the two strong personalities who were its foundation. From baby steps of separation to giant leaps of destruction, Oliver and Barbara lose sight of the precious and ruin the once-loved. When summer comes and the “happy” couple are left alone in the house all hell breaks loose while summer-camp children, neighbors and au pair wonder how much to interfere.
The characters in this novel, for all their flaws, have just the right amount of reasonable humanity to pull readers in, gluing them to watch an advancing train-wreck that, when it arrives, carries sadly sweet echoes of accidental love and divided beauty. This novel of broken love is cruel, heartbreaking and fierce, yet oddly human and wise, sometimes humorous and cynically disturbing—a cautionary tale wrapped in a fable for the modern world.
Disclosure: I’ve wanted to read this for a while, and was lucky enough to find a free ecopy. I can’t compare it to the movie though, as I’ve never seen it.