It has been a few long weeks since I’ve been in the bookstore and I am still bothered by that one particular book. I tend to choose books by their cover and title, and that day was no different. I noticed the book The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena and grabbed it. I turned it over, looking for the blurb and reviews. The story is about a couple who leave their baby alone in her crib while they attend a party next door, counting on a baby monitor to protect their child. They come back home to a missing baby and no leads. The setup sounds intriguing.
Although the book and the blurb were attractive, as well as the review, in the end I just couldn’t get over the fact that these parents left their baby alone—for a party. What kind of parent does that sort of thing? I was angry with the mother for being so careless. How can a mother gamble with the safety of her child to please her husband? The thought made me so angry that I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the book. I couldn’t see myself having any sympathy for the mother at any point.
Perhaps that says something about the reality of the situation. We hear of babies dying because parents forget them in a hot car in a parking lot at work. There are plenty of horror stories of negligence and tragedy in the news. I understand these horrors are very real. The question becomes do I want to read about such things? I’m afraid I’d be far too frustrated with the characters to empathize. So I’ll leave this one alone.
But what if I’m missing out on a good read. Maybe there’s some twist that makes the story amazing. It left me wondering, should I let go of my perceived morality and read the book or should I stick to my beliefs?
What kinds of things hold you back when you want to buy a book or watch a movie? Are there any moral dilemmas that are deal breakers for you? And what sort of things make you take a chance on a book?
Books are more than just a read.