Unless you’ve been vacationing in Mongolia, you know all about Elizabeth Edwards’ new book, Resilience. This isn’t a memoir — she already wrote one of those, Saving Graces — but a slim primer touted by her publisher as an ”unsentimental and ultimately inspirational meditation on dealing with life’s biggest challenges.”
And you know what? That’s what it is. In lovely, unfettered prose, Edwards talks — movingly, haltingly — about her son Wade’s death at 16, her cancer diagnosis and rediagnosis (”I felt a lump, flat and smooth, like a slice of plum?”), and her husband’s infidelity. It isn’t an angry book, or a bitter one. But make no mistake about it, as she talks about the crises of her life and how she has tried to get past them, she disembowels her Ken doll of a husband with steely Southern precision.
That, of course, is her right. But here’s what truly astonishes me: Other women have been sharpening their knives for Elizabeth Edwards in the week since this book came out. Heck, not just sharpening, going in for the kill. In The New York Times, Maureen Dowd said, ”She had put so many quarters in the shiny slot machine of their mutual ambition. It was hard to walk away.” Daily Beast editor Tina Brown went even further in a piece headlined ”Elizabeth Edwards Fed Herself to the Vultures.” No matter what you think of this book, it?s morally wrongheaded to equate a terminally ill woman’s decision not to leave her husband with that same husband’s decision to cheat. People seem to be transferring their simmering anger at John to Elizabeth. But let’s not forget who the victim is here. Revenge is sweet, especially when you’ve got 241,000 copies of your book in print. A?