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A Box of Darkness

The Story of a Marriage

by Sally Ryder Brady

A Box of Darkness by Sally Ryder Brady
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2011
    256 pages
    Genre: Biographies/Memoirs

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Sandra

The Rich Are Different From You and Me
This memoir is beautifully written...no question about it. But...I wonder if others who have read the book feel the same as I, that although a brutal honesty reigned throughout, much was left unspoken. Upton's character left much to be desired as far as I am concerned...other than his homosexuality and alcoholism. Those two factors alone would be enough to end a marriage for me. However, besides those two compelling flaws...this man was a total snob, a Harvard graduate who never made the big bucks but tried to live as though he had. A poor manager of finances who when he did get his hands on some money squandered it on frivolity. Never even owned a house? A Harvard graduate with a wife and four children, and throughout a 46 year marriage he never provided them with a home to call their own? No...they always rented according to Sally and he also left her $70,000. in debt! My point being that over the many years of their marriage they spent a lot of money on booze, entertaining, private schools for their children, etc. Smacks of what the rich or ''wannabee'' rich social climbers of this world all do and she was an enabler to this through and through...her society background demanded it. This couple was never about to sacrifice their status in society...what?...and become ordinary like you and me...never...unthinkable! As the saying goes, ''The rich are different from you and me.'' With his constant blustering of qouting Shakespeare, Homer, etc., it made him feel greatly superior to others. I've known people of this ilk and while admirable the first time you are subjected to their literary spiels, over time they become a boor...all flash and no substance. And that in the end is what Upton was...a sham...as was the marriage...his deep adherence to Catholicisim (totally hypocritical) his homosexuality, his alcoholism, his treatment of his wife and children, and above all his arrogance toward all who surrounded him.
Power Reviewer Diane S

a Box of Darkness
While I was reading the first half of the book I thought Sally Brady was either stupid or a saint. Upton Brady was in turn either delightful to be around or destructive. But by the end of the book I applauded her courage in staying in a marriage that was difficult to say the least and in finding a way to get her husband to accept help for his problems, while finding herself and helping her come to terms with her marriage. She loved him with an unconditional love and it is just sad that he was incapable of knowing or feeling this.
Sandra E. (Bend, OR)

A Box of Darkness
This book is a love story - not only from the standpoint of a wife/mother of a couple who were beautiful and wealthy "golden children" of the Brahmin upper classes in that sparkling segment of 1930's America, but of fierce introspection and courageous change and transcendence.

It's the story of the maternal devotion of an impeccably educated and dynamic mother who creates a necessary parallel universe for herself and her four gifted children, whose safety she guards tenaciously from their larger-than-life father, himself pursued by compulsively destructive demons.

Before words like "codependence" and "enabling" and "enmeshment" and "emotional abandonment" were part of our everyday vocabulary, Sally Ryder Brady was leading a life in which her natural and very considerable resourcefulness equipped her to survive all the above, while projecting a montage of secure and happy family life which dazzled observers.

Her brilliant and handsome husband - who appears to have been the quintessential Renaissance Man - harbored dark secrets. Sally literally uncovered them after his death.

Her time of grieving not only the loss of her charismatic husband to death - but of the "dream" which their marriage had embodied in its external glamour to others - and to Sally - portrays an intensely courageous and personal journey and metamorphosis during which Sally "comes home to herself".

This book was written and published with uncommon bravery; it has beautiful prose and dialogue which captivates from page one. I would thoroughly recommend it for book groups. A favorite book for me of the past decade.
Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)

Surprises and more surprises
Beginning with a 'forgotten' cache of ashes it was apparent how the book would end. But the in-between was fascinating reading. How a marriage of such long-standing could survive the secrets and trials...one can only wonder. Sally Brady walks a fine line interspersing poignancy and humor. I couldn't wait to finish the book.
Hydee F. (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Amazing memoir.
This book left me awash in emotions. I could not stop reading the back, and looking at the photos, trying to grasp the reality that Sally Brady was so honest and transparent in this memoir. Her account of a long and complex marriage was touching, and real, and affected me greatly. I love this book and am now searching for some of her other works.
Carolyn F. (San Carlos, CA)

A BOX OF DARKNESS
This is a beautifully written book that resonated with me on so many levels. By the end of the book I felt as if I had spent an extended period of time with a beloved friend. Brady takes us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions seems, to me, to be brutally honest.
I loved the quote from which the title of the book is taken. I would recommend this book to people who like memoirs. I think it would make for an excellent book group discussion because there are a couple of big issues to explore.
Susan F. (Rabun Gap, GA)

Compelling
I found "Box of Darkness" an enthralling and compelling portrait of a marriage. Surely, and hopefully, it's writing has been a catharsis for the author and wife in the marriage, Sally Ryder Brady. I found the characters most fascinating and the book well written..read it in just a few sittings. The major looming element in this story is the fact that Upton Brady was an alcoholic. How much would have been different if he had not been. Would he have had the same homosexual tendencies? I also ached for Sally(perhaps personal association as a member of her generation)in her quest to know if Upton truly loved her. Although she certain enabled Upton in his selfish behavior, she found him far too enticing to leave. I would certainly recommend this book to my friends.
Power Reviewer Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI)

A Box of Darkness
Sally Ryder Brady has written a honest story of her first year after the death of her husband and the grief that enveloped her. She interweaves the past with the present and gains insight into the complicated man she was married to.The Box of Darkness was a well written, enjoyable read. Highly recommended!

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