Dear Mr Cartwright
I'm halfway through your "The Promise of Happiness" now - and eager to continue reading later today. A family: mom, dad, Juliette, Charlie and Sophie - all struggling with life. The oldest character is frustrated because it may have already passed by (did I marry the wrong person? Why are all of our friends old and fat and burnt out? When did I turn into someone I look down on when I see them walking down the street? Why can't I make myself less helpless?). The youngest one is unable to dig her heels into the ground and keeps floundering - the wrong friends, bad habits, self-destruction. Another is about to tie the knot with the mother of his child, and already feels a resentment and physical disinterest for her usually reserved for long-married couples. And without exception, everyone feels guilty and inadequate, like they should be able to do better at life, to meet expectations more, to fill their own shoes properly.
No matter which stage of our life we're in or which turn we're about to take, it seems we always look over our shoulder to what should have been or straight ahead to what might be - we yearn and claw and hang on tight until one day we see the back of the train diminishing against the horizon and find ourselves alone on the platform. Why didn't we board? Why did we simply stand there, gazing at our own deformed reflection in the darkened window?