I went to the bookstore two days ago, as usual, looking for books on sale. Books are my passion and no amount of budgeting difficulty will cheat me out of it. And I was very happy to come across one by one of my favorite writers, Alice Walker. I was saving up for her award-winning The Color Purple which sells P400 more or less at the popular bookstore but I did settle joyfully for The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart, (Random House, 2000) which sold for P50.
It is a sad, moving autobiographical work about an inter-racial marriage that did not work out and the ensuing heartbreak its collapse caused, challenging the age-old dictum about love being the A-all and the B-all in life, that sometimes, it is not enough to see people through, specially people trapped within a divided, prejudiced society. I do not feel surprised though, that the marriage fell apart, the protagonists being a Jewish lawyer and an African-American writer. To the jaundiced eye, the dissolution of the marriage is but a matter of time, for the strain of social and psychological pressure will surely catch up with them and ruin their paradise and mutual absorption. In the author’s words, they simply got tired. Defying and scorning society has a price uniquely its own. But more than a parable on love and relationships, the book portrays one woman’s journey towards healing and self-discovery, without the attendant bitterness and disillusionment.
Walker’s prescription is a simple, unvarnished truth: the way forward is with a broken heart. It is the only way to move on, to find joyful acceptance.