The main thing I am gleaning from the responses to Strapped Down is that there are questions. Of course some of these questions are meant to be answered in book 3, but in writing this book I also wanted the reader to ask themselves questions and come to their own conclusions using information provided within the book.
Now I am no James Joyce or Mark Twain, but I think you can have smut AND a book that makes you search your thoughts after putting it down. That was my goal with this book: to take some common tropes, but twist them around a bit. After all, you are reading this from Shyla’s perspective and learning new information as it comes to her. She is not omnipotent and as a character, she too is searching for answers. You are joining her for this ride, and that often means having limited answers as she does.
So my last post was about the last line of the book and its possible meaning(s). Now I want to touch on another common question/thought I have seen in some reviews and heard in reader comments.
What’s up with the Lizzy/Henry/Kristen scenario?
I think the most appropriate question is: what is the meaning of that scene/storyline?
For me, writing about Shyla and Taylor’s friends was a way to put a mirror up to Shyla and Taylor’s relationship. For one, Lizzy is older and further along in her life career-wise and now she is ready for a child. This forces Shyla to think about her future in a concrete way and confront Taylor about it. Shyla has pretty much been flying by the seat of her pants and this is really the first time she and Taylor have talked about the business of planning a “normal” life together.
At the same time, we see that Lizzy’s intense individualism and career path has made it difficult for her to find someone to settle down with. Lizzy and Henry are best friends with the possibility of something more, but Lizzy understands that Henry has some serious faults and trying to change him comes with serious consequences.
“They’re caught in a paradox, he loves her because she won’t be with him because she loves him the way he is.”-Taylor, Strapped Down
Contrast Lizzy to Shyla, who is trying to start a new job, but calling in sick, running out for “family emergencies”, and the like because this is what life with Taylor requires. And while she will not force children on Taylor, she is hoping he may change his mind. So Lizzy is fiercely independent, but alone and Shyla has always had a companion but her career seems to have come second to the man in her life.
Now Kristin finally has the nice guy after a history of lemons. She is “that girl” who always wants the bad boys, but rarely do the bad boys make good boyfriends/husbands. So now she has to start rethinking her relationship strategies. She seems to be switching places with Shlya who had “nice guy” Rick up until months before. When faced with the choice of pursuing Henry (bad boy) or Chad (nice guy), Shyla tells her to go with Chad.
Now my recommendation is to go back to Shyla’s conversations revolving around this issue and imagine Shyla talking to herself instead of Henry.
“Guys like Henry don’t change. They never do.” – Shyla to Kristen in Strapped Down.
“He is a dead end. You need to stop trying to go after the guys who you think you can save.” -Shyla to Kristen.
We also get some clues from Henry about who Taylor was before Shyla came along, how isolated he was. Shyla only saw a very brief glimpse of that because she brought Taylor out of his shell pretty quickly. It serves a reminder about the severity of Taylor’s deep-seated issues relating to people and how invested he is in Shyla. He functions completely differently now that he has her in his life. Shyla has referred to Taylor as a “drug” but, Shyla is Taylor’s drug too, far better than any anti-anxiety medication he has ever taken before. Taylor is Shyla’s crack (or E, heehee) and Shyla is Taylor’s Xanax…haha!
So all in all, yes this is a subplot, but really this mini-triangle scene/storyline is all about relationships, and where our characters fit in the spectrum. Most importantly, it forces Shyla and Taylor who are passionately in the present to consider their futures together.
Alright, I’ll shut up about this now 😉
– Nina G.