The foundation of Diane's and Gregory’s relationship is based on Diane's admiration for Gregory's seemingly 'better' genes because of his fair skin, which she believes will improve life for herself and any potential children that they may have. Golden attaching Gregory's fair skin to his attractiveness for Diane is very well done, especially since his genes also came with the devastating result of Gregory developing Alzheimer's. Colorism in the African American community is touched on, but isn't over done. The focus of the story stayed steadily on the fall out of how Alzheimer's uniquely affects each member of the family
The Wide Circumference of Love is an intriguing look into what 'in sickness and in health' means when the person that you have committed your life to is no longer able to be a functioning partner in any way. How far is far enough to fulfill your obligation as a spouse? Where is the line between selfishness and self-care? How does a spouse accept that the person that they love has moved beyond their ability to care for physically and emotionally?
Golden also explores the dynamics between Gregory and his children. Gregory was able to build an impressive reputation and legacy for himself, but sometimes at the expense of his relationships with his children. I would have liked to have had more of the tension and dynamics of Gregory's relationship with his children, but what was given was enough to let the reader understand the different dynamics between Gregory and his daughter compared to Gregory and his son.
The Wide Circumference of Love is a moving and insightful story focused on the impact of Alzheimer's on an African American family. It's a short book that reads quickly, but still manages to feel complete. This could have very easily been a much longer story that delved a bit deeper into all of the relationships, family and social dynamics, and the impact of Alzheimer's. Although this is a story that centers around the impact of Alzheimer's, it is also a story that is unique to the African American experience. Golden weaves in themes of colorism, class, and social mobility that directly affect this specific African American family as part of the background of this family's Alzheimer's story. Marita Golden was able to make a painful and frustrating challenge for a family relatable in a way that made me wonder what my choices would have been. I will be looking to pick up more stories from Marita Golden in the future.
**I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.**