Elizabeth Edwards is promoting her new book, Resilience, last week on “Oprah” and then on “The Today Show.” By talking openly about her life, she’s opened herself up to criticism. Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd have attacked Edwards’ decision to write about her husband’s affair with Rielle Hunter when everyone was beginning to forget about it. Is Edwards beating a dead horse? Or is this her chance to speak her mind?
On The Daily Beast, Brown writes:
The hazard of confessional books is how fast the world moves on while they’re written. Hearing about that doggy old “misdemeanor”—as she insists on calling her husband’s infidelity with a campaign videographer while he was running for president and she was fighting terminal cancer—just drags us back into the messy aftermath of the election season at a time when we are now busy trying to get on with a collapsing economy and save our own lives.
If we were on our way to forgetting all about John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards told Oprah she already had a book deal when the affair unraveled. To ignore John’s “indiscretion” in her book, the subtitle of which reads, “Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities,” would have been an all-too-obvious omission. People would have criticized her for ignoring it, and, let’s face it, no one would have wanted to read it. Without including his affair, would many care about the book’s publication? I hate to say it, but scandal and sex scandals sell. The rest of the book focuses on personal losses and health issues.
But interviewer Brown did make an interesting point in the “Today” interview, that Elizabeth “didn’t need to come out and parade her lack of resolution on this issue to the cameras to simply justify everything that went on.” So, why is Elizabeth Edwards talking about it, especially when she has three children who have to hear about what their father did again? Perhaps she wanted to show that she did struggle with his cheating. When news of the affair hit the news during the presidential primary race, we saw Elizabeth standing by her man, seemingly accepting his being unfaithful. At the time, she couldn’t speak out. Now, she wants to show that she didn’t just accept John back into her arms. She went through a struggle — one that many women (and men) face in their relationships — and she’s still trying to figure out what’s going to happen to her and John’s relationship. Is it so bad that she feels that she has a right to tell people what she went through then and where she is, now that’s she’s ready to publicly address it? [NY Times, The Daily Beast]