REVIEW: (Re)Making Love: s sex after sixty story by Mary Tabor
by Rose Gluck
In her memoir (Re)making Love, Mary Tabor shares the intimate details of her four year separation from her husband D., a man we come to know very early on as the love of her life. The story begins with D. announcing out of the blue that he needs to live alone, “Oh so Gretta Garbo,” as Tabor puts it. From there Tabor embarks on a personal journey, that begins with leaving the three story Victorian she and D. shared in the culturally diverse and intellectual neighborhood of Adams Morgan in DC. After the separation, D. sells the house and Tabor settles into a condo in in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of DC, walking distance from the capital and her teaching job at George Washington University. Mary is 60 years old.
Tabor’s narrative has the quality of verse, sometimes stream of consciousness. The prose is absolutely captivating and kept me thoroughly entertained, engrossed, and emotional as I followed Mary on her journey to (Re)make Love. In her memoir, Tabor improvises on the genre, imbuing it with cultural and literary references woven like golden threads into her narrative. Tabor is also a novelist and her memoir reflects her mastery of metaphor, her tool to illuminate the commonalities and complexities of her own experiences. The effect is magical. Tabor finds connections amongst unexpected bedfellows: the Obamas, Nietzsche, and The Runaway Bride. The common strand is there; without Tabor we just can’t see it. Early on in the book Tabor ponders:
“Nietzsche and the Brothers Grimm are not so different. This I am learning. I do wonder if Nietzsche is the reality check on wishes and dreams. I refuse to believe this while I consider the possibility.”
Her story maintained an authenticity that is so rare in today’s world. It wasn’t just her honesty about her marriage and overcoming the pain of losing the love of her life. Mary also shared her inner world of art, poetry, romance, politics, literature, and epicurean revelations. Tabor skillfully weaves these ingredients as she takes us into her new post-D. life: dating after age 60, a flourishing writing career, the birth of a new grandchild, the loss of loved ones, and revelations about herself and her unwavering love for D. Despite Tabor’s beautiful rendering, there is no doubt the separation is hard, uncertain, at time tragic.
An exquisite literary Epicurean, Tabor delivers a fluid and gorgeous memoir that kept me re-reading in rapt fascination, savoring her insights, anecdotes, and experiences.