The upcoming book by Elizabeth Edwards, the long-suffering wife of former presidential candidate John, will be “an unsentimental and ultimately inspirational meditation on the gifts we can find among life’s biggest challenges,” reports Fox News’ Roger Friedman. Titled Resilience, the book will come out in May, and yes, it will deal with her husband’s affair with documentary filmmaker and former floozy Rielle Hunter, and how Elizabeth “experienced it,” according to a publicist.
Writing about such a painful, humiliating personal experience is hard enough for anybody. But Edwards has made it her trademark to try to deal with adverse, awful situations with grace and optimism. She would have, we’ve always thought, made a phenomenal First Lady. And — with the exception of the fact that she helped hide her husband’s affair while he was a candidate, thus betraying her staff and de facto lying to the country — she’s been entirely successful. Her first book, Saving Graces, was self-effacing and touching. Her determination in the face of cancer was inspirational. And that time she politely hung Ann Coulter out to dry on live television, well, that was masterful.
Edwards will surely want to get back that poise with her new book — she won’t want the last note of her public life to be the deceit over her husband’s affair. But the problem is, everything about his liaison with Hunter is classless, from the affair itself, conducted on planes and in hotel rooms paid for by donors, to John’s constant, smug lying. The former senator let his closest aides sacrifice themselves for his ambition and hubris, and now there’s a baby out there who looks just like him, cared for by a mother who doesn’t work and depends upon the charity and protection of friends.
In short, Elizabeth’s husband behaved monstrously, as did the younger, healthier woman who targeted him because of her obvious obsession with fame and power. How does one deal with that gracefully? The short answer is, one doesn’t talk about it at all. But that’s a little too old-fashioned for the plain-speaking Elizabeth Edwards. We look forward to reading her book, even though we know no matter how well written or thoughtful it is, we’ll be cringing.