This section seemed to be the turning point in this novel. The previous sections touched upon the tensions, the unspoken words and the secrets that the characters were harboring. This section opened a can of worms for both Caroline and David.
On a vacation to Aruba, Norah cheats on David and David and Paul both found out. This act of lust was the first impulsive action taken by Norah this whole novel. While it was a poor choice that puts their family situation under further strain, it also sets in motion an irreversible effect on her family that must be dealt with. The results of her actions are seen immediately with David snapping all the time and Paul taking more risks to get a rush that he needs to connect with something. While Norah’s act seems unforgivable all David can do is blame himself. He believes that the simple act of giving away his daughter all those years ago has caused this divide in his family that can never be healed and as punishment he must bear his wife’s antics. In my opinion, David is in fact guilty of giving his daughter away and of lying to his wife. His actions did set into motion a divide in their family that could never be completely healed even if he were to tell the truth. However, I’m not sure that Norah would have remained loyal to him if Phoebe were still with them. I’m not convinced that Norah is a stable enough person that she would have been able to handle having a child like Phoebe and not falling apart like she has. Now that Norah has taken an action that has set into place a new divide in the family it seems that the results will likely be the worse for Paul. Will he be able to cope with the distance and the pain in his family without causing more pain to himself? Will David ever be able to confront Norah about her cheating or his lying about Phoebe?
On the other hand, Caroline is facing her own problems, as Phoebe gets older. Al gets the ball rolling when he tells Caroline that they need to make a plan for the future. They need to determine what’s going to happen to Phoebe when she gets too old for school. Is she going to live with them for the rest of her life? Will she go to an institution or be able to find work? In order for Caroline to move forward in her relationship to Al she’s going to need to have a little freedom and be ale to pick up on move once in a while. However, if she’s to stay loyal to Phoebe, she’s going to need to act in her best interest, which may mean taking care of her for a while longer.
With these new actions that have taken place, the story is going to take a definite turn. Section 5 is likely to bring answers to some of these questions and I’m anxious to see what happens especially since it takes place 5 years later when the twins are 18. This will be a crucial moment in their lives as Paul will be making a choice about college or his future and Caroline will be deciding what’s best for Phoebe and for her relationship with Al.