My Melissa
by Robert Beatty

"She thought her love would bring both of them to her."

Identical twin brothers Arthur and George Easterbrook are head over heels in love with Melissa Jane Hathaway. She feels the same way about them. She has been having a relationship with both brothers, and Arthur and George are okay with this arrangement. But during the wedding reception of their elder sister, the twins propose to Melissa. They want her to choose between the two of them. To their surprise, Melissa wants to marry them both because she cannot imagine life without them. She sees the two brothers as one man. The twins explain to her that what she wants is impossible. Yet the more the twin brothers push her to wed one of them, the more she stands firm in keeping this three-way relationship permanently by any means necessary.

In his work, Beatty explores relational norms. He first establishes a sharp contrast between open- and closed-mindedness regarding race and class during the 1930s. For instance, when Arthur and George’s father learns that Margo, the twins’ elder sister, is in a relationship with a French man named Andre, he urges her to break up with him. However, Margo refuses to bend and goes on to marry the man she loves, regardless of his ethnicity. Mr. Easterbrook’s xenophobia embodies closed-mindedness, whereas Margo stands up for open-mindedness. In another example, Arthur and George belong to the upper class, while Melissa belongs to the lower class. But this does not prevent the twins from falling in love with her. The book also addresses the theme of challenging the conventions of traditional marriage through the relationship Melissa longs for. Beyond the thematic elements, readers will likely appreciate this book because of its many twists and turns.

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