Summary: Chapters 5-6 and So Be It Chapter 2

Chapter 5

As Chapter 5 begins, the perspective returns to Lowen’s first-person point of view, She’s both embarrassed and aroused by what she has read, and realizes that she’s been at it so long she has lost track of time. Jeremy is in the kitchen, and he microwaves her some pizza while they chat. She asks him a few innocuous questions, and then gives into the urge to ask him about how he and Verity met. She wants to confirm if the narrative she’s just read is factual without letting it slip to Jeremy that she has found So Be It. Jeremy confirms that it is, noting how beautiful Verity’s dress was and how much he wanted to impress her. He tells Lowen that she loved the spotlight and wanted all the attention she could possibly get. The two discuss how difficult adjusting one’s routine around a missing loved one can be, and then Jeremy leaves to go to bed. Lowen knows she should go to bed too, but she can’t resist reading another chapter of So Be It, She shoves a chest in front of her unlocked bedroom door to block it, and then opens the autobiography again. 

So Be It Chapter 2 

Chapter 2 of So Be It opens with even further discussion of Verity’s profound love for Jeremy. She reflects on their early relationship, noting that their initial two years together were notably peaceful, characterized by a lack of conflicts. Verity felt addicted to Jeremy, and was miserable whenever they separated. However, the calm takes a turn when, during an intimate moment, Jeremy spontaneously suggests that Verity move in with him. This question puts Verity in something of a bind, and she has to reveal that she doesn’t need to: she’d already broken her lease and covertly moved in with Jeremy two months prior. After moving in together, Verity becomes even more overwhelmed with her obsession for Jeremy. She turns to writing as a coping mechanism during his workday, transforming her infatuation with Jeremy into a hobby that quickly becomes a completed novel. When she excuses herself to the bathroom, Jeremy stumbles upon her manuscript and flips through it. He begins reading it, immediately engrossed by her writing. When she sees what he’s doing, Verity is initially horrified and tries to stop him. To her surprise, Jeremy finds her work excellent and quickly praises her as brilliant. Adding to her astonishment, Jeremy spontaneously proposes marriage, catching Verity off guard. At the end of the chapter, Verity discloses that the night they got engaged was also the night they conceived twins, setting the stage for the more unpleasant events that she warns are approaching. 

Chapter 6 

Lowen finds herself working in her office on a breezy afternoon, looking out at a view from the large windows: one that includes a seated Verity. Her musings are interrupted when she notices Verity seemingly staring directly at her. Even though she knows it’s not possible, Lowen is very unnerved. When her pre-approved New York apartment application is unexpectedly denied due to her recent eviction, Lowen is thrown into a crisis. Jeremy offers her a place to stay until she finishes writing, which she reluctantly accepts. Later, Lowen watches Jeremy and his son by the water, her attraction growing as she observes his fatherly kindness. Her reverie is interrupted when Verity's nurse April catches her staring, conveying suspicion. April leaves, and Lowen continues watching Jeremy and Crew until she realizes Crew is waving at her. She waves back, but he's fixated on something inside Verity's room. Lowen is alarmed and goes inside to investigate, but finds Verity still lying down. As she's about to leave, she notices the TV is off, contradicting April's claim. Her unease grows as she struggles to make sense of the strange situation. 


In Chapter 5 the novel’s motif of sex becomes explicitly apparent. Lowen describes the sensation of reading Verity’s autobiography as being like rifling through her underwear drawer. Lowen is living in her home, sleeping in her bed, and spending time with her husband. This easy access to what seems like the very private thoughts and feelings of Verity’s makes her feel guilty and furtive. This sensation of transgression is amplified by the candid and thoroughly described sexual content in Verity’s writing. Reading about the sex lives of the people she lives with makes Lowen’s invasion of Verity’s privacy feel like even more of an intrusion. 

Sex, in this novel, is not merely a physical act. It is the medium through which Verity’s obsession, vulnerabilities, and manipulative tendencies are unveiled. The explicit sexual descriptions in her writing lay bare the transactional and obsessive view Verity has of her relationships. Verity uses sex as both a way to exert and measure power in her marriage. When she and Jeremy are having regular sex, she can easily find validation and manipulate his perceptions and feelings.  

The novel’s themes of obsession and control are also becoming clear and present in this chapter of So Be It. Although the reader is beginning to see inklings of Lowen’s strong feelings for Jeremy, it’s Verity’s attitude towards him which merits attention here. Verity’s love for Jeremy quickly morphs into an overwhelming obsession, dictating her actions and decisions. Her covert move into Jeremy’s apartment before his proposal is a prime example of this. Generally moving in with a partner is a mutual decision, but instead of talking to him, Verity relies on her sexual manipulations to smooth the path to what she wants. In order to retain a sense of power over Jeremy, she keeps things from him, only revealing what she’s done when it’s too late for Jeremy to make changes. This obsession also manifests in her writing, where her infatuation with Jeremy literally becomes her means of survival. As she begins to have the controlling stake in her household’s finances, her writing literally enables her to exert control over the narrative of their relationship.  

We also see Lowen beginning to explicitly question the validity of her perceptions and feelings in these chapters. Lowen’s experiences make her second-guess herself and her own sanity, especially when she is feeling watched by Verity or noticing inconsistencies in her condition. This theme echoes into Verity’s chapters, where the portrayal of her relationship with Jeremy seems totally devoid of any normal sense of restraint. She describes her obsession with him as if it is a normal symptom of early infatuation. We are swept into the slipstream of Verity’s emotional intensity, and it’s only when the narrative returns to Lowen’s more measured voice that the current slows. 

This section of Verity also focuses on vulnerability. Verity herself is clearly vulnerable, as she is unable to move or take care of herself. While aspects of the way she describes herself in So Be It make her seem powerful, her love for Jeremy also leaves her very vulnerable to his opinion and desperate to keep his affection. Lowen’s vulnerability is also central, as she discusses her precarious housing situation and hints at the effects of her sleep disorder. She is a stranger in the Crawford house. Although Jeremy is welcoming the hostile reception, she receives from others makes her feel very alone. Verity’s writing style in So Be It has the paradoxical effect of making the reader feel vulnerable. In the first chapter, she told the reader that she would hook them into reading by providing an unvarnished portrait of her life. She keeps warning them that something unpleasant is fast approaching, while implying that they are also going to be compelled to keep reading.