Summary: Chapters 10–12 and So Be It Chapter 5

Chapter 10 

In Chapter 10, Lowen replaces the So Be It manuscript with a sense of disgust. She tries to forget what she's learned about Verity's early motherhood. While exploring Verity's office, she discovers boxes of photographs and family documents. Curiosity gets the better of her, and she starts digging through them. Jeremy unexpectedly walks in on her examining the photos. Lowen is embarrassed to have been caught, but explains that it helps her understand Verity's voice. They discuss the twins, and Jeremy reveals that Harper was diagnosed wi th Asperger's at a young age. Lowen asks about Jeremy's feelings regarding Verity's accident, and he admits feeling anger toward Verity. They hug, and there’s a moment of tension where we feel that something else might transpire. However, Crew enters the room and becomes upset by the photos, forcing Jeremy to take him away. Lowen is left bewildered about her feelings and wondering how to proceed. 

Chapter 11 

Lowen wonders how Jeremy must feel about Verity now, and whether he can separate his anger from his disappointment with her. Nurse April and Lowen chat briefly about Verity, but April then pulls Lowen aside and chastises her for speaking about Verity as if she were not present. Crew then arrives in the kitchen with a turtle he found outside. He and Lowen try to get Verity’s attention with it, to no avail. Later, Jeremy takes the trio out for a meal, and Lowen makes an effort to dress up slightly. Jeremy compliments her, and they laugh together during the car ride and on the way home. Upon getting back into the house, they experience another moment of sexual tension, but it ultimately dissipates when Crew reappears. Lowen, feeling frustrated and curious about Jeremy’s behavior, turns to So Be It to seek the answers she doesn’t feel comfortable asking for. 

So Be It Chapter 5 

In So Be It's fifth chapter, Verity struggles as a new mother, teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown. The constant crying and erratic sleep patterns of her twins overwhelm her, while Jeremy seems to handle it better. She feels a loss of intimacy in her marriage, blaming motherhood for everything falling apart. Financial constraints prevent them from hiring a nanny, so Verity leaves the twins unattended with unplugged monitors while she sleeps during Jeremy's work hours. After a day of crying, she tends to their needs before Jeremy returns, pretending to cope well with motherhood. Verity also longs for sexual intimacy, even though she's not medically cleared. She manipulates Jeremy into resuming their physical relationship, wanting the brief reassurance that things will improve that sex always provides her.  

Chapter 12 

Lowen's perspective in Chapter 12 is even more pained and startled than in previous chapters. She offers the reader a series of harsh judgments of Verity’s coping mechanisms, labeling her with the psychological terms “psychopath” and “sociopath.” She doesn’t understand Verity’s choices, toward either Jeremy or her daughters.  

Later, Lowen looks for a home for Crew’s new turtle with Jeremy. As the two spend time together and open up about their respective pasts, her feelings of injustice surrounding Jeremy’s relationship with Verity only become stronger. They talk about Jeremy's decision to give up on his career when his wife became successful. From his tone, Lowen begins to understand that some resentment always existed between the two. Once they have retrieved the aquarium, Lowen retreats to her room. Unable to stop thinking about Jeremy, she finds a t-shirt of his, puts it on and begins to masturbate. However, she's interrupted by the sound of Verity’s hospital chair moving upstairs. She stops what she's doing and lies in the dark, thinking about how Verity still every member of the household has wrapped around her finger. 


Lowen spends much of this section of the book swinging between fascination and revulsion with Verity’s exploits. She has had violently unpleasant interactions to every chapter of So Be It, but this time she puts it away and closes the drawer as if trapping it inside. While exploring Verity's office, she discovers boxes of photographs and family documents. She is hesitant to invade Verity's privacy by looking through them. However, her curiosity gets the better of her after completing the previous chapter of So Be It, prompting her to open one of the boxes and dig around inside. In response to Verity’s writing, Lowen contemplates the possibility that Verity may be a sociopath, if not a psychopath, revising her earlier judgments. She sets aside the manuscript to research psychopathy. As with many things in Lowen’s life, she believes that extensive research is the best way to understand what she’s getting herself into. She is in the strange position of wanting to snoop around because she’s curious, but not wanting to discover information that will hurt her or make her jealous of Verity. In the midst of this investigation, Lowen is startled and embarrassed when Jeremy walks in on her examining the photos. Lowen explains that looking at the pictures helps her understand Verity better as she tries to learn the other woman’s voice. She is revulsed and fascinated by Verity simultaneously, and Jeremy is a rich source of information about her. 

In So Be It Verity continues to fight against her own unique version of the challenges of parenthood, taking any means possible to feel less like a mother and more like herself. Her priorities are very distant from those we might think of as a conventional parent’s. She cares much less about her daughters being healthy than she does getting adequate sleep for herself. She leaves the babies to cry in their room of their corner apartment and goes about her business as usual. Before Jeremy returns home, she changes and feeds them, so that they’ll be quiet and happy when he’s finished with work. This allows her to paint the picture of herself as the perfect wife and mother, while not actually having to do any of the work. As Verity is left alone with the children throughout the day, she is able to tune them out using the same strategy as she employed to manage her previous loneliness: fantasy. She spends most of the day either sleeping or pretending the babies aren’t there. As long as she changes them before Jeremy gets home, he has no way of knowing this is happening. If everything seems fine on the surface and Jeremy is pleased, Verity is satisfied with that result.  

However, Verity’s otherwise well-polished mask of normalcy falters when it comes to her sex life with Jeremy. Verity, not yet cleared for sex by the doctor, longs for physical intimacy, which Jeremy abjectly refuses. He is concerned with her long-term health, and Verity only with momentary satisfaction and reassurance. In order to get around his refusals, she initiates oral sex with him while he's asleep, and he awakens to her advances. This nonconsensual encounter goes mostly unremarked, but it’s another instance of Verity taking dangerous and immoral steps to achieve her ends. Their physical connection is restored as they engage in a lengthy sexual encounter, satisfying desires that Verity implies have been “building” in her for a long time. Nothing seems to temper Verity’s voracious sexual appetite. She has been told not to have sex because she’s physically damaged from giving birth, but refuses to do so because it doesn’t dovetail with her wants. The idea that she could potentially damage herself worries Jeremy enough to deliberately abstain, but Verity is unconcerned enough about it to commit marital rape.