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The Amateur Marriage

29th November 2006

(If you’re planning on reading this book, and want to be surprised at the end, don’t read any further.)

The Amateur Marriage: A NovelPauline and Michael married young and impulsively. They spent the rest of their lives regretting their choice, and reveling in their unhappiness. Eventually, they divorce. Pauline dies alone, and only then does Michael realize that he still loves and misses her.

This book was so sad, and initially, I was really disappointed in the direction that it took. If you read everything but the last page, you will have a sour view of marriage and committment. But once you read the last page, you realize that Michael is sorry for the way things turned out, and wishes that he had done things differently with Pauline. I ended the book feeling sad for Michael and Pauline, and with a new resolve to treasure my own marriage, which I guess is what Tyler intended to teach all along.

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Saint Maybe

06th November 2006

Saint Maybe a NovelI’m so glad that I stumbled onto Anne Tyler. I’m really enjoying her books–this one, about an uncle who becomes a father to his nieces and nephew, is my favorite to date. Some things I enjoy about Tyler’s writing:
-She begins by telling the story from one character’s perspective. Just when you’ve gotten comfortable with that character, she starts telling the story from another character’s point of view. It’s hard to get used to at first, but now I really like it.
-She writes about ordinary people and ordinary events, but makes it interesting. There are no big mysteries, no crimes to solve, no major plot twists, no big surprises. But somehow, once I’ve started one of her books, I can’t put it down.
-At the end of her books, there are no big changes or dramatic endings. But somehow, you feel that her characters have learned and grown, and are better off than they were at the beginning.

Breathing Lessons

20th October 2006

Breathing LessonsI really liked this book, but it’s hard to say why. On the surface, it was a book about nothing. It recounts the journey that a couple took a friend’s funeral and back, and in the end, nothing has changed for any of the characters. But somehow, even though everything is still the same, you have a whole new perspective on who the characters are, and why they act the way they do.

Digging to America

11th October 2006

Digging to AmericaMy husband and I recently moved to Virginia. One of the first things I did is check out my new library. It’s nice, close, but doesn’t feel like “home” yet. This book is the first book I checked out from my new library. It follows 2 different families, who both adopted daughters from Korea. This was a perfect first book for me to read in my new home, as it focuses on what makes the two girls and their adopted families feel “at home” and what makes them feel alienated here in America.

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