The basics: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a collection of personal essays.
My thoughts: Longtime readers know nonfiction is not my favorite genre to read. Yet I adore reading the personal thoughts of fiction writers I admire, and I was eager to read Ann Patchett's collection of essays, even though I'd read a couple of them before. In the twenty-four hours I spent with this collection, I felt as though I was staying up all night drinking wine and talking to a friend. Patchett's essays are fearless. While individually they address different moments and themes, collectively, they read as a personal history. These essays are all autobiographical, and while some are more personal than others, I turned the last page feeling as though Patchett is my friend. While I think of her as a friend, the relationship between reader and writer of personal essays is a somewhat bizarre one. I keep thinking of things I could tell Patchett, if only I actually knew her. This collection is so diverse--in time, mood, and theme--it's difficult to say much without taking away the charm of the pieces individually, so I shall say this: stop reading and go find a copy to read for yourself.
Favorite passage: "Implicit in my love for Tennessee has always been the understanding that certain needs were going to have to be met elsewhere."
The verdict: I can't recommend This is the Story of a Happy Marriage highly enough. It's a smart, beautiful, and poignant collection of essays, and while I favor some more than others, there isn't a bad one in the entire collection.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 325 pages
Publication date: November 5, 2013
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy This is the Story of a Happy Marriage from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)
Want more? Visit all the tour stops and visit Ann Patchett's website.
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