Tuesday, December 10, 2013

book review: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

The backstory: Ann Patchett is one of my favorite authors. See my reviews of her novels The Magician's Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, and State of Wonder.

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
Source: publisher

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.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

6 comments:

  1. I'm halfway through this book and am enjoying it very much! I didn't realize it was a collection of essays when I requested a copy from the library, but I love how they all relate to her writing life while also being about such different experiences and different periods of her life.

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  2. I'm so glad that you loved this book so much! I can think of a few friends who would really appreciate this as a Christmas gift. Thanks for being on the tour!

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  3. I've been wondering about this one because I loved Bel Canto and State of Wonder but wasn't sure if I'd be interested in the essays. Thanks for te recommendation!

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  4. I loved these as well. I think you really beautifully explain how her essays make us feel as if we know her.

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  5. I can't wait to read this one! I love Patchett's work. I had the chance to meet her this year and she was just lovely.

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  6. Absolutely agree about this one!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!