Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto examines her deepest commitments: to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Together, these essays, previously published in The Atlantic, Harper, Vogue, and The Washington Post, form a resonant portrait of a life lived with loyalty and with love.
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett's life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.
As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.
©2013 Ann Patchett (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers
"Readable and candid, Patchett’s collection is a joyful celebration of life, love and the written word." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Reading Patchett is like spending time with a deeply perceptive longtime pal, or a new friend that one instantly connects with." (USA Today)
"[A] sparkling collection." (The New Yorker)
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is everything other reviewers have said, and more. It’s a wonderfully-written and varied collection of Ann Patchett’s essays, ranging from musings about how she considered joining the Los Angeles Police Dept. in order to write about it and how she is influenced by her father, a retired LAPD police captain, to her feelings about her dog Rose and Sister Nena, the nun that taught her to read and write, to the eloquent and moving account of caring for her grandmother during her progression into dementia.
I’ve read and enjoyed (with reservations) several of Patchett’s novels. Bel Canto was great but I hated the ending, and I liked State of Wonder, except for some of the more ludicrous plot points. I personally found this collection of essays much more engrossing than any of her novels that I’ve read. She can write about almost anything, revealing thoughts, emotions, and advice without becoming preachy and overbearing.
I was completely unaware of Lucy Grealy, Patchett’s long-term friendship with her, and the controversies arising from their relationship. I’m very tempted to read Patchett’s Truth and Beauty to delve into this further, and may do that after I’ve had some time to digest the essay from Grealy’s sister in The Guardian. I’m hoping that Patchett will further show, as she did in this collection, that there are often quite a few ways of viewing a situation, and one absolute truth does not always exist.
I do have to thank Ann Patchett for leading me to an epiphany. In “Love Sustained”, she writes about the long and painful decline of her grandmother Eva:
“My grandmother had spent her life taking care of other people, cooking their food, cleaning their houses. It was her proof that she was valuable in the world. Now I cleaned my grandmother's apartment, which hurt her every single time. My cleaning was an accusation, no matter how quietly I went about it.”
When I read “It was her proof that she was valuable in the world.”, I gained a much better understanding of my dear mother-in-law. She raised five children with lots of hard work and no time to herself. Now that she has too much time to herself, she is missing that visible proof that she is valuable in the world. I could see her so clearly in that one simple sentence. I’m grateful for this entertaining and elucidative collection of essays that was a pleasure to read, and even more so when read by the author in the audio version.
Well I tried to like it. I even listened to it twice, no luck. She shouldn't narrate her books.
It just went on and on. Her voice drove me crazy,sorry,
The narration by the author is great, and I felt myself drawn in and engaged by her experiences. If you ever thought about becoming a writer, this book is inspiring and also provides some good tips.
Say something about yourself! Author of Deadly Lust, Deadly Charm and Graceland Express.
To me, as a writer, this proved to be one of the most valuable books I've ever come across. While Ann Patchett's marriage to her husband plays a significant part in her story, it's actually an account of her lifelong commitment to writing. The detours and missteps she's taken along the way to a career in that field are in many ways analogous to the errors a married couple inevitably makes and her ultimate success as a novelist reminds one of the aging couple who have learned to tolerate either other's idiosyncrasies but aren't so entirely comfortable that they no longer have to work at it. A must read for any writer or would-be writer. In addition, readers who have enjoyed Ann Patchett's novels will find this book provides much insight into the author's personality and the process by which she comes to her fiction.
Ann Patchett is the central character of this book. I liked that she was so revealing about herself.
I liked the way her voice reveals her character.
Liked Rose the dog best. Author's narration was the worst. She sounded miffed, angry, just plain pissed off at so many things, people, places...the whole world.
Not really. Didn't like Bel Canto. Maybe this author is just not for me.
no. she does not have a reading voice that one wants to hear for more than 30 seconds.
Many of us have been waitresses. Perhaps less bitter because we weren't frustrated poets and didn't go to Iowa to study graduate writing.
So many well-told tales! Non-fiction, collected writings from the many publications which supported the author as she nurtured her fiction writing career. What treat to hear so many rich experiences. Loved the tale of her Parnassus (independent) Book Store in Nashville!
Have listened to some of her fiction, and this compares quite favorably.
To write an account of the process of becoming an officer in the LAPD, Ann worked through the steps to qualify to enroll in the Los Angeles Police Academy. Her father, a retired LAPD officer, gave her a home-base and encouragement during the rigorous days of testing of her moral character, and her intellectual and physical abilities.
Feeling Of true conecfion between the author and narator !!!!
Specialy about her mariage Experience .Also all about Rose.
When we read a book we hear our own voice(at least IDo)Listening to Ann's voice gives an additional layer and sense!
This book is a collection of eseys.It is in a sense many layers photograph. what tags from layer to layer is a person. In each layer we know more about it and relate to it diferently, maybe more deeply?
I heard of Ann Patchett listening to a podcast of Binah(San Francisco Jewish Comunity Center) and listening to a Bob something interviewe. I want to listen to all she has written. And will in the future.I like simplicity and a flow of her words and this atitude of putting it down, writing and forgetting about it.
Clear, honest, relevant , sincere, simply profound.
It made a heart connection for me in all of her stories
This is a great book of essays with very personal themes and much discussion of the author's relationships with family and friends. I had high expectations when this book of essays was recently published and I was not disappointed. The author's narration personalizes the entire book. I felt like she was speaking directly to me. This was further accentuated by the personal nature of the topics, strengthening the rapport between reader and author.
I would imagine these essays would interest even those readers unfamiliar with her novels, but for readers who are already fans these essays are particularly relevant since she discusses her craft and her working habits as well as her shift from the short story to the novel. For example, in one essay she talks about reading her manuscripts entirely out loud to a colleague before they are published. That will not surprise listeners to this audiobook since it is clear that her skills have been honed by much practice - she is a wonderful narrator.
I have been a fan of Ann Patchett for many years, and greatly appreciated the title essay of this collection when it was offered to Audible subscribers a few years ago. I also had experienced her narrating skills in her non-fiction book about her friendship with Lucy Grealy, TRUTH AND BEAUTY. I usually don't appreciate author-narrators but when they have such great skills they can really add to the personal essay read aloud - another example of this talent is Jonathan Franzen.
This book was a treat from beginning to end - everything about this collection was delightful and made me want more. I highly recommend it to essay fans, Patchett fans and those interested in the craft of writing.
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