Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Amateur Marriage

Okay, I guess there is something wrong with me. I did not like The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler. I had read The Patchwork Planet a few years ago and everyone said what a good writer she was but I wasn't impressed so I probably wouldn't have bought this book if it hadn't been chosen by our book group as the next book for discussion. The reviews have been good. One said it was her best to date. Well, forgive me but I didn't like it. It was one of the most depressing books I have read lately and if I am going to read a depressing book then I want to come away enlightened in some way. I kept asking myself "What is the author trying to say?" That life is messy? Duh! Of course. That the glow goes off marriage? Right - I mean something I don't know Anne. There was no resolution in this book anywhere. And one minute I am in Pauline's head and the next page, years later, she is dead. Just like that, dead. I was in so many heads at different times and that was okay in a way but then you would wonder, when in Michael's head, so what is Pauline thinking about this and you didn't know. And she never puts you in Lindy's head so we can figure out what the heck was going on with her. And some of the character's reactions didn't ring true. Shouldn't either Pauline or Michael have done more to find Lindy? It just seemed to me that it was a whole character cop out. We got bits of everyone but never really got to understand any of them. Am I wrong? Is that the point? It wasn't the writing itself. Although if the characters don't seem authentic then that is a writing flaw. But perhaps I am just not interested in what Anne Tyler has to say to me -whatever that is.

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Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)