Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Outnumbered but unconvinced

As I expected most, if not all, of my book circle agreed with the reviews and praised Anne Tyler. I listened and asked questions, put my viewpoint out there to get shot down, hoping to find what I was missing.

I concede that aspects I considered inauthentic in the characters were probably purposeful on Tyler's part and therefore not necessarily flaws but an attempt at a certain effect which they appreciated and I did not. They got a message from the author in what I found missing in the book...the lack of love, the lack of forgiveness, the lack of introspection and growth in the main protagonists. Somehow these shallow, selfish characters Tyler created, spoke to them - although what the message was still is not really clear to me- perhaps there but for the grace of G_ go I or, or I'm not alone , or thank heavens that's not me, or I am doing better than that? Good; they got something out of these made up lives . I just found it sad. How many ways can lives be messed up? Oh, here's another one. It was like reading the newspapers or watching reality T.V. -The Osbourne Family maybe.

But there is something else. I can't put my finger on it. I thought of A Fine Balance, also a book about lives filled with tragedy and obstacles but my what a difference. Now why did I love that book and not The Amateur Marriage? Blink!

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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)