Have you read Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage? It is her latest book and it came out in November, 2013.
I wanted to read this book for two reasons. The first is that I have read Ann Patchett before and liked her books. The second reason is the interview that I saw where she and Elizabeth Gilbert were together at the New York Public Library. (The video below is a snippet of the interview.) They both looked like they enjoyed each other’s company. How can you not want to read about someone who seems like she would be fun?
First of all, this book was not what I expected. I thought that I had just not read the reviews but after reading the book, I checked the reviews and they are not clear. This is a collection of essays that, for the most part, were published before. It is autobiographical but through the lens of stories that were published elsewhere and then compiled for this book.
Call me strange (and you would not be the first) but because it was not what I expected, I was disappointed at first. I think it is a different mindset going in to read a book where you expect the story to flow from the beginning to the end than when you read a book of essays – even if they are on the topic that you expected.
So once I got past my initial surprise, I settled in to read about Ann Patchett. I found the stories very interesting and they did follow a path in her life. In certain places, the story may go back to something that happened before but when that happened, it was to expand on the topic not just re-tell it.
I thought the beginning of the book was great information for writers. She talks about her experiences in school that helped improve and grow her writing. She also talks about how she came to write non-fiction (to make money) and how she benefitted from that experience. She also talks in the book about being an independent bookseller and how she became involved in the store. Since I agree with her, I read that with pleasure.
I liked the honesty in the book. There are several times where she admits to faux pas that perhaps do not put her in the best light but they make her real. She also talks when her book Truth and Beauty was chosen as the freshman reading assignment at Clemson University and that a controversy about the book was played out in the media and on campus.
After adjusting to the style of the book, I enjoyed it. It would be great for those times when you want to read but you know that you will be interrupted frequently because each chapter is the beginning and end of a story.
I borrowed it from the library as an ebook. I am still stuck on how frustrating that experience is and wish I could come up with a way to make it less frustrating. (In case you missed why I think it is frustrating, I will recap. I have rarely gone on line to look for a book that it is available. So then you have to put it on “Hold”. When it comes in, you get an email and have three days to download the book. You then have one week to read it. If you don’t finish it in one week, you go to the back of the line. You cannot renew the book. ) I wish the library gods would find a way to make the process better.
I also wish I could donate ebooks to the library. What do you do with ebooks that you have read and don’t want to read again? There should be a way to donate them.
A Request –
After you finish a book, if you would take a minute and review it on Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) and reading sites like Goodreads, the author would greatly appreciate it . Please do it especially if you loved it and the author is new. This is very important and helps get people to read the book. (Okay, if you thought the book was terrible, it isn’t much help to the author but it is to other readers…)
Thanks for reading!