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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Bewertungen:
4/5 (119 Bewertungen)
Länge:
361 Seiten
6 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Nov 5, 2013
ISBN:
9780062236692
Format:
Buch

Anmerkung des Herausgebers

The art of life…

Ann Patchett has long been beloved for her novels, but this collection of essays confirms she’s just as deft in nonfiction. From the art of writing to the LAPD, her essays are at once deeply intimate and universally apt.

Beschreibung

From Scribd: About the Book

A collection of over 20 essays blending literature and memoir, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett examines the things most important in her life, from her husband, family and friends to books and writing, creating a dynamic picture of a life fully lived.

The essays cover a broad timeframe, from her childhood to the present day, from a broken early marriage to a later happy one, covering a multitude of topics including relationships with family and friends, and captures the joy and hard work of writing and the thrill of opening her own bookstore.

Patchett has written seven fiction and three nonfiction books. She is a winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, England’s Orange Prize and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her novels include Bel Canto, The Dutch House, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Commonwealth, a #1 New York Times bestseller.

The work brings into focus the major life experiences and smaller moments that shaped her as a wife, daughter and writer in a highly engaging and readable way.

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Nov 5, 2013
ISBN:
9780062236692
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Ann Patchett is originally from Los Angeles and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of four novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, The Magician’s Assistant, Taft and Bel Canto, which was the winner of the 2002 Pen/Faulkner Award. She lives in Nashville.


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  • (4/5)
    Didn't realize it was a book of short stories.
  • (5/5)
    This collection of essays from one of my favorite authors covers a wide variety of topics, everything from working at TGIFridays to dogs. The way Patchett writes makes any topic interesting. She is truthful and blunt at times, even when discussing sensitive subjects like grief, censorship, and divorce, but it’s this honesty that makes it easy for a reader to feel connected. Her passion for different things come through in her writing and you find yourself getting sucked into stories about seeing MET opera productions in her local theatre, taking a book tour or staying in a hotel and doing nothing.Most of these articles were published in various magazines (Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, etc.) over the years, but all of them were new to me. She also included a few new pieces to round out the book. She spent years making ends meet with her freelance work for magazine and that experience is evident in the structure of the essays. They flow smoothly, each one a self-contained piece that stands on its own, but also adds to the neat arch through her life that the book traces. One of my favorites was a piece on her bookstore Parnassus in Nashville. I had the opportunity to visit it last year and I loved hearing more about the history of its creation. I also loved her pieces about her dog Rose. As a dog lover it’s easy to immediately relate to those. BOTTOM LINE: Each essay offered the reader another glimpse into the writer’s world. I don’t know if I would have loved it so much if I wasn’t already a huge fan, but I am, so this was a treat all the way through.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first nonfiction book of Ann Patchett's that I have read, and I picked it up after seeing her in conversation with Richard Russo. I was charmed by her in that interaction and anxious to read the book. I found the book less charming and actually a little confusing. In the talk she mentioned that one of her college teachers/mentors had said that you can't be a good writer if you are not a good person. The picture she paints of herself in the book is certainly not entirely the picture of a good person! It's not that all of us don't do mean or selfish things, but the "good" part of us usually indicates some remorse, or "firm purpose of amendment," as the Catholic version goes. There were two points in the book (or maybe three) where she exhibited behaviors that could be considered mean, selfish, but no real sign of regret. One of the episodes was so shocking that I recounted it to my family. My son said, "Why would she tell that story on herself?" Good question - probably because she doesn't go to confession any more.That being said, there are other signs of nobility in her steadfast care of her grandmother, and her acute talent for friendships. The last chapter I read aloud to my husband. It is one of those passages that will stay with both of us, I think.I read Richard Russo's "Elsewhere," and I came away liking him better as a person. Not so much with this book, though it confirmed her amazing skill as a writer. And in a way it gives the lie to the belief of her college professor. I am not sure I see her as a good person but she is a most formidable writer.
  • (5/5)
    Ms Patchett is one of those authors who can write about almost anything and I'll be interested. This is a diverse collection of essays, many of them auto-biographical, on topics such as pets, marriage, coping with natural catastrophes, Catholicism, and helping loved ones die.
  • (5/5)
    I love Ann Patchett's fiction, so I approached this collection of essays with anticipation. I didn't hurt that several of you have written glowing reviews of this book either. And I wasn't disappointed. Ann Patchett has a unique, straightforward voice. In these stories of her life, her relationships, her decisions, she not only makes the personal universal, but she captures the nuances of each experience with so much precision and insight that I'd find myself nodding along. I liked the essays about her grandmother best because I felt like she was writing for me too. That's exactly how it was when my grandmother got dementia. But even when she entered territory that in no way resembled by own, such as when she tried out for the LAPD, I found myself drawn in, identifying with the way these events shaped her life. These essays were originally written for various publications as a way for Patchett to support herself while she wrote novels, and that may have given them their clear voice. Patchett reflects, "The job of these essays had been to support art, not to be art, but maybe that was what spared them from self-consciousness." Patchett convinced me that writing about it is a good way to see a life clearly, as she does with her relationship with her husband:"There are always those perfect times with the people we love, those moments of job and equality that sustain us later on. I am living that time with my husband now. I try to study our happiness so that I will be able to remember it in the future, just in case something happens and we find ourselves in need."This is a beautiful collection of essays. Highly recommended!
  • (4/5)
    I read Ann Patchett's [This is the Story of a Happy Marriage] last night as an audiobook, narrated by the author. This is a collection of essays written over the past decade or so with most of them published elsewhere. Most of them are memoir material, having to do with growing up as a child of divorce, attending Catholic schools, the perils of MFA programs, dogs (one in particular, Rose), divorce & marriage, and the founding of Parnassus books. Much of the first part of the book is of interest to aspiring writers. Having read several of her novels, I was interested in hearing more about how the author thinks, reads, and approaches writing. I was not disappointed. I gave it 4 stars.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful collection of essays on a wide variety of topics including how to succeed in writing, the joys of watching opera in HD at the local movie theater and the author's unexpected enjoyment camping in a Winnebago. We meet her first and second husbands, her beloved dog Rosie and a Nun and a very special grandmother who have been central players in her most interesting life. Ms. Patchett has a freshness and vibrancy both in her writing and the way she perceives the world that makes this a very special book.
  • (4/5)
    A collection of essays (and a speech) that is Fine from beginning to end. I had only read Ann Patchett's second novel, Taft, before. Most of her fiction has not called to me, based on descriptions, and even enthusiastic reviews by readers I respect. HOWEVER, having read all these pieces, many of which spoke directly to my heart and soul, I know I have to trust Ann Patchett to tell me a good story, even if it isn't one that seems to be "my kind of thing" on the face of it. When she described her 7th grade self's brief but lovely encounter with Eudora Welty at a book signing, I found myself hugging the book, and there might have been a tear in my eye over her final observation about that: "For the sheer force of its heart-stopping, life-changing wonder, I will put this experience up against anyone who ever saw the Beatles." Also, she has forced --forced, I tell you--me to buy two books, a collection of Grace Paley's short stories, and the 2006 edition of Best American Short Stories, which Patchett edited and for which she wrote a wonderful introduction (included in This is the Story...October 2017
  • (4/5)
    This is a very short audible book read by the author herself.
    This is an extremely well-written biographical snippet discussing relationships and how things go wrong, how things went wrong in her own life and how she finally found a relationship that worked long term and how she finally found a partner she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
    Intelligent. Touching.
  • (5/5)
    I have been entranced by Ann Patchett’s books ever since a book club I was in chose “Bel Canto” as the monthly pick. I was NOT thrilled with that choice. A novel about an opera singer? Hmm. So I put it off as long as I could…and once I finally picked it up – I fell in love with the sound of the words, the beauty of the images. After finishing that book, I read all of her backlist and have been a fan ever since.“This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” gave me a chance to see behind the curtain, to see more of the person behind the words. Many of the essays are about Patchett’s life, and all of them involve her in one way or another. I liked them almost as much as I adore her fiction – possibly because she does not hold back when the subject matter calls for brutal honesty. The reader learns about her first marriage (and her divorce), her relationship with her grandmother, her relationship with her dog (both of which are beautiful and heartbreaking), and about some of the most difficult times of her life.There is also the added benefit of getting a taste of her sense of humor. She is funny and self-deprecating and isn’t afraid to let the reader see her at less than her best. The stories about her week-long trip in a motor home, her experience taking the qualifying tests for the LAPD police academy are funny and fascinating.And yet, the sections I enjoyed the most were the ones about writing. About her love for, frustration with and passion surrounding her craft. For one who always dreamed of being a writer, who went to college to study creative writing and one who loves books, this was almost akin to learning the secrets of a master magician – without any resulting disillusionment.“This book I have not yet written one word of is a thing of indescribable beauty, unpredictable in its patterns, piercing in its color, so wild and loyal in its nature that my love for this book, and my faith in it as I track its lazy flight, is the single perfect joy in my life. It is the greatest novel in the history of literature, and I have thought it up, and all I have to do is put it down on paper and then everyone can see this beauty that I see.”“And so I do. When I can’t think of another stall, when putting it off has actually become more painful than doing it, I reach up and pluck the butterfly from the air. I take it from the region of my head and I press it down against my desk, and there, with my own hand, I kill it. It’s not that I want to kill it, but it’s the only way I can get something that is so three-dimensional onto the flat page.”And: “It’s a wonderful thing to find a great teacher, but we also have to find him or her at a time in life when we’re able to listen to and trust and implement the lessons we are given. The same is true of the books we read. I think that what influences us in literature comes less from what we love and more from what we happen to pick up in moments we are especially open.”All of these fascinating, beautifully written, emotionally honest essays were a delight to read. And last but certainly not least? Reading about an author who then buys and promotes an independent bookstore (every reader’s dream – come on!) when the two big bookstores in her town close? Icing on the delicious and well-crafted cake.
  • (3/5)
    Free from Audible to members. I found this essay to be quite engaging and interesting as a child of an unhappy marriage eventually followed by divorce now trying to figure out how to have a happy marriage without having seen one.
  • (5/5)
    I love her writing. Hoping if I read this often enough I'll become a better writer. It does work that way, right? The selection of essays has an interesting range of topics, sometimes surprising, always good.
  • (4/5)
    Patchett is a nice person to spend some time with, even if you are personally not interested in learning more about the craft of writing. She's a good companion to listen to during a car ride.
  • (5/5)
    Love the author so am biased; however, most of these stories gave more details on subjects I already knew something about in relation to her. When I like an author I like to know them "personally" and Patchett allows us access. Her story (book title) about her marriage is wonderful and, to me, gave much to think about afterwards because I felt somewhat the same as she about marriage (or not).
  • (4/5)
    Funny, interesting essay.
  • (4/5)
    I have read Ann Patchett's books for a long time now, long enough that I can see her improving in her craft, book by book. This grouping of essays cover a wide range of subjects that she has written throughout the years. So interesting how she started her writing career and how she approaches her writing now, the care she puts into her research. Very interesting. Marriage, her Catholic faith, RV travel, and of course her dog Rosie. Loved how she talked about her dog, can tell she is madly in love with the pooch. Marriage, what it means and the importance of this in her life.Of course, her bookstore Parnassus in Tennessee, which I hope to get to one day and her unsolicited quest as the head of the movement of the independent bookstore. This book made me feel that I knew her much better, more in depth, a little up close and personal. I enjoyed reading these essays and think she has many interesting things to say.
  • (4/5)
    44. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (2013, 306 page Hardcover, Read July 22 – Aug 3)I'm having a tough time reviewing this. I just can't seem to figure out whether I liked it disproportionately to it's quality, or how to express that with the right amount of imprecision. I loved the collection. The quality is at least good, if not great. I mean Patchett clearly has some skills in writing personal essays (the essays are all about her life). She excels at bringing the reader in and making us interested, not dragging the essays along, and leaving the reader moved, sometimes in only a few words. As these are all personal essays, cumulatively they work as something like a biography. She covers childhood experiences with divorced parents in two states, half siblings, grad school, bad marriages, affairs with the like of David Foster Wallace, dogs, aging, relationships, writing, her odd experience with freedom of expression, and how she has accidentally become the voice of the independent book store. For all she has accomplished, it was her book store, Parnassus in Nashville, TN, that got her on front page of the New York Times and on the Colbert Report. I found I liked pretty much every essay. They were originally supposed to stand on their own, and they do. The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life is a short manual on how to write, or at least how she writes. It's quite brilliant, I think. How to Read a Christmas Story is simply about her dad telling her a Christmas story over the phone on Christmas day. But it's not a simple story. Thanks to her parent's divorce, her father calls Tennessee on Christmas Day from California where he spends the day alone...and just little details like that make this actually a fairly complex story that does a lot to the reader in a few pages. For me, clearly the best essay was the title one, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Maybe I like this so much because this is where she talks about her relationship with David Foster Wallace (who she merely names David). But also it's just a great fairy tale version of her life. There is naivety, a tragic beginning, a terrible sin, variations of romance, and various snares and adventures that all lead up to a happy ending of sorts. And it was not till afterward that I started to think about how many different elements of the story captured me, or about all those distracting details that were stripped off, to keep simple, if you like. Anyway, for what it's worth, I got a lot out of this.
  • (4/5)
    In this book of essays, Ann Patchett discusses her writing career, her relationships, and her life's lessons. It's probably very difficult to put together this many advice and memoir essays without coming off as self-righteous at least part of the time. That said, the lessons she imparts are worth learning. The book opens with essays about Patchett’s writing career: how she got where she is today and what that place actually looks like. This was my favorite part of the book, because the essays focused on working hard, trying hard, and having a lot of luck. You only get better at writing by doing it, something I need to be reminded of when I get distracted by other "obligations" in my life. I was inspired by how she built stories in her head while waiting tables and how she came up with a million ideas for magazine articles, just hoping that something would stick. In her essay about book tours, she brought up a lot of points I hadn't considered, since I haven't had the privledge to do that (yet).The personal memoir essays were also interesting and could be very touching. That said, Patchett's life comes off as some sort of Writer Fantasy World that's hard not to envy. By coincidence, I was reading Allie Brosh's Hyberole and a Half (book) at the same time, and that served as a much-needed contrast. It was like switching between Lesley Knope and Liz Lemon.; you sort of need one to balance out the other. So maybe my dog, as much as I love him, will never be the perfect specimen of dog that Patchett's Rose was. He's a lot closer to Brosh's Simple Dog, actually, which made me laugh. And maybe I'm an aspiring writer who hasn't worked and tried hard enough to get a paid fellowship to write my first novel. At least I got off the couch and showered today, and that's pretty alright. I should also add that this is the only writing of Patchett's I've (knowingly) read. I'm not sure why that would matter, especially considering that the writing-advice essays were my favorites, but from skimming through other reviews, it seems to matter a lot. I picked up this book because of the "Fresh Air" interview, and then I thought it was going to be a full memoir, not essays. As it turns out, I probably liked this format better. I recommend This is the Story of a Happy Marriage for writers and for die-hard Patchett fans. But keep in mind that for every Lesley Knope, there's a Liz Lemon out there setting the bar at a reasonable standard for the rest of us.
  • (5/5)
    This is a book of fine essays by one of the best writers around. I love Ann Patchett's fiction (Bel Canto, State of Wonder) but had not read any of her magazine articles until now. Truth and Beauty was also non-fic, the biography of Ann's dear friend Lucy Grealy, whose cancer of the jaw left her physically devastated but with a brilliant mind and soul. One of the essays here defends Truth and Beauty and Autobiography of a Face, Lucy's book, which were assigned freshman reading at a Southern college where parents of students attempted to censor the project. Ann's speech to the freshman class is her Gettysburg address of defense of literary freedom, though oddly enough, she repudiates the speech as pretentious later on.Ann's deliciously complex marriage is the subject of the longest story and maybe the best. Everything here is grade A+++ choice. Don't miss it.
  • (5/5)
    This is a compilation of Ann Patchett short stories and articles, which have been published in various magazines over the years. There are also several speeches included from university commencements. The chapters are each distinct and cover topics ranging from marriage, writing, pet ownership, and family obligations. Ann is such a wonderful writer and it is easy to feel that you know her well after reading these glimpses into her life. I found it particularly enjoyable since I had read "Truth & Beauty," which covered a specific period of Ann's writing career and her friendship with Lucy Grealy. A very enjoyable collection, although not particularly about marriage.
  • (5/5)
    This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a collection of 23 essays (including the introduction) written by Ann Patchett between 1996 and 2012. The stories not only showcase some of the nonfiction she has written, but they serve as a genuine introduction to the person of Ann Patchett. It is a well-known fact that Patchett is an excellent writer. How she approached this pinnacle of success is well documented in the introduction and the subsequent essays bear the truth/fruit of her efforts.

    Some of these essays originally appeared in some form in various magazines: Atlantic Monthly, Audible, Gourmet, Granta, Harper's, New York Times, Vogue, and the Washington Post Magazine. Others were written for a venue with this collection also in mind.

    Actually, I'm hard pressed to pick favorites from her essays since I found strong points in each one. They all deal with commitments, whether it is to a spouse or a dog or a grandmother or a state or a vocation or an idea. But what all of these essays excel at is tutoring and illustrating how it should be done for would-be-writers. All of these essays are just as compelling as any short story and prove the point that a good writer can write about the ordinariness of everyday life, like caring for a loved one, and make it interesting, honest, and poetic.

    All of these essays have something to say. The writing is outstanding... simply superlative. Patchett is able to accurately describe scenes and people in such an extraordinary way that you will feel a connection to the writing. While this is a collection of essays, in many ways it also functions as a memoir, an incredibly literary and beautifully rendered memoir with insightful vignettes and heart-felt disclosures.

    Fans of Patchett's fiction should do themselves a favor and purchase this collection asap.

    To Patchett I just want to say: Thank you for giving me a small glimpse of some of the things composting in your humus. The brief scenes and insight you chose to share have widened my perspective of your work and given me an even greater appreciation of your talent.

    Very Highly Recommended


    Contents:

    Nonfiction, an Introduction explains the fact that a writer has to earn a living too. It covers how Patchett not only paid her dues as a freelance nonfiction writer, but also how this helped her become a better writer.

    How to Read a Christmas Story is a recollection of various Christmas memories and her first happy Christmas

    The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life - is another great essay for those who want to be writers. Two thoughts to share:
    "I am a compost heap, and everything I interact with, every experience I've had, gets shoveled onto the heap where it eventually mulches down, is digested and excreted by worms, and rots. It's from that dark, rich humus, the combination of what you encountered, what you know and what you've forgotten, that ideas start to grow." (pg 41)

    "I believe in keeping several plots going at once. The plot of a novel should be like walking down a busy city street.... All manner of action and movement is rushing toward you and away. But that isn't enough.... Many writers feel that plot is passe' - they're so over plot, who needs plot? - to which I say: Learn how to construct one first, and then feel free to reject it." (pg. 48)

    The Sacrament of Divorce is about her very short, first marriage. "Honey, I know. Things happen that you never thought were possible." (pg. 65)

    The Paris Match - is about a trip to Paris and a word game.

    This Dog's Life - is the story of how she found her dog, Rose.

    In The Best Seat in the House she explains how she satisfies her love of opera.

    My Road to Hell Was Paved is about renting a Winnebago to explore RVing in the American West for an article.

    In Tennessee she reflects on some of her experiences living in the state.

    On Responsibility is about caring for her dog and her grandmother.

    The Wall is about the time Patchettt went through the written and physical tests to try out for the police academy in Los Angeles.

    Fact vs. Fiction is the Miami University of Ohio Convocation Address of 2005.

    In My Life in Sales Patchett reflects on going out on book tours to sell her novels.

    "The Love Between the Two Women Is Not Normal" discusses a protest at Clemson University over Patchett's nonfiction book Truth and Beauty, a memoir about her friendship with writer Lucy Grealy.

    The Right to Read is the Clemson Freshman Convocation Address of 2006.

    Do Not Disturb discusses Pachett checking into the Hotel Bel-Air for some peace and quiet in order to get some work done.

    Introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2006 (self-explanatory)

    Love Sustained is a moving tribute to her grandmother.

    The Bookstore Strikes Back explains how Patchett came to be co-owner of an independent bookstore in Nashville, Parnassus Books.

    This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is the story of her family history of failed marriages in comparison to her now successful relationship.

    In Our Deluge, Drop by Drop, Patchett reflects on flooding.

    In Dog without End she is faced with her faithful companion Rose's decline in health.

    In The Mercies Patchett helps Sister Nena, a Sister of Mercy and former teacher, move into an apartment by herself for the first time at age 78.


    Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins for review purposes.
  • (5/5)
    After my experience with Patchett's Bel Canto and State of Wonder, I snatched this up at the library without knowing anything about it. Turns out to be a collection of short stories (some shorter than others). Now, short stories are not my thing - I like big books, I cannot lie - but the writing is so beautiful and honest, that I'm reconsidering that position. It's like eating a box of chocolates, and each little bonbon is not only your favorite, but impossibly even more delicious than the one before.
  • (5/5)
    Such a wonderful writer she is. The chapter on writing should be read by all writers; the chapter on her marriage should be read by all married people! How she manages to craft such beautiful sentences is beyond me.
  • (4/5)
    I love Ann Patchett. Truth and Beauty is my favorite, and this book is right up there. I enjoy Ann's essays that give me some insight into her life and the experiences that formed her. It was fun to find out the story of how her indie bookstore came to be.
  • (3/5)
    This is a collection of essays which I listened to in audiobook form. The narrator was Ann Patchett herself, which is a nice bonus. There's something about listening to the author tell you stories about her own life that just makes it a lot more immediate-seeming. The essay topics range from writing and going on book tours to the title one about marriage (spoiler: it's about an unhappy marriage as well as a happy one), to a couple of ones about her dog.The best ones for me were "The Getaway Car," which was about writing, and "The Wall," which was about her attempt at the tests for the LAPD police academy. An odd thing happened while I was listening to the various essays, though, and that is that I began to like Ms. Patchett less and less. I can't point to exactly why that is, although her references to her long-time boyfriend/eventual husband seemed so unemotional that they were offputting. Also, her essay about her friend, writer Lucy Grealy (subject of Patchett's book Truth and Beauty, which I haven't read) just struck me as odd at points. In searching around for more information on the book, I found out that Grealy's family was not entirely happy that Patchett wrote that book, or with the timing and contents thereof.So I guess what I'm trying to say is that by the end of the audiobook, I was listening with a certain amount of distance I didn't have at the beginning. I'm sure Patchett would be a great companion for dinner, but I don't know that I'd want to spend much more time with her than that. However, her advice about being a writer (which applies to any creative field, and probably to a lot of others as well) is spot-on and well-stated. It boils down to: Sit. Write, or don't, but don't get up or do anything else until you've written something or decided that you're not going to write.
  • (4/5)
    I have read quite a bit of Patchett's fiction over the years and I was lucky enough to hear her talk when she accepted the WNBA Award this past spring. Having enjoyed her fiction, her lovely non-fiction tribute to a friend, and delighted in her acceptance speech, I was definitely curious to read this collection of nonfiction, culled from her years of writing for magazines. I don't know what she left out of the book, but this is definitely a best of the best kind of collection and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Almost all of the essays in the book have been previously published in a wide variety of magazines, which might lead you to think that there is no unifying thread to the works but you'd be far wide of the mark. No matter how diverse the subject matter appears to be, each of the essays adds a small piece to the puzzle of who Ann Patchett is as a person. It might seem odd to suggest that there are snippets of bared soul in essays like living in an RV or trying out to enter the LA Police Academy, and less odd to suggest that additional private glimpses come through in essays about her love for her small, found dog, her relationship with her failing grandmother, and her friendship with an aging nun who once taught her in school, but all of them, as well as the rest of the essays, are equally personal and revealing in weaving the story of her life. The essays are linked by the importance of commitment and relationship and explore the things about which Patchett cares deeply. She addresses marriage and divorce, the parent child relationship, the power and disappointment of writing, and the negative reaction to Truth and Beauty, her beautiful ode to her late friend Lucy Grealy. Most of the pieces are short; they were written for magazines originally, after all. But the length is immaterial given the heart that shines through them in this uniformly strong collection. Patchett doesn't present only the heartwarming and positive in her experience but she chronicles the real and the difficult and the not so pretty, the arguments and the failings and the less than admirable moments that make up a real person. And in compiling the collection she has, she has made herself accessible to her readers in a new and different way. You'll close the cover to these stories feeling as if you'd be privileged to be Patchett's friend.
  • (3/5)
    I've decided I just don't love ann patchett that much. I loved bel canto, but I'm scared to reread it since it could have just been thr subject matter and the timing of my reading. I thought state of wonder was appallingly dreadful. I thought Truth and beauty portrayed her in an arrogant light. Some of these essays came off that way- the getaway car often gave backhanded compliments to less successful mentors. Some essays were more interesting - like the one about her interest in the met hd, or the one about her book store in Nashville- but that's pretty much it. They didn't leave me shaken to the core, or with a new perspective on the topic, I just felt glad that she was writing about something I enjoyed. Her writing just doesn't move me. One exception was "Love Sustained" about her relationship with her grandmother. Worth an independent read.
  • (5/5)
    Ohhh---ten stars at least! I LOVED this! It's almost becomes a memoir rather than just her essays and how wonderful to see inside Ann Pachett all at once in one place. I was just sorry to come to the end of the book but at least I have already gathered up one of her earlier novels to read that I missed.......
  • (4/5)
    A collection of personal essays from throughout Patchett's career, this book avoids being hit or miss, with every essay in it striking a chord with me. I did enjoy some of them more than others, of course, but the whole collection was wonderful. My favorites were "The Wall," about trying out for the LA police academy; "The Right to Read," an address to the Clemson freshman class of 2006 amid a brouhaha about one of Patchett's books; and "The Mercies," about Patchett's friendship with a nun. Recommended.
  • (5/5)
    This was a collection of Ann Patchett's non-fiction essays, most of which have previously appeared in Vogue, The Atlantic etc, but which are ordered here in a chronology to read like a memoir or autobiography. I enjoyed some more than others, but they were all warm and thought-provoking. For reasons I don't fully understand I particularly enjoyed the chapter where she applies to the LAPD academy and has (but this is a very small part of that chapter) to dumb down her language skills to pass the written exam. I was inspired by the chapter where she opens an independent bookstore (a shame my town already has an excellent independent bookstore) and I would endorse the message of the chapter about her happy marriage: "Does he make you a better person?"