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Marry Me: A Romance Paperback – August 27, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (August 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449912159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449912157
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Updike's eighth novel, subtitled "A Romance" because, he says, "People don't act like that any more," centers on the love affair of a married couple in the Connecticut of 1962. Unfortunately, this is a couple whose members are married to other people. Suburban infidelity is familiar territory by now, but nobody knows it as well as Updike, and the book is written with the author's characteristic poetic sensibility and sly wit.

Review

Marry Me is superb, sharp, witty, perceptive, honest. . . . With keen intelligence, Updike has cut a slice of life the width of one town, the height of one feverish summer, the depth of four people trying to understand why their center does not hold—and turned it into a mirror of our modern popular wisdom.”—Chicago Daily News
 
“Updike’s most mature work . . . His writing has deepened, grown wiser and funnier, like a face that is aging well.”—The Atlantic
 
“It is, quite simply, Updike’s best novel yet.”—Newsweek

More About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 lived in Massachusetts. He was the father of four children and the author of more than fifty books, including collections of short stories, poems, essays, and criticism. His novels won the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal. A previous collection of essays, Hugging the Shore, received the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. John Updike died on January 27, 2009, at the age of 76.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is my second Updike novel and I loved it. The story is typically Updike, with adulterous themes and enchanting prose. It's a story about a man struggling to decide which of two women in his life will make him happiest. One of the women is his wife, the other is his married neighbor.

The characters are strong people who at times seem deeply moved by their circumstances, and at other times surprisingly passe. Updike is great at making the reader feel what the characters feel. I was angry, guilty, hurt and amused throughout this novel.

I recommend this book highly
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Cooper VINE VOICE on February 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the Updike oeuvre, MARRY ME is not unlike Couples and even Villages, as it explores infidelity and the search for happiness in Northeastern commuter towns. Like COUPLES, MARRY Me features thirty-somethings with young children who gather for weekend drinks and weirdly ecstatic volleyball. Like VILLAGES, it has a selfish and unfaithful male protagonist and even a wife in car accident. These books, like the RABBIT novels, share a lot--in this case, a sensibility, a suburban setting, and an underlying social vocabulary. They are somewhat different looks at the same jewel.

In MARRY ME, there are many fine sections. For example, in the second chapter, "The Wait", Updike perfectly captures the frantic helplessness of trying to get on successive planes as a standby. Likewise, in the third chapter, "The Reacting of Ruth", there is an absolutely pitch-perfect picture of a family in crisis.

But within these two chapters, there is also what I experienced as two mediocre plays. In "The Wait", this is the snippet conversations between the lovers Jerry and Sally. These alternate between confusion (deliberate by Updike) and empty rhetoric about love and fate (also deliberate). Likewise, in "The Reacting of Ruth" there is brilliant dispute between Jerry and Ruth, his wife, with Jerry often making exactly the perfect point to further or justify his position. But for me, these conversations were unreal in their hair-splitting precision.

I'm not a professor.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is remindful of the author's earlier "Couples," which too involved adulterous relations among suburban couples. However, the focus of this book is far more narrow involving only two families and is much more dialog intensive giving a clearer window into the full range of emotions experienced by these people.

Jerry and Ruth Conant and Richard and Sally Mathias are thirty-something's with three children in each family. The focus of the book is the affair of Jerry and Sally. At times they seem certain of their love and eventual marriage. Yet others are involved for whom genuine affections exist and doubts continually arise, not only as to practicalities but also as to understanding their true and long-term feelings. Some of the scenes are lengthy and it is fair to say can be tedious. The dialog seems endless and repetitious, constantly reviewing the same points and feelings - and it all seems very realistic. The dialog really draws the reader into their dilemma.

The book is really quite insightful concerning marriage in so far as it goes, but it is inconclusive. What to do when a seemingly better marital fit arises after many years is a subject far larger than one novel can solve.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CavJr on August 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I wont rehash the story here as other reviewers have done a good job. I enjoy Updike and if your're new to him, I recommend starting with his short stories or the Rabbit series rather than with "Marry Me". The good points of the novel were the descriptions of life in Connecticut and DC in the early 1960's, the Updike style (descriptive and introspective),the quick page-turning quality and the insights into happiness and married life. The novel is the story of marital infidelity and its effects on two families. It was probably very insightful when first published in 1970 but this is a field that has been well plowed since then. The stories of John Cheever come to mind. I agree with the reviewers who noted some scenes verged on tediousness. Probably the best drawn aspect in my view was how the relationship between Jerry and Sally was so strongly based on feelings and how evanescent strong feelings can be. Not something you want to base major life changing decisions on. Or do you?

Spolier alert:
I don't really understand the ending. Or rather, I understand it all except the Wyoming part. I gather that part never really happened.
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I really enjoyed this novel. The only part I did not like was the last chapter where three alternate endings were provided. I would rather have had a clear ending, but overall it was an emotional and relatable story for anyone who's ever been in a relationship. I particularly enjoyed Updike's attention to detail as far as the inner workings of his characters were concerned.
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