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5.0 out of 5 stars Please Save this Marriage --A Mirror into Our World, March 22, 2004
This review is from: The Amateur Marriage: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is one of the best told modern American tales of the most over-rated institute we have today--marriage. As much debating is taking place over who can and can't marry today--questions that are searched for with our couple we meet fall into issues of: Safety, security, life-long happiness, empowerment. No matter our age, race, religion, sexual orientation--marriage, the good, bad and ugly are explored in this terrific read.
Ann Tyler's story takes us through 60 years. A relationship that begins in the 1940s, just before Pearl Harbor. The author has once again taken a microscope and perhaps microphone into the lives of the two main characters and chartered a course for them with all of the makings for a "You-know-it's-going-to-be-bad" chorus from the moment the two soon-to-be man and wife first encounter each other. Pauline stumbles into Michael's family grocery with a nick on her head from being too boisterous during a community parade--a glimpse into the happy-go-lucky main character and wife. Wearing red, flashing the world her spit-fire personality, we soon find the two are in the dating game, then quickly onto marriage--then with children, then dealing with the in-laws and holiday rituals, then suddenly losing a child--not through death, but instead losing her to the hippy ways of sunny California in the 60s--and finally into a slow death of a relationship-- of which at times I found to be like watching a car accident during a morning commute--I don't want to look, but I have to.
The dialogue could have been stripped from any married couple's kitchen, dining room or living room (if one were to be honest). The slow-burn, side-ways stares, the irreversible comments, the dark thoughts of each as one steps back with ambivilence thinking of the other--"I married this person, What was I thinking. . . Can that have possibly been what they said"--all scripts any married person replays in their homes any number of times.
This is not a mournful journey--it is a journey that takes you through the inevitable twists and turns marriage takes you and considers questions we all have once we are married: Have I made the right decision, Was this the person I was meant to spend my life with--and if not, Will I be given a second chance? OR, if I make a choice--and that choice is one which I can never go back on--will I be less of a person for having admitted that I might have judged too soon--that I'd give anything to have it the way it was.
Read this if you're married, read this if your divorced, read this if you think about marriage and are in a marriage of sorts--it is an amazing examination of our spirit and love for finding "just the right person for just the right life."
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