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The Forever Marriage Hardcover – June 14, 2012
In Twenty Years: A Novel
When five college roommates gather after twenty years, can the rifts between them be repaired? Learn More
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"A triumph of good writing."
"Told with delicacy and humor."----Garrison Keillor
"A triumph of good writing."---"The Washington Post"
"Bauer expertly maps the ferocity and anguish of a parent's love . . . Exceptional storytelling."---"Entertainment Weekly"
"Written in a contemporary style that evokes the work of Anne Tyler, this is not only a well-nuanced story of youthful mistakes and adult consequences but also an unflinching look at one woman's fight against breast cancer."---"Booklist"
"With quiet power, Bauer explores the isolation, betrayal, duty, and, finally, compassion that constitute an unhappy marriage . . . With lovely prose and fine pacing, Bauer (A "Wild Ride Up the Cupboards") offers a sensitive portrait of a flawed woman coming to terms with a lifetime of regrets."---"Publishers Weekly", starred review
"Bauer deftly draws all the characters. Love or hate Carmen, readers won't soon forget the hot-blooded woman, and fans of Elizabeth Berg will want to meet her."---"Library Journal"
"Bauer's second novel ("A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards", 2005) offers an introspective study of a woman as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery . . . At times dispassionate and self-absorbed and at other times emotional and selfless, Carmen follows a path of self-discovery that is often painful, poignant and undeniably real. Bauer crafts an insightful story . . . It's a journey well worth taking."---"Kirkus"
"Compelling . . . Bauer and "The Forever Marriage" poignantly and powerfully illustrate the great and often tragic ironies of life . . . a perfect read."---"Minneapolis Star Tribune"
"Summarizing the plot of this richly layered and nuanced story could leave an impression that it's grim. It isn't. The novel is infused with a sense of grace and redemption for characters Bauer makes us care about."---"St. Paul Pioneer Press"
"Funny, surprising and gratifyingly honest, this novel poses unsparing questions about love and betrayal and the reasons we make the choices we do."---"More Magazine"
"While in many ways a quiet story with a subtle arc, it is also an emotionally powerful page-turner--memorable and exquisitely written."--BookReporter.com
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Good writing? yes. Characters described in detail? Yes. Contemporary, true-to-life story? Could be. But other than a true-to-life topic, this novel had a convenient, sort of predictable and less than fulfilling ending which (finally) came. There was a lot of plodding, redundant and (overly) depressing subject matter and dialogue in which the author seemed to allow herself to go repeatedly without much anecdotal uplifting writing - not necessarily humorous, given the subject matter - but a chuckle here and there could have improved the story.
It was a challenge for me to finish this book and when I finally did I was less than satisfied then previous reviewers.
By the time of the wedding, Carmen has been living with Jobe's wealthy family for months and has become close to Jobe's parents, especially his mother, Olive. Despite what seem like ideal circumstances, Carmen is not in love with Jobe and almost becomes a runaway bride. Instead she marries out of guilt and a sense of obligation.
Because Jobe seems incapable of providing the kind of love Carmen craves, they drift even farther apart, and Carmen begins a long-term affair. The marriage plods along even after the births of three children, the oldest of whom has Down Syndrome. After Jobe is diagnosed with cancer, Carmen cannot find a way to love him, even when his condition is terminal. A part of her views his inevitable death as a way out.
Carmen herself is diagnosed with breast cancer. She and her beloved mother-in-law become even closer, and Olive reveals startling secrets of her own. Carmen reflects on her marriage, in light of Olive's confession, and reaches conclusions that surprise her.
Ann Bauer is a wonderful storyteller. I was prepared to dislike Carmen and feel pity for Jobe. After all, I asked myself, how could I like a seemingly cold-hearted woman like Carmen? I liked her because Ms. Bauer made her real, flaws and all, as she did with each character in the story.
The Forever Marriage is a moving, unforgettable love story. I recommend it to everyone who appreciates the beauty of excellent writing and character development.
The mother of three, including a son with Down's Syndrome, Carmen managed to find time to cheat on the dying husband she never loved in spite of his being a pretty swell guy. In flashbacks to the 80s, she explains how she was manipulated into marrying him because he was wealthy and nice to her and she had no idea what to do after college.
I enjoy a flawed main character and thought Carmen was ripe for a pretty intense story of redemption. But I was disappointed to find her not much changed by the book's end. The story was well-written but I found most of the dilemmas difficult to relate to or car about.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Challenges of random life events make a difference in a lustless marriage, through affairs, children, friendships, and breast cancer. Well written and engaging. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Katie
Even a great writer crafting a cooker-cuttor story will still be only as good as the purpose of the book. I like her style, not her motivation.Published 9 months ago by Travis Gustafson
It was intriguing from the first page to the last. I didn't want it to end. I love Anne Bauer's work. She is quite the talented artist and writer. I want to read morePublished 13 months ago by Louise R. Fitzgerald
This is a difficult book. Not difficult to read. The author is such a skillful and sure-handed writer that it’s as easy to read as eating a bag of potato chips. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by Richard A. Armstrong
A story many can relate to. Describes marriage from an interesting perspective. Characters relationships are warm and authentic. Illness does put life in perspectivePublished on October 29, 2013 by Terry Wolfe
This book just flowed for me. The characters were all really well developed. I agonized for the main character. But could sympathize with her husband too. Excellent read. Read morePublished on May 4, 2013 by Shellbell
The Forever Marriage was not what I was expecting. It was better. The story was written in such a way that kept you turning the pages.Published on March 20, 2013 by pac
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book after I'd read the first quarter. However, as I kept reading, I began to realize how many gems of wisdom were being offered. Read morePublished on February 1, 2013 by Kathryn C. Hogan