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Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous owner's name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Inventing the Abbots and Other Stories Paperback – January 8, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this moving and articulate collection of 11 stories, the author of The Good Mother describes individuals trying, but failing, to connect emotionally in a society where "all the rules have changed." PW praised Miller's "insight into character and gift for describing contemporary relationships."
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This collection follows the author's impressive debut, The Good Mother ( LJ 5/15/86). In the title story a young man tells the absorbing tale of his elder brother's involvement with three sisters of small-town social prominence. Other stories also reflect Miller's intense preoccupation with the delicacy of relationships among parents, children, wives and husbands, the married and divorced, lovers. "The Quality of Life" depicts emotional complexities within a family marked by separations and rivalries. "Tyler and Brina," "Travel," and "Expensive Gifts" all concern the tentative dependence and isolation of women, their strengths, the needines of their men. Readers of Miller's novel will again appreciate her fastidiousness and clarity, her sobering vision of the moral dilemmas of modern middle-class life. Mary Soete, San Diego P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Later Printing edition (January 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060929979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929978
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,094,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reviewer Dr. Beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
With her stories of infidelity, divorce, and sexual harassment/assault, author Sue Miller delves into the darker side of love and relationships. In the title story of this book, she describes the desperate attempts of a boy from "the wrong side of the tracks" to reinvent himself as part of a local wealthy family, the Abbotts. He dates the three Abbott daughters in turn, with each relationship ending in a bigger disaster than the last one. (Fans of the movie, take note: this is NOT a love story, and the role of the younger brother--Joaquim Phoenix in the movie--is little more than that of the story's narrator here.) The next two stories, "Tyler and Brina," and "Appropriate Affect," address both the obvious and the more hidden costs of infidelity. Explicit photographs play a role in "Slides" and "Travel," while the stories "What Ernest Says," "Calling," and "The Birds and the Bees" cover even darker sexual subjects. The stories, while engrossing, are somewhat unpolished: the first story, "Inventing the Abbotts," could have easily been a novel on its own, and the final story, "The Quality of Life," seems to end abruptly and awkwardly. At 180 pages, however, this book is a quick read, and the reader is unlikely to feel that his or her time has been wasted.
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I bought this book soon after watching the movie that shares its name...And I just have to say that the movie, "Inventing the Abbots", is not near as compelling nor as convincing as Miller's version. Not to mention, that the remaining collection of stories in her book are all astounding! The details she brings to her characters make every story in this book so heartfelt and poignant...It is a must-read for every serious lover of literature! For Miller is a novelist that brings these characters to life with such candor, and explores the frailty of human nature and the darkness that lies somewhere in us all.
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Sue Miller writes quirky plots in all her books. The characters are usually flawed (as we all are) and they do things that you wish they wouldn't. This book (which arrived timely and in great shape) offers Ms. Miller's short stories. Some of them are on the quirky side, but others are running along so smoothly and they grab you so that one expects to turn the page and start the next chapter instead of the next short story. I got hooked several times and was sorry that the story didn't continue because it was so good.
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As all Sue Miller's are, this one is no exception. Interesting to read her short stories, though, as I had only read her books. She is one of my very favorite authors. I have only one more book to read of hers. I hope she writes another one soon!
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Format: Paperback
I quite liked this. I put this sentence first because I was quite surprised at the negative reviews on this amazon.com page--the stories were quite entertaining, the characters and settings real, the plots weren't too complex. Yes, to some people that may be boring, but gracious, these stories are character studies. Having read one too many (that is, one and a half) Nicholas Sparks books, where the characters are all rugged but gorgeous, independently wealthy, gourmet cooks and flat, flat, flat--how delightful to read about a man in love with a woman who has a 'half frozen face' and can't contain his love to one person, no matter how much he loves her. True and real, and her words are sheer poetry. In "Calling," for instance, is this : She poured herself another cup of coffee and sat down at the table opposite him. She looked out of the apartment window at the dead geranium on her fire escape. A sparrow stood on the rim of the pot and puffed itself up.

I just love that. The geranium is dead. The sparrow "puffed itself up." I'm tired of reading these bestseller novels where you only read what happens and not what characters think and feel. He sat down. She sat down. He wore a grey shirt... blah blah blah. Everything is pretty and wrapped up in a nice little package, and usually coffee and beer are described in words that are not coffee and beer but "brew" and "hot liquid," or the pronunciation of a name is slipped into the book, usually 70 pages in when you've established it in your head already. Sue Miller writes about normal people with amazing insight.
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This book is a collection of short stories by the Sue Miller, the author of The Good Mother: A Novel andThe Senator's Wife (Vintage Contemporaries).

There is a very pervasive sexual theme throughout this book - - on the sexuality present in most aspects of our banal, everyday existence. Oftentimes, our motives are pervaded by sexuality when we're least aware of its presence. Good vs. bad motives - - points of view - - shades of gray - - how our sexuality influences what we do - - how others see us - - These are the shared themes of these stories.
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