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The War of the Roses by Warren Adler

The War of the Roses

by Warren Adler

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Written in 1978 this novel was translated to a film starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in 1989 and was a huge success from the get-go. It tells the story of Jonathan and Barbara Rose iconic breakup of their marriage.

This story brings the dark side of the human nature. People just do the most horrible things to each other on the end of a marriage. Greed, materialism and selfishness whittle away at an individual’s integrity, destroy common sense and encourage turbulent feelings that lead to violence. Mr. Adler has created a masterpiece in his fictionalization of a macabre divorce.

I loved the book as much as I did watching the movie. The players antics are so vividly described I couldn’t help but picturing Douglas and Turner acting out their rage against each other, sad and funny at the same time. The narrative is well-done and entertaining. The details of how a relationship can deteriorate are extremely well-written. The dialogue is sharp, humoristic and brutal. The players are great: sexy, cruel, vengeful and resourceful.

“The War of the Roses” is a brilliant and clever book, wildly funny and deeply disturbing ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | Apr 1, 2016 |
This is definitely not your War of the Roses movie. Although there are some of the same things happening in both, the movie was made into a black comedy and there is nothing comedic about this book. A look into the world of divorce where each one thinks of all the material possessions as theirs exclusively and how far they will go to keep it. I do have to say that while the movie makes you sympathetic towards Barbara I was somewhat surprised to find that in the book I actually hated her. In the movie she is basically bullied by Jonathan and his self important role in their lives while in the book he is all about family and his children and providing for them.

I love the movie and I am so happy that I read the book because I love it also. I kind of would like to see a movie made from the seriousness of the book. Give it a try. ( )
  Draak | Oct 22, 2014 |
Worst divorce ever. I suppose that's a cultural point that's passed: I don't think anyone is writing stories about divorce as they were in the late 70s. ( )
  Kaethe | Mar 29, 2013 |
Worst divorce ever. I suppose that's a cultural point that's passed: I don't think anyone is writing stories about divorce as they were in the late 70s. ( )
  Kaethe | Oct 22, 2012 |
Worst divorce ever. I suppose that's a cultural point that's passed: I don't think anyone is writing stories about divorce as they were in the late 70s. ( )
  Kaethe | Feb 13, 2012 |
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A cold rain whipped across the clapboard facade of the old house, spattering against the panes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446512206, Hardcover)

This is the novel that inspired one of the most famous movies about divorce ever made, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Oliver and Barbara Rose are a passionate couple who meet at a Cape Cod auction while bidding for matching figurines. The figurines belong together, and so do the Roses. Their perfect love, complete with dream home and wonderful children, is fated to disintegrate, however, and when Oliver collapses in an apparent heart attack, Barbara's indifference brings the true state of their marriage out into the open. The war they wage against each other eventually descends into brutality and madness, as they destroy each other's most prized possessions and spiral into chaos.

The global impact of both the book and the movie has brought the phrase "The War of the Roses" into the popular jargon describing the terrible hatred and cruelty engendered in divorce proceedings.

The Roses' bereft children are featured in the novel's sequel, The Children of the Roses.
"Warren Adler writes with skill and a sense of scene."--New York Times Book Review

"Warren Adler surveys the terrain [of marital strife] with mordant wit. This accomplished tale...builds to a baleful yet all-too-believable climax."--Cosmopolitan

"The War of the Roses is a clever look at the breakup of a marriage....It is Adler's achievement that he makes the most bizarre actions of each (party) seem logical under the circumstances....Both frightening and revealing."--Washington Star

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:12 -0400)

The War of the Roses has over time emerged as a synonym for modern divorce and its emotional aftershock. Since its publication, it has spawned numerous film and stage adaptations, prompted endless discourse on the dynamics of divorce, and has become part of the legal jargon describing the proceedings that follow. Adler's iconic tale takes us from suburban bliss to a deadly territorial battle. Jonathan and Barbara Rose are at first glance the perfect couple. Jonathan has a stable law career; Barbara is an aspiring gourmet entrepreneur with a promising pt recipe. Their large home holds the rich antique collection that originally brought them together, as well as the loving familial bond that intertwines them with their children Eve and Josh. When Jonathan finds himself suddenly gripped by what is presumably a heart attack and Barbara confronts the loveless spell lingering between them, the sun-soaked sky that was once the Rose family union drifts into a torrential downpour. Their mutual hatred becomes ammunition in a domestic warfare that escalates in the most unpredictable ways while they helplessly eye their dwindling nuptial flame. In the chaos that unfolds, Adler allows a moment of much needed contemplation on the shape of today's matrimonial bonds. The War of the Roses illuminates the relationship-shattering materialism, contempt, and selfishness of husband and wife by posing a timeless question: how far are we willing to allow our material possessions the power to define who we are? Are today's marriages haunted by the struggle to get even?… (more)

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