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Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

Breathing Lessons (1988)

by Anne Tyler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,448531,559 (3.6)175



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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
between 3.5 and 4. this is beautifully done, pretty much from beginning to end. anne tyler takes such mundane everyday things and makes them somehow into something extraordinary.

i'm not sure if i was just tired or if it was the writing, but it felt a bit overdone by the end. admittedly i read most of the book in one long (overnight flight) sitting, and i do think it would have read differently had it been broken up over a few days. so it still gets a high rating from me because it was just so good otherwise, with such lovely commentary and insight. i really enjoyed it and loved the writing.

i do admit the last sentence threw me a bit and i find myself wondering what she meant, calling into question my interpretation of the rest...

"Maybe she'd pose as a Girl Scout leader, renting a little Girl Scout of her own if that was what was required."

"She'd been so intent on not turning into her mother, she had gone and turned into her father."

"...she was...not even what you'd call plump; just a satisfying series of handfuls..." ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 9, 2017 |
Read for a challenge. Rambling account of a day in a marriage, no beginning – no end. No great insights. Had to push myself to complete.
2017_6/72 ( )
  Bettesbooks | Mar 5, 2017 |
From the book jacket: Everyone knows a couple like the Morans. Maggie, with her scatterbrained ways and her just slightly irritating – but good-hearted – attempts to make everything right for everyone.... And Ira, infinitely patient, who is addicted to solitaire and who whistles out popular tunes, the only barometer of his moods. They’ve learned all there is to know about each other ... two ordinary lives in a comfortably routine marriage. But on the road to a friend’s funeral, they make some unexpected detours – and discover how extraordinary their ordinary lives really are. ..

My reactions
I’ve had this on my TBR for ages, and just never got to it. I wish I hadn’t waited so long, but then again, maybe my own years of marriage help me better understand Maggie and Ira’s relationship – with each other, with their children, parents, co-workers, neighbors and friends.

I love the way Tyler reveals her characters to the reader. Their actions – small and large – and statements show the reader who these people are. Their hopes, dreams, frustrations, and regrets become evident over the course of the novel. I am irritated by Maggie, and yet I love her. Who doesn’t want things to work out, to see his child happy, or her spouse succeed? Who doesn’t appreciate those small tokens of affection, or get irritated by another person’s unconscious habit? I want to shake Ira, and yet I love his patient forebearance, and that he still tries to please Maggie.

Some years ago a young teen who had just read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet asked me, “Do you think you can fall in love at fourteen?” My answer: “Falling in love is easy. Loving someone is more challenging … especially when he can’t find the dishwasher though it’s right there under the counter where he leaves the dirty dishes.” Ira and Maggie have learned to look past “the dishes” and love one another anyway. And I love them.

Their lives may be ordinary; the novel is anything but. ( )
1 vote BookConcierge | Feb 1, 2017 |
I don't remember much about this, but I do remember being only mildly impressed. So, now I just read [b:The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry|13227454|The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry|Rachel Joyce|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1335816092s/13227454.jpg|18156927] and was reminded of Tyler's story because the two books are both about adults of a certain age reflecting on the past and figuring out how to make the future better - but not doing so on purpose. Well, anyway, Joyce's novel blew me away. If you liked, or wanted to like, this, I bet you'll love that. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
~ Maggie and Ira Moran had to go to a funeral in Deer Lick, Pennsylvania~

I have read three books by Anne Tyler and love her writing. I have 9 others on my bookshelves waiting for me to pick them up. Although I enjoyed this book, I think it is my least favourite. So far, number one is [The Accidental Tourist] and number two, [Ladder of Years]. However, just because it is my least favourite does not mean it is not a great read.

Written about one 24 hour period in the lives of Ira and Maggie Moran, it gives us a snapshot of their life together and the lives of other family and friends around them.

I did find it a startlingly real description of Ira and Maggie’s marriage, an ordinary marriage of ordinary people. I loved the depiction of this couple, of their strong love bond, the understanding they have of one another’s strengths and weaknesses. The kindness and compassion that they show for one another. Oh, sure, there is also frustration and anger and withdrawal from one another. All these things that can co-exist in a marriage; the good, the bad and the ugly. I do find Anne Tyler pleases me!

3. 5 stars
  ccookie | May 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Tylerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alepsiou, GeorgiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Antmen, AhuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Etsuko, NakanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fedyszak, MarekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffenberg, JulietteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, ReinhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marion, DivinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Preis, AnnikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rifbjerg, IngeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roald, BodilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salvà, GemmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Samcová, JarmilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schenoni, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tex, Gideon denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villa, SaaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vinga, Sophie PenberthyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Maggie and Ira Moran had to go to a funeral in Deer Lick, Pennsylvania.
She would have made a better mother, perhaps, if she hadn't remembered so well how it felt to be a child.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345485599, Mass Market Paperback)

Maggie Moran's mission is to connect and unite people, whether they want to be united or not. Maggie is a meddler and as she and her husband, Ira, drive 90 miles to the funeral of an old friend, Ira contemplates his wasted life and the traffic, while Maggie hatches a plant to reunite her son Jesse with his long-estranged wife and baby. As Ira explains, "She thinks the people she loves are better than they really are, and so then she starts changing things around to suit her view of them." Though everyone criticizes her for being "ordinary," Maggie's ability to see the beauty and potential in others ultimately proves that she is the only one fighting the resignation they all fear. The book captured the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1989.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:04 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A charming tale of an extraordinary day in the lives of two ordinary people. What begins as a two-hour road trip to a neighboring town turns into an all-day adventure for Ira and Maggie Moran.

» see all 7 descriptions

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