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The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler
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The Amateur Marriage (2004)

by Anne Tyler

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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Anne Tyler is a classic, strong writer. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
Anne Tyler's writing is always enjoyable to read. Love the details. This story could be many families: there's the one who drives everyone crazy, the one who attends to the details of life and is dependable, the one who is emotional over everything....you get the idea. The parents wind up with a grandchild to raise and there's a divorce -- the usual things people deal with these days. This is a particular story, though, as each of our families are. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
who knew — it's what I have — maybe we all have — 4 stars — not emotional just an undercurrent of a life — ours —

From the inimitable Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Breathing Lessons comes a rich and compelling novel--a New York Times bestseller--about a mismatched marriage, and its consequences spanning three generations.
  christinejoseph | Sep 28, 2016 |
The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 changed America forever. One of the changes was many young men leaving home and entering the military, some never to return, others to return but in a different condition, both physically and mentally.
Michael Anton met Pauline in Baltimore the day afterwards and they were drawn to each other. They decided to marry before he left, a decision that is the basis for THE AMATEUR MARRIAGE.
The story follows them for the next sixty years as they try to deal with their differences, things they might have discovered earlier had they known each other longer. They raised three children, two daughters and a son. We see the world through each of their eyes. Sadly, too often Michael and Pauline aren’t able to see their lives from the other’s perspective and aren’t able to make the kinds of compromises necessary in a good relationship.
Their eldest daughter was quite rebellious. THE AMATEUR MARRIAGE shows the effects on a family of a different child. Too often, that child gets so much extra attention that the other children in the family feel neglected. (For further information on that subject, I highly recommend FAR FROM THE TREE by Andrew Solomon. He discusses nine situations of families with children who are different: some positive, some negative, some physical, some mental).
Tyler’s characters are very well-drawn, as are her descriptions of places, and are not static. Each has his or her own personality. There is an underlying wit and understanding of the people and the situations. Some examples:
“He must have caught sight of Pauline from the street; you could tell by his artificial start of surprise. ‘Oh! Pauline! It’s you!’ He said. (He’d never have made an actor.)”
“They left behind a larger space than they had occupied.”
“When he and Anna disagreed, the argument remained unattached to the rest of their lives. Anna never linked it to other disagreements, never dredged up past issues or seemed to be harboring ill will afterward.” ( )
  Judiex | Aug 30, 2016 |
Unusually for Anne Tyler, there are quite a few characters in this novel. However it mainly revolves around Michael Anton, the rather awkward grocer's son, who falls suddenly in love with the flighty Pauline, and then enlists in the army for World War II.

The novel follows their rather tempestuous lives, their children, and even grandchildren, over a space of more than fifty years. As always with this author, there are some clever observations that made me stop and think, and caricatures that were real enough to make all the main characters immediately recognisable. I suppose, too, there's an element of social history since it's set in a particular time period.

I found it a bit slow to get going, with so many minor characters being introduced, and some almost indistinguishable extras. Still, it was well worth reading, and by the end I found it difficult to put down. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tyler, Anneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, BlairNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Anyone in the neighborhood could tell you how Michael and Pauline first met.
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He must have caught sight of Pauline from the street; you could tell by his artificial start of surprise. ‘Oh! Pauline! It’s you!’ He said. (He’d never have made an actor.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345472454, Mass Market Paperback)

Anne Tyler's The Amateur Marriage is not so much a novel as a really long argument. Michael is a good boy from a Polish neighborhood in Baltimore; Pauline is a harum-scarum, bright-cheeked girl who blows into Michael's family's grocery store at the outset of World War II. She appears with a bloodied brow, supported by a gaggle of girlfriends. Michael patches her up, and neither of them are ever the same. Well, not the same as they were before, but pretty much the same as everyone else. After the war, they live over the shop with Michael's mother till they've saved enough to move to the suburbs. There they remain with their three children, until the onset of the sixties, when their eldest daughter runs away to San Francisco. Their marriage survives for a while, finally crumbling in the seventies. If this all sounds a tad generic, Tyler's case isn't helped by the characteristics she's given the two spouses. Him: repressed, censorious, quiet. Her: voluble, emotional, romantic. Mars, meet Venus. What marks this couple, though, and what makes them come alive, is their bitter, unproductive, tooth-and-nail fighting. Tyler is exploring the way that ordinary-seeming, prosperous people can survive in emotional poverty for years on end. She gets just right the tricks Michael and Pauline play on themselves in order to stay together: "How many times," Pauline asks herself, "when she was weary of dealing with Michael, had she forced herself to recall the way he'd looked that first day? The slant of his fine cheekbones, the firming of his lips as he pressed the adhesive tape in place on her forehead." Only in antogonism do Michael and Pauline find a way to express themselves. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:50 -0400)

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"They seemed like the perfect couple - young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment Pauline, a stranger to the Polish Eastern Avenue neighborhood of Baltimore (though she lived only twenty minutes away), walked into his mother's grocery store, Michael was smitten. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty wedding. But they never should have married." "Pauline, impulsive, impractical, tumbles hit-or-miss through life; Michael, plodding, cautious, judgmental, proceeds deliberately. While other young marrieds, equally ignorant at the start, seemed to grow more seasoned, Pauline and Michael remain amateurs. In time their foolish quarrels take their toll. Even when they find themselves, almost thirty years later, loving, instant parents to a little grandson named Pagan, whom they rescue from Haight-Ashbury, they still cannot bridge their deep-rooted differences. Flighty Pauline clings to the notion that the rifts can always be patched. To the unyielding Michael, they become unbearable."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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