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Earthly Possessions by Anne Tyler

Earthly Possessions (1977)

by Anne Tyler

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This is a super quick read. The fact that it was a made-for-television movie back in the 90s should tell you something: really good but without prolonged drama; couldn't make it to the big screen. Here's the quick and dirty of the plot: Charlotte Emory is at the bank, waiting to clean out her savings so she can run away from her married life. She's the bored housewife of a boring preacher. While waiting to change her whole life, suddenly it is changed for her. She gets caught up in a robbery and is taken hostage. Since her captor is practically half her age she isn't exactly afraid of him, or the gun he waves in her face. Almost willingly Charlotte finds herself on a road trip with Jake Simms, Jr - demolition derby racer, escapee from jail, and father to his teenage girlfriend's unborn child. The three make an interesting pair. Tyler's writing is sharp and funny. She gives us alternating time frames, bouncing between Charlotte's escape in present day and the past - as if to explain how Charlotte's life ended up so complicated. ( )
1 vote SeriousGrace | Jun 3, 2014 |
It kept my interest, but I didn't think this was one of Tyler's better novels. I never connected with any of the characters. It seemed to me that Tyler kept the two main characters at arm's length herself, perhaps as a result of their own personalities. At any rate, their relative aloofness had a negative effect on my opinion of the book. I still have plenty of Tyler's books to get through, and I know there are other really good ones I've yet to read, but I'm spreading them out over time. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
At thirty-five years old, Charlotte Emory has always lived a quiet, conventional life in Clarion, Maryland. She lives as simply as possible, but being a pastor's wife, especially when she isn't all that religious herself, is particularly hard on her. Her husband Saul, is a man who truly lives his faith, opening his doors to the downtrodden and those most in need; but for Charlotte, her life has become extremely unhappy.

Seeking to simplify everything, Charlotte decides one day to leave her husband. However, her last trip to the bank turns Charlotte's life in an entirely different direction when the bank is robbed. A restless young man in a nylon jacket takes her hostage - and soon the two are heading to Florida, into an unknown future, and a most unexpected fate.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a very quick read, and the story gripped me right from the start. It was interesting for me to learn about Charlotte's past, and I truly wanted to know what would happen next. I give Earthly Possessions by Anne Tyler a definite A+! and will certainly keep my eyes open for more books by this author. ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Mar 22, 2014 |
Anne Tyler's characters are quirky - that's a given. And this is an especially quirky and interesting lot. Although an early book, this is a vintage Tyler plot - the woman who needs to run away from home.

Thirty-five-year-old Charlotte is in the process of leaving her family - again - when she is taken hostage by the world's most ineffectual bank robber. The two flee by bus to liberate the robber's girl friend from a home for unwed mothers, and in the process we learn Charlotte's story.

It's an early Tyler and the characters are a bit over-the-top, but nevertheless worth reading. ( )
  dianaleez | Oct 27, 2009 |
i must say that Anne Tyler certainly has a knack for creating remarkably quirky characters that are nonetheless lovable on some level...this is my 3rd tyler book....Searching for Caleb & The Clock Winder also had unusual folks that i never would spend much time with if i encountered them in my life, but i am always intrigued enough to see what happens to them, rooting for them along the way.....i'll probably read others...after all they are already on the shelf!!! ( )
  jeffome | Sep 30, 2009 |
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The marriage wasn't going well and I decided to leave my husband.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449911810, Paperback)

"To read a novel by Anne Tyler is to fall in love."


Charlotte Emory has always lived a quiet, conventional life in Clarion, Maryland. She lives as simply as possible, and one day decides to simplify everything and leave her husband. Her last trip to the bank throws Charlotte's life into an entirely different direction when a restless young man in a nylon jacket takes her hostage during the robbery--and soon the two are heading south into an unknown future, and a most unexpected fate....

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The past and present of 35 year old Charlotte Emory, burdened with the possessions and emotional clutter of everyday life unfolds during a journey to Florida with a man who has taken her hostage.

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