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Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
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Terms of Endearment (original 1975; edition 1989)

by Larry McMurtry

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628915,448 (3.97)11
Member:mjscott
Title:Terms of Endearment
Authors:Larry McMurtry
Info:Simon & Schuster (1989), Paperback, 410 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Daughter, Iowa, Cancer, Fiction, 1983

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Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry (1975)

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I did not like it that much. The only good things about it was the superb writing and the memorable characters. However, I did not really like the plot. I got a feeling that this was supposed to be a mother-daughter book but it really wasn't. It was actually a mother and her suitors, and daughter and her love affairs. If this was published today they might be called sluts and bitches. The ending was actually pretty good but I think the author wasted a lot of pages for that. The beginning was too detailed and silly while the ending was too rushed and dramatic. No balance for this book. ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Mar 17, 2014 |
Someone who loved the movie but who has not read the book gave it to me without realising that, apparently, they cannot be more different. Still, I enjoyed the characters and the humour and the impossibly self-centered mother in her universe of people circling her, seemingly without making a dent in her own orbit. I loved the dialogues and was caught between being appaled and wishing I could deliver such spectacular lashes of words myself. I was so surprised to see there is a man who knows women well, or at least who has had the opportunity to see their motivations close up. An excellent book, even if it did not convey the message of the film. I will definitely try to get hold of the film, to see it, I am really curious now. ( )
  flydodofly | Nov 10, 2012 |
Terms of Endearment is the kind of book that makes you feel things. Larry McMurtry has the ability to make you change your mind about the people you meet...several times over. In the beginning I saw Terms as a story about a bunch of miserable people. I was shocked by the hatred these people carried around (see 'shocking quotes' below). I didn't think I would like a single character. I saw Aurora as nasty and Emma as just plain pathetic. By the end of the book I had completely changed my mind about everything and everyone.
The premise for Terms of Endearment is really quite simple. It's the story of a mother and daughter and the relationships that orbit around them. Aurora is a Boston widow transplanted to Houston, Texas. She has five different "suitors" who tolerate her abrasive tongue and haughty manner and despite all that, continuously vie for her hand in marriage. At first she appears caustic and self-centered. Selfish and conniving, she bends situations to suite her ever-changing needs. Her story takes up the first 324 pages and by the end of it you realize she is a woman of conviction who simply tells it like it is. Emma, her daughter, at first appears to be one of Aurora's victims - always manipulated and belittled. The strength of their relationship and the depth of their love for one another isn't readily apparent until life gets complicated for Emma. Emma hasn't married well. She hasn't been educated and she has bad hair. On the surface she is poor and pathetic. But, true to McMurtry form, by the end Emma is a strong, defiant woman.
My only disappointment about Terms of Endearment is the inclusion of Book II, Emma's story. 324 pages are dedicated to Aurora while Emma gets the last 47. I don't really understand the need for separate "books" when Emma's story - her bad marriage to Flap, her pregnancy, her lifestyle and relationship with her mother - are all woven seamlessly into Aurora's story. Emma's portion of the book seems weak and it's inclusion, an afterthought. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Oct 29, 2009 |
This is the book that turned me into a life-long (well, since I first read it 30 years ago) Larry McMurtry fan. It's not perfect but just about as close as an author can get. Incidentally, I found the film unwatchable; I gave up after 30 minutes as it omitted key characters from the book and added at least one new one. The movie bore no relation to the image of the characters I'd created in my mind. ( )
  isaf60 | Oct 14, 2009 |
I'm not sure what made me pick this up, other than the fact I had wanted to read something by Larry McMurtry and this was the one I saw that I knew best.

I must say, I was a little disappointed that McMurtry himself spoiled the entire book in the introduction. He tells you what happens to the daughter and who the mother ends up with. I'm not sure why you would do that, but I would advise against anyone reading that introduction before finishing the novel.

I had also heard that this was very sad. I was totally delighted with the first 7/8ths of the book, which focus on Aurora and her crazy ways. She's a widower in Texas who is dating any number of men who would love nothing more than to marry her. I'm not sure why, since at first I was extremely put off by her selfish nature. After awhile, you see that her selfish nature is a joke more than anything, and the way all the men react to her is pretty funny.

The General was easily my favorite. I did like every single one of the men, but the General was the one who matched Aurora's eccentricities best with his own. They were polar opposites, and I died a little when the two would get into loud, obnoxious arguments over the phone and it would describe the General's arousal.

The millionaire character was also good, but I wound up feeling a little bad for him since he seems to be doing a lot of cleanup and doesn't get appreciated as much as he should.

I also like Rosie, Aurora's housekeeper, a lot. Again, I was confused at first since it described a somewhat hateful relationship between the two, but you quickly find out that one couldn't live without the other. Their relationship is actually quite touching in the end.

Aurora's story is delightful, and I was a little saddened and confused when the very last little bit of the story broke the narrative (most of Aurora's story takes place over the course of a couple weeks, then jumps forward several months for the very end). It tells a condensed version of the life of her daughter, and it is extremely sad and depressing compared to Aurora's story. Not only her life, but what happens to her. I got a little teary, and broke down completely when the Monet changed hands. I have no idea why this part was included in the back, unless it was for contrast.

All of it was wonderful, though. What a great book. ( )
1 vote ConnieJo | Feb 17, 2009 |
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Epigraph
Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shall see,
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time....
- Shakespeare, Sonnet III
Dedication
For Cecilia DeGolyer McGhee,
Marcia McGhee Carter,
and Cecilia DeGloyer Carter
First words
"The success of the marriage invariably depends on the woman," Mrs. Greenway said.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684853906, Paperback)

In this acclaimed novel that inspired the Academy Award-winning motion picture, Larry McMurtry created two unforgettable characters who won the hearts of readers and moviegoers everywhere: Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma.

Aurora is the kind of woman who makes the whole world orbit around her, including a string of devoted suitors. Widowed and overprotective of her daughter, Aurora adapts at her own pace until life sends two enormous challenges her way: Emma's hasty marriage and subsequent battle with cancer. Terms of Endearment is the Oscar-winning story of a memorable mother and her feisty daughter and their struggle to find the courage and humor to live through life's hazards -- and to love each other as never before.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:10 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Aurora Greenway is the kind of woman who makes the whole world orbit around her, including a string of devoted suitors. Widowed and overprotective of her daughter, Aurora adapts at her own pace until life sends two enormous challenges her way: Emma's hasty marriage and subsequent battle with cancer.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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