This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
by Ann Patchett
This collection of essays from one of my favorite authors covers a wide variety of topics, everything from working at TGIFridays to dogs. The way Patchett writes makes any topic interesting. She is truthful and blunt at times, even when discussing sensitive subjects like grief, censorship, and divorce, but it’s this honesty that makes it easy for a reader to feel connected. Her passion for different things come through in her writing and you find yourself getting sucked into stories about seeing MET opera productions in her local theatre, taking a book tour or staying in a hotel and doing nothing.
Most of these articles were published in various magazines (Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, etc.) over the years, but all of them were new to me. She also included a few new pieces to round out the book. She spent years making ends meet with her freelance work for magazine and that experience is evident in the structure of the essays. They flow smoothly, each one a self-contained piece that stands on its own, but also adds to the neat arch through her life that the book traces.
One of my favorites was a piece on her bookstore Parnassus in Nashville. I had the opportunity to visit it last year and I loved hearing more about the history of its creation. I also loved her pieces about her dog Rose. As a dog lover it’s easy to immediately relate to those.
BOTTOM LINE: Each essay offered the reader another glimpse into the writer’s world. I don’t know if I would have loved it so much if I wasn’t already a huge fan, but I am, so this was a treat all the way through.
“Sometimes love does not have the most honorable beginnings, and the endings, the endings will break you in half. It’s everything in between we live for."
“I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again."