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The Amateur Marriage by [Tyler, Anne]
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The Amateur Marriage Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Length: 354 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Amazon.co.uk Review

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 neighbourhood in Baltmore; 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 until they've saved enough to move to the suburbs. There they remain with their three children, until the onset of the 60s, when their eldest daughter runs away to San Francisco. Their marriage survives for a while, finally crumbling in the 70s.

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, Amazon.com

Amazon Review

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 neighbourhood in Baltmore; 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 until they've saved enough to move to the suburbs. There they remain with their three children, until the onset of the 60s, when their eldest daughter runs away to San Francisco. Their marriage survives for a while, finally crumbling in the 70s.

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, Amazon.com


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2419 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (13 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS93Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,961 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
How we come to graft to another person, despite everything. Time and new love never really tear the fabric we create, no matter how much we wish it. Tender, an overview across the 20th Century of a couple and thier family. Lots more novels could spring from this- let's hope Anne Tyler reads this!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was sad and funny at the same time. How could people married in wartime and lived an eventful life. Someone liked Pauline should deserve better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anne Tyler's The Amateur Marriage is typical of most of her work, a good story, well written, interesting characterisation and a joy to read. I recommend it to those who are familiar and unfamiliar with her work. Mary Carrington
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First book I've read by Anne Tyler. Very moving. Will read more by this author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved it, second time I've read it. Good bit of escapism.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful concise description and understandong of human emotions.
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Format: Paperback
The Amateur Marriage is a story of a marriage, told with ten year gaps between chapters, allowing the novel to reflect the ups and downs of life as it is impacted by events in the world, and changing social attitudes, but most of all the development and growth (and ultimatley decay) of a relationship between husband and wife. The titls of this books is just perfect - all marriages are "amateur" in that nobody trains you or teaches you in advance how to deal with the calamitous events that come along, nor with the basic and fundamental differences between the character and values of the two partners.
The novel starts just before the Second World War, when Michael meets Pauline, and immediately gets swept up into joining the army along with his childhood friends. The young couple barely have time to get to know each other, and when Michael returns early from the war with a gunshot wound, it seems inevitable that they wil marry and set up home together. Children come along, bringing with them the usual stresses and strains on marriage, particularly when the oldest daughter Lindy suddenly walks out of her parents lives to live in San Francisco at the height of the hippy movement.
Ths loss of the child is painfully described, as Michael and Pauline wait anxiously (intially) and resignedly (later) for their daughter to return. It would spoil the book if I was to detail the eventual reunion, but let me say that this brings as many problems as did the eventual departure.
Tyler is a deeply humanistic writer who depicts the complexities of the human condition while making no attempt to judge or comment on what she sees. We see people follow the tracks laid out for them, and we also read of some who broke away, with high, almost unbearable cost on those left behind.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I strongly urge you NOT to read the book's jacket blurb or most reviews of this book. They contain spoilers that will significantly reduce your pleasure in this book.
The Amateur Marriage is a book that any couple considering marriage . . . or any couple who's marriage is floundering should read. We aren't born with the personality and skills to get along with another person for a lifetime. Most people who enjoy a long, happy marriage either did a great job of becoming acquainted before marrying . . . or developed great coping skills and attitudes afterwards. The Amateur Marriage explores the theme of what happens when these elements are not present.
For Michael and Pauline it was virtually love at first sight in the shadows of Pearl Harbor. A whirlwind romance was punctuated by Michael leaving for the Army. When he returns, she accepts his proposal. Their icy and fragile characters soon develop as they begin their lives together. Like a diamond and a glacier, they cut deeply into one another . . . and spill pain on all around them.
One of the beauties of this book is that Ms. Tyler tries to avoid blaming one partner more than the other for the marriage's problems. In fact, she only slowly reveals all of the underpinnings for their unhappiness. Clearly, a little more communication, candor and time spent with one another could have avoided the whole problem. Yet the initial mistake is compounded and moves forward two more generations in this intriguing story.
I found myself comparing this book to We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates. I thought that The Amateur Marriage is vastly better done in terms of the story, the characters and the lessons.
Be aware that this is not a happy story, but it's one that will ring true for many people. Remember that truth alone can bring beauty . . . and that's what Ms. Tyler provides for her fans in this remarkable book.
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