Book Reviews of The Amateur Marriage

The Amateur Marriage
The Amateur Marriage
Author: Anne Tyler
ISBN-13: 9780345470614
ISBN-10: 0345470613
Publication Date: 10/2004
Pages: 336
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 146

3.5 stars, based on 146 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

57 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 162 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
You want me to give you a reasoned analysis of the book and I just can't. Not with this one. I just finished it, I loved it, I'm devastated it's over, it's a completely emotional response, and I'm scared if I think about it too much I'll be embarrassed at how much I liked it. So, sorry. Not gonna do it. I love this book too much to examine whether it deserves my love and respect.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Anne Tyler presents a warm and insightful view of a couple's life together, starting in the 1940's (World War II) through 1990. The author captures the nuances of everyday life, depicting the passing of the decades with precision. Bringing smiles of recognition, this book is disarming and deceptive, wise and observant. Recommended to all who are, have been or would like to be in an exclusive, committed relationship.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Anne Tyler draws a vivid picture of the domestic ups and downs of a couple who meet and marry hastily in the 1940s, and follows them throughout their lives. Their interactions affect not only themselves, but their children and their children's children in dramatic, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic ways. A great read.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Couldn't finish this one. Could not hold my interest. Anne Tyler tries to hard with this one, in my opnion, and the writing seems forced with many cliches.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 410 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A terrific book that honestly explores the complexities of families and relationships.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 404 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Another wonderful book by my favorite author.
She writes in a deceptively simple style while fully capturing the complexities of a marriage.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Ummm huh? I usually love everything Ms Tyler writes. This didn't suck, but left me wishing for more to the story.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 300 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Anne Tyler's novel concerning the marriage of Michael and Pauline Anton. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch couldn't have said it better, "This is a story not of extraordinary but of everyday drama. Just two people fumbling through life, amateurs in a game you must occasionally fail at first to become a pro."

Good one!
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Helpful Score: 1
9 CD's read by Blair Brown. I LOVED THIS STORY. If you are a fan of Anne Tyler...you will love it too! I think this is my favorite Anne Tyler...it has it all...a story told over generations....sharing one families...hopes...dreams...failures...and life struggles....I hated for it to end.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent story; beautifully told. Some unexpected twists and turns.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I love Ann Tyler. This is such a marvelous unfolding of a story of rather ordinary people. You feel like you are living their lives right along with them. An somewhere in you life there is an experience that parallels the relality the Anton's face. Just a joy to read.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book. Overall the story is about a marriage and how the two very different spouses interact with one another throughout their marriage. I felt like I could see bits of myself in both of the characters. It gave me new insights into how others may perceive me or how I perceive others incorrectly.
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Great writing. Typical of Tyler - always a bit depressing.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 67 more book reviews
Very good book about a marriage over many years.
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Great look at a long marriage
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I really enjoyed this book. Was a sad account of a WWII marriage that probably never should have been.
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I really enjoyed this book and Anne Tyler's style of writing. I loved the progression of time, being able to follow their lives from young adulthood to their golden years.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 11 more book reviews
My favorite author, EVERYTHING she writes is fantastic!
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 8 more book reviews
Thoroughly enjoyable. Characters are staying with me - I keep thinking about them.
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Very good read, but IMO not as good as some of her others.
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Not my favorite book by Tyler, but as usual, she draws you into the lives of her characters.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 157 more book reviews
Some parts might be "R" rated!
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I usually love Anne Tyler's novels, but this one left me lukewarm. Although it is, like her other novels, thoughtful and well written, I didn't get much from it. The characters live, age, etc. Huh.

After reading it, I learned that Tyler had intended to keep writing this book for her entire life, weaving new parts of the family into it and extending it back in time. She saw it as a work without an ending. This helps explain the lack of structure. Also, I'm not sure that this kind of work qualifies as a novel? Either way, it was lovely but totally missable.
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Michael & Pauline seemed like the perfect couple - young, good looking, made for each other. The moment she walked into his mother's grocery store in the Polish quarter of Balitmore, he was smitten. And in the heat of WW II fervour, they marry in haste. In this achingly poingnant & unforgettable novel Tyler turns marriage inside out, to show us how attitudes trickle down the generations & marriage moulds its partners, for better or worse.
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Anne Tyler, prolific author of Breathing Lessons (made into a movie), writes this evocative novel.
Pauline and Michael seemed like the perfect couple--young, good-looking, made for each other. Set during WW II, it seems that while other couples grow more seasoned, these two remain amateurs. Still, they go on, "feuding, fussing and fighting." They have 3 children; one becomes a runaway in the turbulent 60's era. Pauline and Michael must rescue their little grandson from their "flower-child" daughter. "Tune in, turn on, and drop out," might have been the advice of Timothy O'Leary, but what about the damage that leaves behind?
In this embracing and perceptive novel, Anne Tyler captures the nuances of everyday life with such telling precision that every page brings nods of recognition.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on
From the very beginning, everyone who knew Michael and Pauline could tell that they were absolutely meant to be together. As a couple, they seemed to be perfectly matched: young, good-looking, made for each other. As a matter of fact, their first meeting with each other seemed to be almost like a scene from a romantic novel or some old Hollywood movie.

The moment Pauline - a stranger to the Polish neighborhood of Eastern Avenue in Baltimore, even though she lived only twenty minutes away - walked into his mother's grocery store, Michael is completely smitten. Pauline steps into the store as a damsel in distress, and Michael becomes her hero. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty marriage. Yet, this is definitely a couple who never should have married.

Pauline, impulsive and impractical, tumbles headlong through life and takes to marriage in a relatively hit-or-miss fashion. Michael, serious and deliberate all throughout his life, proceeds into marriage in exactly the same precise and measured way - dealing with Pauline and her various issues in a fairly judgemental and predictable fashion. And, in time - while other young married couples who were equally as inept from the beginning seemed to grow more seasoned and settled in their own marriages - both Michael and Pauline remained amateurs. Over time, the couple's foolish and petty quarrels inevitably take their toll.

Even when they find themselves - almost three decades later - loving, instant parents to their little three-year-old grandson named Pagan, whom they rescue from Haight-Ashbury, Michael and Pauline still seem unable to bridge the cavernous distance created by their deep-rooted differences. For flighty Pauline - who clings to the notion that given enough time, all things wrong can be made right again - the rifts in their marriage can always be patched. Yet to the unyielding Michael, their differences have become unbearable.

I must say that I absolutely loved reading this book. In my opinion, Anne Tyler is thoughtful and measured in her writing style; deeply invested in the development of her characters and plots. She is actually a tremendous writer.

I am always amazed at how easily I can get lost in her stories. To me, they never seem forced or disjointed. This book was equally as easy to read and to get lost in; there was a poignancy and a realistic quality to this plot that I thoroughly enjoyed. I give this book an A+!
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very interesting and well written
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Another fast, good read from Tyler.
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This is the story of an ordinary marriage, extraordinarily told.

It's a generational story about the Anton family, focusing mainly on Pauline and Michael. They meet during WWII, fall in love, have a hasty wedding and start their lives.

As we learn, though, they never should have married one another. Pauline and Michael just can't seem to get the grasp of the whole "married" thing, and life is a roller coaster of good times and bad for them and their children.

Each chapter begins years down the road from the previous one, and is sometimes told by different points of view. Mainly Pauline tells the story, but as her children age, we get to hear their side of things as well. Overall the story spans about 60 years.

I would definitely recommend this. There is no happy ending here, at least not in the fairy-tale sense of the word, but it's as realistic a portrait of marriage (along with the real problems often faced by families) as I have ever read.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 57 more book reviews
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.
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This is an examination of all the personal experience, personality traits, prejudices, unspoken suffering, and joys that go into a marriage of 50 years.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 27 more book reviews
As always, Anne Tyler creates great and memorable characters.
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Great book! Loved the title!
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 29 more book reviews
Description of a long marriage. I thought it was somewhat dry, but parts were interesting. Friends of mine enjoyed the book; I think it was just not my style of writing.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 3 more book reviews
Awesome book! Makes you think! :)
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A book that draws you into the lives of the two main characters. Decent people, but in a marriage that should never have been. Another good story from Tyler.
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This book tugs at the heartstrings. Makes me appreciate my husband in a whole new way.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 24 more book reviews
Interesting insightful tale of a marriage and the relationships involved. Tyler is always worth reading.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 10 more book reviews
This was the first book I read by Anne Tyler and I found her writing to be honest and more real than most authors. An interesting look at family life. Not my favorite book, but I will read another Anne Tyler book because I liked the writing style.
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I love Anne Tyler!
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 8 more book reviews
Typical Anne Tyler fare--funny, sad, bittersweet, comic story of a marriage and a family through the years. As always, beautifully written.
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Interesting look on marriage and how it evolves over time.
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Another wonderful book by Anne Tyler. I just love how she creates such vivid characters and moves from different points of view so effortlessly. This book spans the âamateur marriageâ of Michael and Pauline. The story of their family--particularly Lindy--was interesting and involving.
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 11 more book reviews
I always enjoy Anne Tyler....
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 16 more book reviews
love her books
reviewed The Amateur Marriage on + 8 more book reviews
Powell's Book Review: "In this story of two good people who make each other miserable, Tyler eschews her stock of whimsical oddballs and instead brings her famed empathy to bear on strikingly realistic characters....In her deliberate, unadorned, butter-smooth prose, unwrapping a telling moment here and there, Tyler works through sixty years, time enough for rending events to become part of the fabric of life....[A]s always, the people she cares about are those who care profoundly and unshakably, no matter what happens, about others." Christina Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
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Wise book about everyday drama.
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good book.
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Another great book by Anne Tyler.
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Horrible, stupid story. Impossible to follow. I usually enjoy Anne Tyler books, but this one was really bad.
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Liked it!
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It's always hard to say just what an Anne Tyler novel is **about**, since they tend to be slice-of-life portraits of people at crossroads. This one actually covers 50+ years, following a young couple who meet in the emotion-charged days after Pearl Harbor, marry after a whirlwind wartime courtship, and proceed to shred each other to pieces for 30 years. The novel doesn't end with their divorce, however, but wanders on in episodic updates as children grow up, the lost is found, and people die.
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Love Anne Tyler. This one especially because it brought back so many memories of my Polish heritage.
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Amazon.com
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
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Pauline and Michael seem like the perfect couple-young, attractive, and made for each other. In the heat of WWII they are propeled into a hasty marriage. But while other young couples seem to grow more seasoned over time, they remain amateurs. Then they find themselves instant parents to a little grandson.
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quirky, like all of Anne Tyler's books
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Frequently wishlisted book by wonderful author.

From the cover of trade paperback edition:

"[Tyler is] one of our most notable explorers of current American domestic manners. . . .[this is her] most ambitious work, ranging over sixty years of American experience." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Tyler's heartbreaking new novel. . . evokes the entire sweep of Michael and Pauline Anton's marriage with uncommon delicacy and dignity. . . .This is a story not of extraordinary but of everyday drama. Just two people fumbling through life, amateurs in a game you must occasionally fail at first to become a pro." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"A disarming, deceptively rich book, one that will persuade readers to rethink their position and reinvest a sense of wonder in one of our best contemporary authors." -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Wise, witty. . .Tyler writes with such resonance the 'The Amateur Marriage has the richness of an epic." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Wise and observant. . . [Anne Tyler] has the uncanny ability to expose the most confusing contradictions of love." -- The Miami Herald