I must be the only reviewer who found this book absolutely irritating. The thought behind it -- excellent. I was actually jealous at the writer's ability to make a decision to take a year away from her marriage for reflection, and that she had the resources to do so. I relished the opportunity to curl up with her for a year, feeling sad, or happy, joyous or disappointed, as she wrote about her experience.
Instead, I found my forcefully slamming the book down at times, and at other times, heaving deep sighs of irritation and annoyance. I thought Joan was a whiner who didn't appreciate the abundance of riches she had available to her, to even think about this experiment, let alone carry it out.
Poor me, my marriage has grown stagnant. My children are grown. I'm lonely. I'm overweight. Join the club, sister. But, guess where you and most of your readers part company? Many of us are still slaving away at the 9-5 jobs which put food on the table and pay the rent or mortgage. We don't have options. We don't have Cape Cod getaway houses, multiple vehicles, royalty checks arriving, a savings account we can empty to make the leap, and a year of free time to write about our disappointments.
I don't begrudge her what she had. I just wish she would have had more tact, class and dignity not to write from a place where she felt she had to constantly lament her life, when she had more abundance -- an embarrassment of riches, really -- in that little cottage and the option to retreat to it, than legions of sad and lonely married women have.
I also have to hand it her to husband, estranged during this time, who took a few steps to make her grow up and stop whining. For instance, her cottage belonged to her family before she married and it came down through "her side of the family", not his. Long after she'd separated from her husband and moved to her cottage, and he'd moved to another state to start over a new career as well, the cottage needed a major repair. What did she do? Called him for financial help. Another PBS review states he "refused to help" and I think this was totally justified. The husband pointed out, and I think fairly so, that this was her house, her problem. He had bills, as well. Two mortgages to make (his new house, the old house), etc. It was her decision to take a year off and create this financially precarious situation, and she can't have it both ways -- the independence of living alone, and the expectation that her estranged husband would fix her house for her the minute something went wrong.
She then wrung her hands and lamented about what she had to do --- gasp --- GET A JOB and earn extra money digging clams and such, to pay for the repairs. Welcome to our world, Joan, the world populated by single, divorced women everywhere -- and with small children, working two jobs to make ends meet.
I also felt she used too much poetic rambling. She uses 10 words when she could use 5 and there was just such a sense of "Look at me, I'm a writer. I can write about a rainstorm and make it sound as if I'm watching it in technicolor."
I appreciate nature and all its glory, but the best way to cook fresh ingredients is to let them shine through with simple recipes. Ditto nature and her beautiful displays. You don't need to ramp up the poetry to help describe Mother Nature's beauty. We GET it.
I still envy her ability to take herself away to reflect, and I think she made some wonderful observations which many women, me included, will benefit from, gut good gosh, she was so annoying.
Tara R. reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on
Helpful Score: 6
A good read for your middle aged "wish I would have" set, however
Sometimes a writer uses just too many adjectives..............
Ideas were explained to death, which left nothing for the reader to imagine.
I agree with the long negative review listed here, omigod this woman had to get a job and take care of herself during her one year sabbatical from life and marriage. It is a good read though just not exactly what I expected. Myself being a single self-employed woman I really resonated with the subjects of getting back to nature and how solitude and forcing yourself out of your comfort zone really can make you grow in ways you never expected. But unfortunately I don't think this author has ever really had to struggle for money or free time in the way that most American women do on a daily basis. It is a pleasant enough book but from a white collar yuppie who finds herself in her 50's. Thank god I am not even forty and I have already learned most of these lessons. Check this one out from the library, there are things to learn from it but my guess is alot of women are already ahead of Joan's learning curve.
Mina G. reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on
Helpful Score: 3
It's basically Eat, Pray, Love for the non-traveling American. Most frustrating is the meaningful metaphor the author finds in every single moment, image, event and word. The constant metaphors bogged down the story.
An absolutely wonderful book about a woman's adventure and finding solace in a world after a "failed" marriage. She finds herself and what she really wants out of her life by spending time alone. A book every woman should read, married or not. Very insightful about what we all need to learn to love ourselves.
I didn't get the same opinion about this book as some of the other views expressed here, I liked the book. I think she was just trying to express how she was feeling about her life and marriage after so many years of tending to their needs before hers. What woman, despite her financial status, doesn't have the same feelings about losing themselves in order to be a "good" mother and wife? Sure her financial status made it easier to leave, but she still had the same fears as any other woman has about supporting herself financially for possibly the first time in her life. We all have times we feel sorry for ourselves and I think she did something positive about it, by making the decision to leave for a year and rediscover herself-- her strengths and weaknesses. We all have different lessons to learn, while her story may not seem like much of a challenge to some, to her she grew from it and learned some valuable lessons about life and was able to share some of that wisdom with us.
"I'm beginning to think that real growing only begins after we've done the adult things we're supposed to do," confides Anderson, a journalist and author of children's books (Twins on Toes, etc.). She came to this conclusion after a year living alone in a cottage on Cape Cod. Feeling that her marriage had stagnated by the time her two sons were grown, Anderson surprised and distressed her husband by refusing to move out-of-state with him when he accepted a new job. In this accessible memoir, she shares the joy and self-knowledge she found during her time of semi-isolation. In order to supplement the income from her royalty checks, she found a job in the local fish market and began making new friends who sustained her. After her hot water heater broke down and her husband refused to help, she earned the additional money for the repair by digging and selling clams. Through vivid and meticulous observations about the natural world, Anderson makes clear her strong affinity for the ocean, with its changing tides, subtle colors and burgeoning life. A Memorial Day reunion brought Anderson and her husband closer; shortly thereafter she embraced his plan to retire and live with her in the cottage. Anderson has recently begun a "Weekend by the Sea" program for women who need time to reflect.
One of the best books I've ever read. Written like a finely woven story with such personality and insight, perfectly descriptive and refreshingly candid, with each chapter as poetic and glistening from the sea. I found myself lost in this book and transported to the seacoast, living and experiencing the life along the Atlantic, relaxing in the moment.
I tend to agree with Kate. After reading several books where wives are terribly abused, I dont feel much sympathy for a woman whining about how her marriage has become boring. Not a lot happens in this book except for the author debating on her not very exciting life. I'm glad not everyone takes a year off from their life 'just to think'.
I got to the end of this book and started rereading it again! There are so many wonderful little nuggets of truths and wisdom in this book... Joan Anderson writes honestly and unabashedly about her transformation and it's ups and downs. This book is not just for women who want to transform, but for all women in general in my opinion. Some excellent quotes to carry with you also.
This is a story of how one woman, Joan Anderson, took a year off from her life as wife and mother to nurture and rediscover her potential. A YEAR BY THE SEA is a record of her experiences. Joan shares with the reader the steps she took to "revitalize" herself. This reads like "an intimate conversation with a close friend." An inspiring story and a quick read!
This is a story of a woman who went to live by the sea in Cape Cod, MA. She was sorting out she was, what she felt, what she wanted for her life. She met an older woman who was her mentor, and learned to be self-reliant as well as make other changes in her life.
One woman's story of self-discovery in her 50th year. We are all unfinished because we continue to evolve everyday. She chose to re-create herself and leave a facinating journal for others to read. I enjoyed this book!
This book is the story of a woman who has raised her family and done all the right things society asks of her, but she has lost herself in the process. She takes a year off - goes off to a cottage by the sea -(oh, that we all had that luxury) - and reconnects with the woman she wants to be. Very nice read.
A memoir - At age 50, Anderson decides not to follow her husband to a new job and instead takes a "vacation" from their marriage. She leaves for a year, going to the family Cape Cod cottage for a time for reflection and learning more about herself. She becomes part of the locals as she winters there getting a job after the summer season is over. A journey of self discovery and encouraging for other woman who have wondered, "what if".
The author, a married 50-year-old woman, takes a year off to spend alone by the sea, to rediscover herself and her goals. Like lots of women, she had neglected herself in the vision of putting her husband and family first, but becoming an "unfinished woman" in the process. Her year apart brought a treasure of insights and changes. I have listed the sequel to this book as well, "An Unfinished Marriage," which chronicles the beautiful way that the author and her husband came to new terms and fulfillment.
A good narrative. Who wouldn't enjoy a year to figure things out? I love that it all happens at the sea. Poetic and philosophical it still fits in many practical and wise quotes, thoughts, lines of poetry, and spirituality. Taken one month at a time as the author does, the reader could journal, ruminate, and pray over the nuggets of wisdom found here.