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The Beginner's Goodbye
The Beginner's Goodbye
Author: Anne Tyler
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron grew up fending off a sister who constantly wanted to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, an outspoken, independent young woman, she’s like a breath of fresh air. He marries her without hesitation, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. Aaron works at his family’s vanity-pu...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780345533357
ISBN-10: 0345533356
Publication Date: 1/29/2013
Pages: 224
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 17 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Beginner's Goodbye on + 164 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I always love Tyler's writing - so breezy, effortless, but still sophisticated.

So I liked the writing. I also liked a lot of the book - I identified with her protagonist, Aaron, and I felt like his wife was very real. I could picture her perfectly.

But the narrative didn't feel real. This may feel like a spoiler, but it's really not, when I tell you that Aaron's dead wife appears in the book. It's not a spoiler because he says it flat out in the first sentence.

So anyway, narrative didn't feel real. Maybe she was intentionally doing an unreliable-narrator thing; if so, it didn't work with me. At the beginning of the book, he talked as if being with his wife was a constant and common occurrence, whether people were around or no. The rest of the book, his wife's appearances are furtive, brief, and people-shy. It didn't quite jell. I found myself wondering where in the narrative the scenes described in the first pages could have occurred - they didn't seem like they would fit in any part of the grieving process.

Also, and maybe this is a nitpick, but men just don't describe clothes at length, or nearly as specifically, as Tyler does. She does it in every book. In a first-person book with a male narrator, it's just got to get cut out. No man talks about the way a sweater gathers at the collar, or goes on about pencil-skirts and how often a particular woman wears that one.
reviewed The Beginner's Goodbye on + 817 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I'd forgotten just how much I love Tyler's quirky characters! This book made me laugh out loud and moved me to tears. It's a delight to be privy to this protagonist's thoughts on everything from his co-workers to marriage to "workmen who persist in saying 'Mr.' even after you've told them not to." My only complaint is that at 198 pages, it was over much too soon.
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