Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Review - The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

The Beginner's GoodbyeThe Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - 2 days

Blurb From Goodreads

Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances—in their house, on the roadway, in the market.

Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace.

Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

A beautiful, subtle exploration of loss and recovery, pierced throughout with Anne Tyler’s humor, wisdom, and always penetrating look at human foibles.

My Review


I thought after reading the first few lines of this book I was going to love it. The main character Aaron is talking about how since his wife came back (as a ghost), people would pretend not to see her or cross the street or just avoid them. I thought the book was going to be centered around the how and why of the ghost but it was actually about Aaron's journey through grief and the healing process.

The book also jumps around a fair bit from when she returned to before the accident, to Aaron trying to come to terms with life without Dorothy. The story also visits Aaron's work life at the publishing business which didn't interest me at all (although I am sure some people will be really interested).

My problem is I went into this book thinking it was going to be a ghost story and a lot about that but it is actually about Aaron's journey through the grief process and adjusting to life without her and getting back into some semblance of normality. Easy to read for the most part and well written (plenty of rave reviews for it on Amazon and Goodreads so definitely worth checking out for yourself) but sadly not for me. 2/5 this time for me but I would read this author again.

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