Best of 2013: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett

This is the final installment of my “Best of 2013” series. Thanks to all of you who read my posts throughout the last two weeks or so. It was really fun to reflect on my year of reading and remember what I loved so much about the books 2013 had to offer. Make sure to follow so you don’t miss future posts, and feel free to keep in touch via the contact page, facebook, goodreads or twitter.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett. Harper, 320 pp. November 2013

I’ll be completely honest, I first read this book because I kept seeing Ann Patchett’s name on the New York Times bestseller list, and I was curious. I hadn’t ever read her before, but this book was coming out and I threw my hat in the ring.

I’m so glad I did. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is so incredibly cozy and honest I felt like I was sitting across the table with her drinking coffee and talking about life and writing. This book, a collection of essays previously published by Patchett throughout her writing career, takes ordinary moments and fleshes them into amazing philosophical and life-enhancing anecdotes.

Had I known of Patchett previously I may have read these in the magazines they were originally published in. But I think there was something about reading them in this collection that brought them to life in a way I can’t imagine reading them in a magazine or journal would have. These stories were plucked from their homes and brought together to live quietly and together between these covers. They were chosen for a specific reason, and their proximity to each other makes them even more intimate.

From Patchett, by way of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, I learned how to be a better writer. She doesn’t give away any secrets, but more does away with the notion that there are any “secrets” at all. Writing is her job and her passion; she writes because she is a writer. In this collection, she tells stories of her own writing experiences, but I feel that’s all a writer needs to do when offering advice on writing.

In This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Patchett talks about her relationships, or marriages, with men, with relatives, with colleagues, with beloved pets, and with opera. But the relationship she talks about the most–the marriage I imagine she holds most dear to her–is with the words she has read and written throughout her life.


About katepadilla

I write for the Spencer Daily Reporter in Spencer, Iowa. I keep blogs lifebythebooks, Save Me, San Francisco, and Beauty and Beast Buy a House. I'm also hard at work writing a short story collection inspired by the music of Train.

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