Date finished: January 25, 2019

Rating: ★★★★

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is a supremely talented writer, and she excels at weaving gorgeous tales like State of Wonder and Bel Canto. Author’s memoirs, such as Stephen King’s On Writing, are often my favorite type of book, and Patchett provides a compelling addition to the set with This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

Compiling her additions to magazines and publications such as The AtlanticThe New York TimesVogue, and Gourmet, as well as addresses given at universities, Patchett offers up 22 personal essays on topics like successful relationships, saying goodbye to a canine best friend, going to Catholic school as a child and eventually becoming great friends with the nuns who taught you, taking care of an elderly relative, getting divorced, opening a bookstore, going to the opera, and more. The essays are short, sweet, and often inspirational, offering up nuggets of wisdom on getting motivated to write, putting yourself first in difficult relationships, and jumping headlong into life’s opportunities.

A few favorites:

“What begins as something like a dream will, in fact, stay a dream forever unless you have the tools and the discipline to bring it out.”

“If you want to write, practice writing. Practice it for hours a day. Not to come up with a story you can publish, but because you long to learn how to write well. Because there is something you alone can say. Write the story, learn from it, put it away, write another story.”

“Sometimes love does not have the most honorable beginnings. And the endings, the endings will break you in half. It’s everything in between we live for.”

A beautiful read for writers, Ann Patchett fans, and those who enjoy quick, captivating essays.

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