Customer Reviews for

The Story of a Marriage

Average Rating 3.5
( 20 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2010

    A 21st century great

    One of the smartest books of the 21st century. Greer's use of imagery captivates the reader as Pearlie narrates the story of her marriage. He brilliantly compares war and love, the "gray" areas of life, and demonstrates that there is no black and white when it comes to love; for each person, love is an individual experience. A fabulous, thought provoking read with large universal truths about fighting for the one you love, the power of love, and the definition of marriage.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Beautiful writing, Pearlie is a wonderful narrator

    Greer's book is a quiet, meditative reflection on marriage told through the eyes of Pearlie. She narrates the story so while she tells the "story" of her marriage to Holland you never fully hear Holland's version of the story; she is always told what Holland might be thinking or needing and never truly asks for herself. Because the novel is set in the 1950s of the Korean War, the McCarthy hearings, and the Rosenberg execution, real events also shape Pearlie's story and thoughts on her marriage. I won't pretend that I didn't figure out the central problem of the marriage in the first twenty pages but the beauty of the novel is reading Pearlie's reasoning and decision-making process. Of particular interest is Pearlie's fixation on Ethel Rosenberg and how Ethel is reflected in Pearlie's thoughts; the ramifications of silence and inaction are at the heart of Pearlie's story, too, and Pearlie has learned to find her voice and path at the end of the novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Is Mr. Greer Kidding?

    This pick was selected by my Book Club. What a POOR choice! The story was simply not plausible.
    The Story of a Marriage was a story about nothing, in my opinion that had any reality-based insight, character study, or plot. The idea that an African American woman from the South, who would venture west and become involved in any sense of the word(s) with a caucasion man, that her husband was alledgedly involved with is ludicrous. A bad, bad, bad story that in addition was poorly written.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not bad, but not my first pick.

    This book was a staff recommendation at a BN store. The staff person told me it was the best book she had ever read, so her hype may have affected my perception of this book. Greer has a way of revealing information in a way that leads to some surprises in the plot. However, I don't think the plot was shocking or satisfying enough to warrant my full endorsement. I think Greer has some potential as a writer, so I hope another novel follows, perhaps with an entirely different topic and set of characters.

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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Story - but the writing wasn't there

    I felt that the writing was too confusing. I didn't enjoy this book and would never have finished it if it weren't for my book club.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2009

    Good ending

    It was a little hard to follow.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    Married or not you will enjoy this book.

    I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and the characters were revealed as I read.

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  • Posted April 19, 2009

    I do not recommend "The Story of a Marriage"

    "The Story of a Marriage" is a novel by Andrew Sean Greer based in the 1950's. This novel is about an African American woman, Pearlie, struggling to save her marriage, while trying to survive political, sexual, and racial repressions. After reading this novel I am sorry to say that I would not recommend this to other readers. The author had a great opportunity to make this a fantastic book considering the many details he came up with, but he failed to do the right things with them. He briefly mentioned certain appealing conflicts, he made parts of the novel confusing, and he failed to make the main conflict interesting.
    When I first considered reading this book I read the inside cover and I thought that this would be one of the most interesting books that I have read. The inside cover talked about Pearlie not knowing her husband, her son getting polio, and a stranger offering her $100,000; all of those things would have made a great book but he didn't go into detail. The biggest example of the author not going into detail would be Pearlie's son getting polio, he told us about it for about two sentences towards the beginning of the novel. After the author first mentioned Pearlie's son getting polio he briefly mentioned at any other time in the novel. Rarely do I read books on my own time but I was actually excited about reading this book because of what I read on the inside cover, but this book basically let me down.
    Another thing that frustrated me about this novel was how he transitioned between the present and the future. The story would be in the present tense, jump ten years into the future without any clue, and then jump back to the present. Those certain parts where he talked about the future, had me sitting there confused and having no idea what had just happened. In one part of the book Pearlie was remembering how her husband's mother hid him from the war, then it went immediately to her throwing away her eighteen year old son's draft card, but throughout most of the book he wasn't even ten yet. The author should have found a better way to go from the present to the future.
    The main conflict of the novel was that her husband's old love, Buzz, came back and wanted to get back into a relationship with him. Right away they went ahead and decide that Buzz was going to run away with her husband and in return she was going to receive $100,000. There was never a fight between Buzz and Pearlie; she never even fought for her husband. Throughout the whole book Pearlie and Buzz would meet and discuss him leaving with her husband and what he felt for him. The whole book was just plain boring and was never at any point interesting.
    The author briefly mentioned certain appealing conflicts, he made parts of the novel confusing, and he failed to make the main conflict interesting. This novel was absolutely boring and I would never recommend this book to anyone. The same author has written other great and popular books but this was not at all one of his better novels. I feel bad about saying this but I felt like this book was a complete waste of my time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    Unlikely

    An unlikely story. So meditative and overly laden with metaphor as to become tedious.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    Pearlie met Holland twice as strangers. The first time back home in Kentucky when he showed up to walk with her to school and could look the tall Pearlie eye to eye. Later after a Mr. Pinker persuaded Pearlie to come to California for employment writing letters to GIs fighting the Axis powers, they re-met on a Pacific beach. The second time around led to marriage although Holland is not quite the same health wise as he was before the war and has a child Sonny afflicted with polio.------------ In 1953 San Francisco, a stranger to Pearlie but Holland¿s former lover and boss Buzz Drumer arrives. At a time when the Americans are fighting another war on an Asian peninsular while the fear of communism permeates very segment of life, he makes a strange offer of $100,000. Holland wants to accept the terms while Pearlie is afraid. Her fears stem from the realization that her husband remains a stranger with his dark secrets as the appearance of Mr. Drumer proves.----------- Told by a continuingly stunned Pearlie, the surprising yet plausible disclosures seem to keep coming throughout this poignant historical novel that affirms regardless of relationships everyone has a part of them that remains a stranger to their significant other. The triangle that forms between the shocked Pearlie, the secretive Holland, and the stranger-not stranger Mr. Drumer make for a fabulous look at the early 1950s in which Andrew Sean Greer asserts that the ¿Happy Days¿ nostalgic innocence claimed by modern revisionists is untrue. The author subtly explores young health issues, post traumatic distress syndrome of returning veterans, racism, sexism, and being politically correct during the ¿I Like Ike¿ era.------------ Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 20, 2009

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