While I Was Gone

While I Was Gone

by Sue Miller


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While I Was Gone 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story truly reflects many honest feelings women in mid-life experience. It is almost too honest for most people to accept because it challenges many of our socially accepted norms of being a wife of a preacher, being a loving and self sacrificing mother, a professional Veterinarian, and a woman. This story could provide an escape for women to explore their feelings or reinforce how natural the feelings they may have concerning the normal aging process and self evaluation of their lives.
citygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Why: When I was in high school or college I read The Good Mother. and it kind of stayed with me. It showed that Miller has a way of getting under your skin, which may be why I've avoided her all these years. But when I saw this one at the right price I dove right in.Miller's prose is so natural and engaging it seems effortless, which of course it cannot be. Jo is a veterinarian, very happily married to a minister and with three adult daughters. She finds herself a bit restless in her newly empty nest and a chance encounter with an old roommate sets her reminiscing about an earlier time in her life, and its secrets and she starts wondering what could be different, sending a wrecking ball through her life's placid domesticity. It's hard for me to describe what exactly this book is about, but I found it difficult to put down, mostly due to Miller's prose and characterizations.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an immaculately well written account of a family in sudden and unexpected crisis. The author's style makes it clear that she knows her characters inside out, and she is not afraid to give them personality time, away from the main plot, to allow them to develop. She was also brave enough to give away the story's main 'secret' with a good third of the book still to go. This could have led to the whole thing going a bit flat, but it's a mark of the author's skill that it stayed interesting. This is the first I have read by Sue Miller but would definitely read more.In terms of style, the book reminded me a great deal of 'Saturday', by Ian McEwan, and I'd suggest that if you liked this, you might like that one too.
mysteena on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this up at the local thrift store because I was desperate for something to read, as I can't seem to find any of my books (due to the move) and we hadn't found the library yet. The only thing to recommend it at the time was the fact that its one of Oprah's Book Club picks. I can't say that it has grasped my attention and I may not finish it. We'll see...Review after finishing: I wasn't satisfied with the ending of this book. No catharsis :( However, it did give me a lot to think about, maybe even too much to think about! The wife's tendency to be all angsty made me a little angsty too. I'd say it was a good book over all. I was certainly surprised by the twist. But I didn't fly through it or feel compelled to read it.
RachelPenso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book would last me longer than it did, but it was hard to put down. It had a twist in it that I didn't predict, and the ending wasn't quite perfect.
caroren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

What's it like to be haunted by your past?  What's it like to feel yourself growing older, and yet to so vividly remember your youth?  Were you different then?  Are you the same person now?  Sue Miller's book asks all of these questions.

kshaffar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story of a wife and mother suddenly revisiting her past had great moments and held my attention. Still it had long, boring passages.I found the protagonist annoying and self-indulgent in a way that didn't jibe at all with the way she thought of herself. Further, her inability to see it, even in the end left me unsatisfied.At points, her descriptions and observations, while interesting and well drawn, dragged on. Her focus on minutia rang untrue to me, her description of her marriage and her husband was so perfect, that it made what followed wholly unbelievable.In fact, all the male characters in this book, from her husband, to Eli, to the other men in "the house" felt more like a woman's fantasy of what a man is than anyone I've actually known.Not a bad pick if you're willing to have a quick read, nostalgic for the 60s, and willing to not think too much.
turtlesleap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Miller's book is reasonably well-written and the book is easty to read without requiring too much analysis or thought. There were two instances in the book in which some character said to her heroine, Joey, "Grow up." I would heartily endorse that. The story is told from Joey's point of view and her character is very limited. She's self-involved, without being self-analytical, and her view of the people around her, including those whom she loves, is entirely colored by how their feelings, actions, etc. affect her. My inablity to empathize with the heroine (I just wanted to say,"For God's sake, GROW UP!" made it hard to really like the book. Interestingly, the least well-developed of her main characters was by far the most engaging. Daniel, Joey's husband, whilea bit of a saint, hinted at much that was unexplored. A pity that the author didn't explore that further.
saskreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sue Miller is talented to have clearly captured an unlikable character--Jo, the main character. It seems to me that it's easy to write a character who is likable and always "does the right thing", but it is more difficult to create one who does not. Jo is annoying and bothersome with her ungratefulness and constant yearning for something else, and I admire Miller for drawing Jo so well.
CityLove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sue Miller captured my heart in a peculiar way that is hard to describe. I just felt swept away as I was reading. It felt like I was right in the room with the characters and was rooting for them all the time. This book is a very good read.
madhuri_agrawal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I was gone is a story of a woman who, despite an idyllic family life, cannot shake a feeling of restlessness. The restlessness gets compounded after she meets a friend from her haunting, wild and unconventional past.The beauty of the book was in its un-exaggerated portrayal of an imperfect, flawed heroine, which made her much more identifiable compared to the perfect, morally upright woman. Of course, the narrator does question her morals once in a while, which seems a little artificial. The story is interesting and made it difficult for me to put down the book once I picked it up. The plot flattens out towards the end, but that seems almost inevitable in most stories.The language is simple and therefore easy to read.All in all, a good read - different and in a way refreshing.
karainmd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hated the main character, hated the ending, hated the 'pho' marriage to Daniel and Jo's justification for everything she did to him.
xuesheng on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I sometimes felt like Jo needed someone to slap her and tell her to grow up, like some other reviewers mentioned, I still enjoyed this novel. The story was interesting, and the author showed a character who matured, but still fell into the same pattern--running away from her life.
DoranneLongPTMS More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued through the entire reading of While I Was Gone. The characters are multi-faceted and flawed, but very real. I enjoyed reading the intimate details of Jo Becker's life. Having lived in Cambridge, I could personally relate to the lifestyle described. The story felt real to me.
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Dr-SandraFortune More than 1 year ago
While the book entertains, I find the premise difficult to believe-- a woman so caught up in the past that she puts everything she loves at risk. The author's writing style, though, make this book a good read.
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MommyOfMunch More than 1 year ago
Oh, Oprah. You selected two of my favorite books for your book club. (I Know This Much Is True and White Oleander)I thought that I trusted your recommendations, but after We Were The Mulvaneys and now this, I can't help but believe that your literary tastes are more bought by publishers than genuine. This was about a woman who runs into an old acquaintence, throwing her into memory about the death of a friend and secret. Anyone guess what the secret is? I bet you can. It was long. None of the characters are likable. Even the dead friend. The author is always describing her as lovable, but I just didn't believe that at all. The main character is selfish and the book ended, leaving me thinking, "What was the point of that?"
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