Book Review | This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Authour:happy marriage
Ann Patchett
Advance Reader Copy, 306 pages
Publication date:
November 5th 2013
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto, examines her deepest commitments—to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband—creating a resonant portrait of a life in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett’s life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.

As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.


“Why is it that we understand playing the cello will require work, but we attribute writing to the magic of inspiration?” (p. 28)

While I do pride myself on reading fiction and non-fiction, it’s not very often that I review or request non-fiction books for review unless I am very interested in the book. What I love about Ann Patchett’s collection of essays, titled This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is that it reads like any other piece of literature making it also appeal to those who are normally fiction readers. For some people, the thought of reading essays for pleasure may seem intimidating but I do not think it is the case with this collection. I found Patchett’s writing to be very accessible, her writing really spoke to me and it was kind of interesting to get glimpses of her life from the various essays.

My favourite essays in this collection would have to be the ones where she talks about her personal relationships such as those about her divorce, marriage, in addition to the ones about her relationships with her father, grandmother, dog and some of her best friends. In particular I especially enjoyed reading, “This Dog’s Life” even though I’m not a dog person. I liked it mostly because I found it hilarious that other people attributed her relationship to her dog with a desire to have a baby which was not the case. I also really enjoyed “The Wall”, in which Patchett talks about trying out for the LAPD. It was an extremely fascinating read as readers are given a sort of behind the scenes look at what the police exams entails. I also loved that it showed us more of her relationship with her father who used to work in the LAPD before he retired.

This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage is a wonderful non-fiction read about Patchett’s life, and for those who are currently struggling to write it also provides a lot of good insights and advice into the process of writing without romanticizing the profession of being a writer too much.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.