marriage

Paterson (DVD)

By Jim Jarmusch
5
Rated by Sheida B.
Sep 26, 2017

Paterson is a quiet, beautiful love story.  It depicts a week in the life of a bus driver named Paterson (Adam Driver) and his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). They live in the town of Paterson, New Jersey, which William Carlos Williams immortalized in his poetry. In his spare time, our Paterson writes poetry, mostly love poems about his wife. He writes down his poems wherever he can: in a small cupboard in the basement, in the bus before he starts work. He derives his inspiration from life around him so that the subtle rhythm of an average day becomes the beat of his poem. When Laura tells

Dec 19, 2016

When Jason Amundsen drops an egg farm bomb on his wife Lucie, she understandably balks at the idea. He’s already dragged her from city to city chasing his supposed dreams, but those dreams at least came with health benefits. This one? It’s too much, and Lucie successfully puts the kibosh on the idea. Until Jason gets laid off.


He gets laid off, and this silly dream of his won’t die. The rest of the story is of Lucie, Jason, and their two children, Abbie and Milo, all walking the tightrope between family and farm. Lucie must hold her home, husband, and children close to her heart, while the

The Hopefuls

By Jennifer Close
3
Rated by Diane H.
Nov 2, 2016

I’m of two minds about The Hopefuls. On the one hand, it is a thought-provoking look at a marriage under stress. On the other hand, I found the main character to be a bit lackluster.


Beth Kelly is a writer who loves her husband, Matt, enough to leave her beloved New York and move to an alien place – Washington D.C. Matt is an aspiring politician who joins the Obama campaign and gets a job in the administration after Obama’s victory. Beth finds a job that is definitely not her dream job, but it’s writing, and it keeps her occupied.


She has trouble acclimating to her new environment until

Nov 6, 2014

Imagine, at the age of 30, discovering you're not typical — or rather, not neurotypical. What could have been a scary diagnosis turned out to be very empowering for David Finch. His personal story of coping with Asperger Syndrome and saving his marriage paints a picture of hard-earned possibility. Finch may be at the milder end of the Asperger/autism spectrum, but for a neurotypical like myself, I learned a lot about the life of someone whose brain works very differently from my own. At the same time, I also saw aspects of myself in his behaviors, a reminder that common ground can still be

Cutie and the Boxer

By Zachary Heinzerling
4
Rated by Michelle H.
Jul 28, 2014

Zachary Heinzerling’s debut documentary about Japanese artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara is a film that astonishes viewers not because Ushio and Noriko are wonderful artists—and they are—so much as because they’ve managed to stay married to one another.  Forty years ago, a beautiful young woman came to America to study art and met Ushio, a hell-raising iconoclast who gained a bit of fame as a performance artist.  Noriko fell in love.  


Life with Ushio isn’t easy for Noriko—he drinks, doesn’t sell much artwork—but it is stimulating. She suffers, citing her husband (while sitting next to him

Asterios Polyp

By David Mazzucchelli
5
Rated by Helen H.
Mar 21, 2014

Asterios Polyp is a self-assured, domineering, wind-bag of a paper architect. A paper architect being one “whose reputation rests on his designs, rather than on the buildings constructed from them. In fact, none of his designs had ever been built.”


When we meet Asterios, his Manhattan apartment, where he wallows in self-pity while riding out a mid-life crisis, has just burned to the ground. So he takes the last of his money, hops on a bus, and “give[s] up on the one thing [he] thought defined him.” And it “prove[s] to be a lot less difficult than [he] could have imagined.”


Asterious

How To Talk To a Widower

By Jonathan Tropper
4
Rated by Helen H.
Jan 17, 2014

Poor Doug Parker. At 29, he’s living a life he never anticipated. And it's great. Surprisingly great. Great, until his wife Haley goes off and dies, leaving him alone to deal with his 16-year-old stepson, Haley's beefed-up ex-husband, and a crushing sadness that prevents him from really living.


Tropper has a gift for realistically portraying emotion. In the titles I’ve sampled, Tropper’s main characters are stuck in a suspended state, whether it be grief, or shock, surprise, bewilderment, or all of the above. And there is always a caste of wonderful characters, mostly dysfunctional family

Covet

By Tracey Garvis Graves
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Nov 6, 2013

Claire and Chris Canton are living the quintessential suburban life in Johnson County Kansas when the recession hits and Chris gets laid off from his job.  With a generous severance package Chris is sure that he will be able to find a job with no problem.  However, as the months go on with no job prospects in sight Chris retreats both physically and emotionally from Claire, their two kids and life in general.  Meanwhile, Claire is left to keep things going the way they always have to minimize the impact on their children, Josh and Jordan, while working part time from home.  As Chris continues

Summerland

By Elin Hilderbrand
4
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 17, 2013

In the vein of Laura Moriarity’s The Rest of Her Life or Chris Bojhalian’s The Buffalo Soldier, Hilderbrand puts normal, everyday people under a microscope after throwing a terrible tragedy at them.


In Summerland, twins Hobby and Penny Alistair are shining stars at Nantucket High School. But on graduation night of their junior year they are involved in a car accident that leaves Penny dead and Hobby in a coma for seven days. Character portrayals are authentic with each family of the four students in the car getting their share of scrutiny. The town also has a voice and a collective reaction

I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck

By Lily Tuck
3
Rated by Magda B.
Sep 1, 2013

This short novel takes place over the course of one night and opens with a death.  Nina is calling her husband, Phillip, for dinner and when he doesn’t answer, she immediately senses what has happened.  She decides to keep his body overnight - to spend a final night with her husband of 42 years.  She holds an all-night vigil by his side and reminisces about their life together.  As she is trying to sort her emotions, the memories of their life together return like flashbacks. The purposefully fragmented and non-linear writing style skips back and forth between different decades and the many

Jan 20, 2013

Don’t mind the title, this book is much better than leftover cake.  Editors Kim Perel and Wendy Sherman have stitched together a collection of personal essays from women who reveal the joys, dramas, peculiarities, and even tragedies faced during the first months and years of marriage.  Each offers a unique perspective, but the stories read well as a whole, each with a dose of humor to tie them together and remind us that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.

Perhaps most meaningful to me, many of these narratives are fond reflections that come decades after the first “I do,”

Dec 10, 2012

While reading Wife 22 I engaged in simultaneous duty-shirking and exaggerated eye-rolling. I certainly had better things to do, yet I couldn’t put the silly thing down. The perfect formula for a rainy Saturday afternoon read, in my opinion.

Wife 22, otherwise known as Alice Buckle, is engaged in an on-line survey about marriage. In answering the questions, Alice realizes that she is bored and probably unhappy in her marriage to William. She eventually engages in communication with Researcher 101 outside of the survey via fake Facebook pages. After developing this on-line relationship and

Certified Copy (DVD)

0
Rated by Magda B.
Nov 24, 2012

Abba Kiarostami is a legendary Iranian director , and Certified Copy is his first movie shot outside Iran and produced in the English language. The plot is simple:   A French émigré (Juliette Binoche), who manages an antique store in Italy, meets an English cultural historian, James Miller (William Shimell), who is visiting her town.  They start a conversation.

Certified Copy is done in Kiarostami’s old tradition of narrative filmmaking where two people casually discuss their lives. The movie has an easy conversational rhythm. However, Kiarostami is playing with us again, both by utilizing

Aug 27, 2011

There’s nothing like a broken heart to inspire a lofty personal goal, and broken-hearted Delilah Levi aspires to becoming a rabbi’s wife. She achieves her goal only to discover that not all rebbitzins live in wealthy communities, yet all rebbitzins are expected to work alongside their husbands.

As Delilah becomes less and less enchanted with rabbinical life, she quietly, yet persistently, undermines her husband until his congregation disintegrates and she influences him to take a career-killing position in the wealthy Swallow Lake community despite its disreputable reputation within the

Jul 7, 2011

 As Cathi Hanauer, the editor of The Bitch in the House, explains, “This book was born out of anger…which stemmed from a combination of guilt, resentment, exhaustion, naivete, and the chaos of my life at the time.”  Sharing her thoughts and feelings about her situation in late night e-mails to friends brought her to the realizations that a) many women were facing the same struggles and that b) she was gaining comfort and insight from these conversations.   These realizations led her to approach women she knew and knew of, with the idea of writing essays about their own personal choices and

Jun 2, 2010

What do you say about a book that has been lauded by professional reviewers as a “taut, clear-eyed memoir” with a “sheer and highly efficient writing style” and is “elegant [in its] rendition of the stages [of grief]”?

All I can say is bleech. I didn’t come close to shedding a tear while reading this book and I weep during Hallmark commercials. I don’t understand how a book about the sudden loss of a loving husband after returning from the ICU where a daughter hangs by a thread can leave me void of emotion. But Didion has done it here. It’s inexplicable.

Feb 2, 2010

It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life by Denise J. JacksonC.S. Lewis move over! Here comes Denise Jackson. Reminiscent of the Oxford doyen's Surprised by Joy, Jackson's faith biography comes to us in the tenor of a Southern blonde belle. Her unabashed naked soul shakes the reader to the core. As a graying librarian I've learned to listen carefully to my patrons. One day a mousey female in her late 20's approached saying, "I want the book, It's All About Him. You know --the book by the wife of Alan Jackson, the country-western music star." When she said his name, her lowered face raised to shine into mine. Some people think librarians know everything

Jan 22, 2010

A Change in Altitude by Anita ShreveTwo newly –wed Americans in their late 20s, Margaret and Patrick, find themselves in Africa in the late 70s, where Patrick, a medical doctor, is working a year in Kenya as part of his fellowship in equatorial medicine.  An adventure, climbing Mount Kenya with two other couples, takes a deadly turn, and deeply affects the relationship between Margaret and Patrick.  Anita Shreve fashions this almost autobiographical story (she lived in Kenya in the late 70s and climbed Mt. Kenya herself, and visited many of the towns she writes about) in a low-key but thoughtful manner, without getting overly

Sep 24, 2009

From the beginning, Ralph Truitt knew Catherine Land was not who she pretended to be. Expecting the “simple, honest woman” from the picture she had sent after answering his advertisement for “a reliable wife”, beautiful Catherine came as something of a shock. Thinking her act wholly convincing, Catherine plays the role of simplicity and innocence in hopes of accomplishing a deadly deception.

As Ralph and Catherine begin to live parallel lives in which they each punish themselves for their pasts, they find that in forgiving themselves they can find the happiness that has proven so elusive

Aug 10, 2009

When Terry and Laura Sheldon lose their twin daughters in a flood, understandably, it takes them a few years to adjust to their seemingly empty life. Upon deciding to become foster parents they anxiously await the arrival of whom they envision to be a sweet, blonde-ringleted child who might resemble their own precious girls. They are charged, however, with Alfred, an introverted young black child who is as dismayed at his own presence in rural Vermont as the rural Vermontians are with him.

Every Last Cuckoo

By Kate Maloy
4
Rated by Helen H.
Jul 18, 2009

According to Wikipedia, a “coming of age” story is one which details a young person's transition from adolescence to adulthood. This describes Every Last Cuckoo, except Sarah Lucas’ transition is one from a comfortable coupled existence as a mature woman to one in which she must make her own way. At seventy-five, Sarah’s husband of fifty years has died unexpectedly leaving Sarah and their two dogs alone in their rural Vermont home. After months of grieving and reminiscing about both good times and bad, Sarah is forced out of her depression when she takes in her troubled grand-daughter, Lottie

May 13, 2009

When Gwen Merchant unexpectedly bumps into Elliot Hull, a man whom she had dated furiously for three weeks during college, her seemingly perfect life and perfect marriage are dragged under a microscope for examination. It isn’t until what could have been presents itself that Gwen begins to question the difference between love and marriage. At the encouragement of her husband, Gwen poses as Elliot’s wife in order to appease his mother Vivian on her deathbed. At the dying woman’s insistence, Gwen sets out to discover the truth…and finds more truth than she was prepared for.

The Pretend Wife wi