Thursday, November 18, 2010

Breathing Lessons - Book Review

I'm a fan of Anne Tyler. I think she is one of the most interesting character writers out there. Her characters and situations are realistic and true but she has such insight into human nature that she can make anything from adoption (Digging to America) to marriage (The Amateur Marriage) interesting.

I found a copy of Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler at the library book sale last month and I snatched it up. I finally got a chance to read it this week. It is similar to the other books that I've read by Anne Tyler, in that the main characters, Maggie and Ira, are just a normal married couple.

In Breathing Lessons, Maggie and Ira take a quick day trip to attend the funeral of Maggie's best friend's husband. While in the car, they deal with several marital and family issues that have been secretly or subconsciously bothering them--their youngest is headed to college in the morning and their son is divorced and separated from his child.

Tyler writes dialogue so well and real, that it's almost uncomfortable for the reader. It seems almost voyeuristic--spying on your neighbor's life. Have you ever looked at a married couple and wondered 'how in the world did those two end up together'? Tyler writes tales about how some marriages happen, why they fall apart or how they manage to stay together. Even though Breathing Lessons was written and published over twenty years ago, the story still rings true because it shows human nature. The book is well written and I enjoyed it.

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