Haven’t I Read This Already?

Let’s play a game!

Guess That Anne Tyler novel!

Middle-aged quirky guy who has slender and niche book series has devastating life event, moves back to childhood home to stay with his spinster sister, spinster sisters finds live as the quirky guy has major house trouble and finds a measure of happiness in his life.

Guess! Now! Come on…do it! Guess!

<cue Blacklight “Who is Anne Tyler?”>

I’m waiting!

<taps foots>

Okay…ANY guesses?

Oh….The Accidental Tourist.

Wait…The Beginner’s Goodbye…

Hmmm….you know…both answers are correct.

A few weeks ago, after an Entertainment Weekly back issue binge, I put the latest Anne Tyler, The Beginner’s Goodbye, on hold. And when I did get my hands on it a few days later, it was a hard slog even though it’s a just wee, dainty, slip of a thing. Something wasn’t holding my attention fully. But I slogged through it and just chalked it up to trying to relax and read when Blacklight was sitting four feet away on the couch, flinching in pain every time he shifted or took a deep breath. Spouse in pain and you can’t do a thing to help make it better isn’t exactly the best setting for reading. And all the reviews said the book was slight but good. So it had to be me…

Fast forward to last night. Have just spilled full glass of cold water all over side table including on Mr Kindle. Snatch up Mr Kindle, tidy up the mess and collapse on Mr Couch in relief that Mr Kindle is okay. Because the last thing I need to do to replace Mr Kindle even though he’s the $79 one with special offers. And dive into The Accidental Tourist because do not want to read about the Triangle Fire, I want escape.

And I start reading, then pause and then start reading again. Something isn’t right and it’s not the people at the basketball courts playing late into the night, every other word a curse. Or that my back and left hip hurts. Or that I can hear Blacklight through the wall escaping his pain with watching My Little Pony videos. The book, something is wrong with the book. Have I had this much trouble re-reading The Accidental Tourist in the past?

Mr Kindle gets turned off and I headed to bed with The Intellectual Devotional Biographies.

And this morning as I’m blow drying my hair and wondering if I should even bother to put makeup on, it hits me (not the hairdryer). There are only so many plots in the world. Big Guy in R’lyeh knows I have a whole virtual trunk of failed chick lit novel attempts that boil down to the same plot and characters. If it can effect pudgy, needs to cut back on the Starbucks Gwen Never-Was, why can’t it effect Anne “Quirky Baltimore Lady with a Pulitzer” Tyler.

Because, let’s face it…Macon (The Accidental Tourist) and Aaron (The Beginner’s Goodbye) are pretty similar. And not just because in my head they are both played by William Hurt.

  • both suffer a tragic death of a loved family member
  • both go a little mental in being alone after death of said family member
  • both their houses’ go to pot and then fixing of said house is a sign of their returning to normalcy
  • both go back to their childhood home after the tragic death
  • both have a hyper organized and older than her years sister who finds love with a man connected to their grieving brother
  • both have worked for a family business that would have failed without the input of a hyper business aware sibling
  • both write/are in charge of a quirky, slender niche book series which is the title of the book
  • both are played by William Hurt in my head (try NOT to cast William Hurt as Aaron…try)

No wonder I felt a little deja vu during The Beginner’s Goodbye





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