Author: Ann Patchett
Review: I came across a review of this book on Book Riot (by the way, they are awesome and I've been enjoying that site a lot since I've discovered it). This is the first book of essays I've read in a really long time. I pick up essays extremely rarely, not because I hate essays, but rather because I rarely hear about essays worth reading. The title on this book caught my attention though and the review was so positive that I bought the book.
I have to say I was totally and completely in love with the author by essay number four. I was slightly less interested in her essays about writing craft, but all her essays dealing with life stories and her relationships were simply phenomenal. They were honest and insightful and generally quite entertaining. My favorite one is definitely The Wall, in which Ann, age 30, decides to train and then takes the entrance exam into the LA police academy. It's funny, it's touching, it's full of neat cultural observations. The titular story This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is also great, telling the story of how Ann meets her future husband and why she finally agrees to marry him after 11 years of dating.
One of the things I enjoyed throughout is Ann's distinctive voice and clear, concise, striking writing style. You can hear her in every one of the essays and you can tell she's choosing her words carefully when she writes. I am now pretty curious to pick up one of her novels, though I barely know anything about them, just based on the quality of writing. And I would definitely recommend this compilation to anyone who would enjoy a very well written glimpse into another human being's life.