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The Accidental Tourist by Tyler, Anne New edition (1995)

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  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Vintage; New edition
  • Unknown
  • 8
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Review Text

  • By Mary Whipple on June 24, 2008

    Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1985, this thoughtful character novel focuses on Macon Leary, a travel writer who hates to travel, a man who has gone through life observing what is happening, but who has never been truly engaged. Compulsively tidy, Macon has always believed that it is possible to order one's life so effectively that the untidiness, or chaos, that throws life into confusion can be avoided. And then his beloved 12-year-old son is cold-bloodedly murdered in the senseless robbery of a burger joint while he is away at camp for the first time.It gives away nothing of the plot to say that this event totally undoes Macon and his wife, and their polite and predictable marriage goes into a tailspin. When the novel opens, Macon and Sarah have decided to separate, with Sarah getting her own apartment (where she can be as messy as she wants) and Macon remaining in the house with his son Ethan's undisciplined dog Edward. In fact, Macon has moved back with his sister and brothers in the family house, to recuperate from his physical wounds--an accident in which he breaks his leg-- and from his emotional wounds.Then into his life comes Muriel, a divorcee with an over-protected, allergic, and hypersensitive son. She is a dog trainer, a flake, the only person willing to undertake the task of civilizing the aggressive, sometimes vicious "pet" that lives with Macon. As Macon tries to deal with his life, his loss of Sarah (who is dating), his son's dog (which attacks anything that moves), and his commitment to producing yet another travel book, his life becomes more complicated, and the depth of his relationship with Sarah, relative to the shared loss they have faced, becomes an issue which must be revisited if he is ever to engage with life and explore the possibilities of a new life which Muriel offers.Filled with wonderful descriptions of life, both within Macon's family and in Europe, where he travels for research, the novel provides the reader with a full, realistic picture of marriage between people whose relationship has been, in part, the result of their commitment to their son. Poignant and emotional, but avoiding melodrama, the novel explores the meaning of life and love, the extent to which a marriage may limit or stimulate the growth of the people involved, and the ways in which a marriage must adapt to the new needs of the participants if it is to endure through time. Mary WhippleBack When We Were GrownupsDigging to America: A NovelSaint MaybeCelestial Navigation

  • By S. G. Fortosis on December 16, 2009

    Anne Tyler has a unique gift. She has the ability to note personal details, slight mannerisms, little eccentricities, embarrassing foibles, personality quirks, and other assorted details that most of us see but rarely acknowledge. Out of these seemingly insignificant tidbits Tyler sews together a plot with very real but imperfect characters---characters we recognize immediately, and some of which we identify with intimately. The Accidental Tourist was fairly new at the time and was, I believe, my first introduction to Tyler. I knew then that I had to read more from this author. I read The Homesick Restaurant, then went back to all of her earlier novels and saw her progression as a writer. Macon Leary and the lady he ends up with are one-of-a-kind characters, yet somehow we can identify a bit with them as fellow-humans fumbling our way through life, trying hard to make it, whatever that exactly means. Macon is not an exciting person; in fact, one could say he is boring. Yet, we read the book with fascination because Tyler makes this monotonous human being matter to us, and this is one sign of masterful writing. This is only an opinion, so don't jump down my throat. But it seems to me that sometime after Saint Maybe, Tyler gravitated to writing books aimed more at women. I tried to read with the same level of interest, but wasn't quite able to do it. I haven't read everything she's written more recently so this opinion isn't conclusive. I'm just sayin'... Anyway, read the book.

  • By jessica821 on February 20, 2012

    I am an avid reader and enjoy a great variety of genres. I read a few books per week. I have only stopped reading a book halfway through, until this book. As many of the other reviews stated, it was extremely slow and boring in the beginning... well...it never got anything beyond extremely slow and boring. I had to stop reading it! It was horrible!I absolutely hated the main character, Macon. He constantly had to have a "plan" or a "strategy" (which one learns quickly early on in life that life can't be planned like this!). He recalls a fight that he has with his son in which they got in a fight because the son didn't have a STRATEGY as to where he was going to sit in a movie theater. SERIOUSLY?! I wanted to reach into my book and hit him. Just enjoy life! Stop "strategizing" about such mundane things!The character clearly has some sort of autism spectrum disorder, like Asperger's or something because his behavior is NOT normal. ASD characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. However, he has a completely passive attitude regarding his out-of-control dog (whom I also hated). I have nothing against ASD or any other disorder but I could not read a novel about a man who was so hung up on strategy and plans that he could not live a normal life.Clearly his entire family is dysfunctional. All four siblings are single/divorced and now living in one house together (which I find so odd). I do not see how this dysfunctional family would help each other. I could barely keep track of who was who out of the siblings.I do not see Macon having grown as a person at all. He was married to an Sarah, an eccentric free spirited type, and ends up being interested in another (stalker like) woman named Muriel, who is also completely opposite of him as well. I cannot see how someone like Muriel would be so persistent with Macon. This would never happen in real life! I am extremely disappointed in this book. I am going to contact Amazon and demand my money back. You could not pay me to finish this book.


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