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Other People We Married

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  1,225 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews
In this vibrant debut collection, Emma Straub creates characters as recognizable as a best friend, and follows them through moments of triumph and transformation with hilarity, vulnerability, and quietly dazzling insight.

In Some People Must Really Fall In Love, an assistant professor takes halting steps into the awkward, adult world of office politics and blind dates while
Paperback, 214 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by FiveChapters Books (first published February 2011)
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This book has generated a lot of buzz in literary circles, and I bought it on a whim, wanting to read some contemporary short fiction. Also, I read an essay on the Paris Review blog by Emma Straub about My So-Called Life and adolescent female friendships and I loved it.

The book was ultimately disappointing. There were a few stories in the collection that I did enjoy, but the writing wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, and ultimately, I felt like many of the stories focused on an unhappy female
Feb 29, 2012 christa rated it really liked it
I love Emma Straub. I love that she is a bookseller. I love her blog. I like when she takes to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to tell writers how to win the hearts of the bookstore staff at public readings (See also: Candy). I love that she had four novels rejected, had her collection of short stories published by a small house and then got picked up by a larger one and now one of those rejected novels will see the light of day. She’s my new favorite success story and I wish she would make ...more
Sep 13, 2014 rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Excuse me while I have a giggle that I read a book called Other People We Married and discovered the goofy piece of television that is "Sister Wives" at roughly the same time.

Alas, there are no polygamists in this book. Just people falling in and out of love, mostly, which is the subject of approximately 90% of short story collections these days. Modern romance. It's a good read when it's done well, but just as frequently it seems to be this Miranda July-like, affected hipster hell.

Emma Straub
Oct 09, 2016 Cody rated it really liked it
I just finished Emma Straub's debut book, a collection of short stories called Other People We Married. Overall, I was impressed. Below are my thoughts on each story (copied and pasted from updates posted while reading the book):

"Some People Must Really Fall In Love" -- my favorite in the collection so far. A 27-years-old college professor falls in love with one of her teenage students, and she tries dealing with this by going on a blind date with a man of appropriate age. I have no fault with
May 23, 2016 Chrissie rated it did not like it
I found myself always having to re-read each page and then each paragraph, as if I was drifting off every time I tried to get further in the stories. It seemed to be happening with almost every story. And I was really into the idea of reading this book, before actually finally cracking it. I found most of the characters and the stories were blurring into each other. Maybe this should have been her first novel, rather than a collection of short stories, since the characters and stories were ...more
Jul 08, 2011 Laura added it
How could I not read Emma Straub's book? I love Emma Straub's blog, I love that Emma Straub is a bookseller, and I love that Emma Straub has blurbs from Lorrie Moore and Dan Chaon. Oh, and I love the cover.

Beyond the exterior, however, Emma Straub's is a lovely collection of not-exactly-related short stories. Each takes place in a different location, but all of the protagonists are New Yorkers. I pondered the title of the collection for the first few stories, but later its significance began to
Jun 27, 2011 Matt rated it liked it
There is one really excellent story in this collection: "Abraham's Enchanted Forest". The protagonist Greta is so well-drawn in so few words, and so much fun to follow around. Probably it would be fun to follow around any teenager working at her parents' makeshift roadside amusement park, but this is especially true in Greta's case.

The rest of the stories suffer from stale writing, stale characters, typos, lack of narrative drive, or all of the above. It's obvious that Straub is talented, but it
Miette Reader
Reading this while puttering around waiting for my sparkly loooooong-awaited new computer to fill up with all of my hugely giganormous files, with the windows open and music on. Today's the first day it really feels like spring around here, and these stories fit the mood perfectly.
Maya Frank-Levine
Mar 16, 2011 Maya Frank-Levine rated it it was amazing
Wonderful language. No word is wasted and every story is a gem.
Oct 12, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it
Short story collections always leave me craving more! Especially when they are good stories and characters.
Kent Winward
Sep 21, 2016 Kent Winward rated it liked it
15 years ago I volunteered to read short stories for a writing contest for Writers at Work. I read through a lot of stuff that just wasn't very good. I found one that I could sort of say, "Hey, this is OK." When I handed it over and said this is the only one that even felt polished, the other volunteer tossed it aside saying, "Oh, I was in the class where that was work shopped. It is overworked."

It was still the best story of the slush pile I was given and apparently having seen the sausage made
Alaric Cabiling
Feb 08, 2016 Alaric Cabiling rated it it was amazing
Emma Straub is a fine author, and Other People We Married is rich with her subtle but persuasive talent. There's humor in every turn. Every detail is almost alarmingly perceptible through her keen observation of everyday life. She's articulate without sounding like a textbook, or a medical dictionary.

The language is hardly spare, drifting between everyday ease and profound articulacy. Her characters are richly depicted and her scenes are so vivid, only a picture would prove to be better. Somehow
This is a good, solid bunch of stories, most of them not particularly stellar but still pretty damn good. Nothing quirky, no weird obsessions with animals or stars, no magical realism resides in these pages. Just stories about the kind of people you know, trying their best to live and love and get over heartbreak.

I especially like "Pearls," which deals with teenage girl sexuality and introduces us to Franny Gold, who we see again in the title story, as well as in "Mohawk." Emma Straub likes Fran
Mar 05, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Maybe I missed something, but I found this book of short stories to be a disappointment. There was some nice moments but overall run of the mill stories. The author's style seems to be concentrated on a lot of background and buildup and then little payoff. When I was just getting to know the characters or become interested in what was happening, it usually ended.

Also, a couple stories were about characters mentioned previously in the book which confused me because they weren't in chronological
Jun 27, 2016 Gloria rated it did not like it
Yknow, I had high hopes for this book. I liked a novel of hers. Didn't love it, but liked it enough to want to seek out another book by her. I love short stories. They're my very favorite form of fiction. I live for discovering new amazing short story collections. So I was excited for this.

It was so disappointing. I can't even explain why. The stories just didn't hold my attention. They weren't very well-written, the characters weren't very interesting, and the stories themselves were pretty...
Aug 16, 2012 Mary rated it it was ok
I heard great things about this book so I decided to pick it up. I started reading this while on my cruise and got about halfway through the book and was bored by it. I always like to finish whatever book I read whether I like it or not but was actually considering not completing this one. I did give another shot and finished it. Some of the stories were too short, the characters were underdevelopped and all of the stories were depressing. I don't have to have all roses and flowers and sunshine ...more
Sep 07, 2016 Ashley rated it it was ok
I received a copy of Other People We Married thanks to goodreads' first reads. I just recently finished another collection of short stories which restored my faith in the genre. Sadly, Other People We Married left me wanting. As other reviewers have noted, some of these stories are just too short, and there is too much emphasis on background noise like scenery, and not enough on the characters.

There was a lot of promise, but I just couldn't connect with any of these characters, and was incredib
Rachel Goodman
Jan 24, 2012 Rachel Goodman rated it liked it
Unfortunately, I was expecting more from Emma Straub's inaugural work. Her online presence (Twitter, her blog) made me hopeful for a strong voice, despite her tendency towards Brooklyn twee. While I found her prose to be pure, it was a bit too obvious and left me wanting; her characters remained just unripe. In all, enjoyable enough and good for a read on the subway commute. I can't say, however, that the book moved me, nor did it leave a lasting impression.
Mari Monte
Apr 06, 2015 Mari Monte rated it it was ok
So.... The good stories were...okay and the bad stories were pretty hard to get through. I kind of found most of her characters lack luster, two dimensional and some times down right unlike able. I kept drifting in and out of the book. Something that I read and will leave out on the stoop for someone else to read. I might not want to have it take up space on my bookshelf, you know?
Aug 20, 2012 Wesley rated it it was ok
i've read lorrie moore. i've read binnie kirshenbaum. ann beattie, et al. there isn't much use for this, i'm afraid. pleasant enough writing but the emotional punch it supposedly packs feels rather manipulative and the book just never seems to come out from under the stories' more-of-the-same twee intellectualism.
Oct 24, 2016 Kate rated it liked it
I'm not a short story person, generally, but I did enjoy this book. The tales of love and lust and crushes were sweet little vignettes displaying varying degrees of success and failure in relationships. It was interesting/novel to read about relationships/crushes, etc. that were doomed but not necessarily toxic. Many of them spoke of love that might have worked in other circumstances, people enamoured but unable or unwilling to make a move, or people together after years but not quite sure why. ...more
Nov 03, 2016 Morgan rated it liked it
This collection of short stories starts strong and then peters out. A few of these seemed like promising beginnings for a novel I'd like to read. I'd definitely give Ms Straub a second chance.
Nov 09, 2016 Barb rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, short-stories
Disappointingly forgettable. Then again, I'm going through ECT right now. But even so, the stories didn't stand out to me.
Nov 09, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Some were good stories, didn't convince me to love short stories.
Karen Schlosser
Nov 04, 2016 Karen Schlosser rated it really liked it
Twelve stories about "love", people's different versions of love which widely vary and illustrates the saying, "the spice of life".
P. Kirby
Less a collection of "stories," and more a whole buncha long anecdotes about what it's like to be a somewhat privileged middle-class white woman. Particularly a married woman who lives in the perfect suburbs, and is married to Mr. Bland, and is somewhat bored and also a little angry about being bored.

I admit, the writing is insightful, in a higher-class-than-Jerry-Springer kind of voyeuristic way. The stories are an earnest exploration of white people ennui, sometimes funny, but mostly sort of e
Mary Beth
Oct 12, 2016 Mary Beth rated it liked it
I enjoyed a few of these stories very much, including the title story, but as with all short story collections, I want the good stories to continue. I'm just not much of a short story fan.
Aug 26, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it
Short stories, as I've said before, make for odd books. There's the problem of the stories having already appeared before, as is the case with popular writers like Alice Munro, whose stories show up in The New Yorker and Best American series several times before appearing under her own name.

Emma Straub present another problem of the Short Story collection: voice fatigue. Straub is a good writer, with a clever eye and a great wit. She writes about quirky people on the inner edges of sanity. Peop
Oct 05, 2016 Jason rated it liked it
I recently read 'Modern Lovers' and found it pretty mediocre. It was good for a quick summer read and took place in a Brooklyn neighborhood I'm not familiar with, which I enjoyed. That said, this collection of short stories didn't move me in any particular way either. It just doesn't read like a finished collection. .
Oct 03, 2016 Andrianna rated it liked it
Most of the stories were fairly enjoyable, although a few just seemed to drag on. There was some continuity of characters across the stories - I might have paid closer attention to the earlier stories if I knew some of the characters would be popping up again. Overall, a decent collection but I didn't find it stunning.
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Emma Straub is the New York Times‒bestselling author of The Vacationers, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Elle, and Condé Nast Traveler, and she is a contributing writer for Rookie. Straub's work has been published in fifteen countries.
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“If I'd had a friend next to me, I would have squeezed her arm and said, Can you believe this? - but kitsch wasn't kitsch if you were alone.” 2 likes
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