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What It Used to Be Like: A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver
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What It Used to Be Like: A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Maryann Burk Carver met Raymond Carver in 1955, when she was fifteen years old and he was seventeen. In What It Used to Be Like, she recounts a tale of love at first sight in which two teenagers got to know each other by sharing a two-year long-distance correspondence that soon after found them married and with two small children.

Over the next twenty-five years, as Carver'
ebook, 368 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2006)
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M. Sarki
Oh boy. Pretty bad and poorly written. Felt I was back in grade school. Even the bits about Lish (which is why I was looking at this in the first place) were somewhat lame. I actually hoped she would shed some light on how it was, what it used to be like being married to Raymond Carver. At least the title claimed she would.
Nov 04, 2014 Taylor rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, drinkers, ray carver fans, ray carver haters, women who find themselves prone to sacrifice.
This is an absolutely fascinating look into Raymond Carver's life, as well as a fascinating portrait about how people convince themselves to stay in relationships that don't really work.

Raymond Carver and Maryann Burk met when they were about 16 and 19. They kept a relationship, a large part of it long distance, then got married when she was just out of high school (or, rather, a college prep. school).

She got pregnant very quickly and then got pregnant again quickly after her first child. It's c
It's clear that Maryann Carver is not as prolific a writer as her husband. However, this does not discount her story. What begins as a trite, and almost nostalgic retelling of young love becomes warped into a simply-stated battle between the conventions of the 70s (and 80s) and her happiness. It's a touching book, and definitely one to read if you're a Carver fan, she makes a lot of remarks about the similarities of Carver's writing in relation to their life. But I have to say I was disappointed ...more
While not a great book, this is an interesting addition for Carver fans to read. Written by his first wife, Maryann, What It Used To Be Like provides some insights into their life together from the time they were teens to their breakup in the late '70s--being young parents, moving from Washington to California, pursuing education, and pre-fame days for Ray.

Maryann Carver is not a flawless writer. At times amazingly clunky sentences are at odds with honest realizations about life in general, and
Mar 25, 2012 Cynthia rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
So so SO poorly written. How is it that someone so close to Carver can express such an intense relationship so flatly? We get a sense of the author's emotional dependence on Ray and her undying commitment to keeping their marriage together, despite his bashing her face into the ground, his running off with other women and his poor treatment of their children. He's a abuser and she still loves him. It's utterly disgusting, but not even that interesting. We never get a glimpse into his thoughts, b ...more
Maryann married Raymond Carver in 1957 when she was just seventeen and Raymond was nineteen. This book is the story of their two-and-a-half decade marriage and lifelong friendship that continued to Raymond Carver’s death in 1988.

The couple suffered from constant money problems, which resulted in a drifter-like lifestyle, moving from place to place and job to job. Maryann doesn’t shy away from informing her readers about the difficult times, including alcoholism, philandering, and emotional and p
Late Fragment
"And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth".
-Raymond Carver
This book, written by the ex-wife of the late, part-time poet, and full-time, short story writer, Raymond Carver, paints a compelling portrait, not only of the artist rising from abject poverty, but also of the woman, no slouch of an artist herself, as this revealing volume displays, who essentially let's him climb up on
i once had an affair with a writer who was obsessed with raymond carver. i was happy to be introduced to carver's work, but i wasn't so obsessed. i did wonder how he made his stories so perfect.
this memoir is written by carver's first wife. they married young. she makes it clear that her job as his wife was to support him as he became a writer. this totally sucked for her. they moved across the country numerous times, she put off her education, had kids and then he cheated on her.
then he started
I gave this book four stars, not because of the writing, but because of the content. The author uses a conversational tone, inserting asides such as "Oh, God"; "Perfect..."; "Life went on"; "Eureka, here we come!" I found that aspect of the book off-putting.

Maryann Burk Carver married poet and short story writer Raymond Carver when she was sixteen and pregnant and he was nineteen. The couple had two children in quick succession. I thought I'd moved a lot, but these two moved constantly up and do
Emily Keith
I read this book on impulse after spying a copy in my local library. I've never read a more treacherous, disturbing, and malignantly narcissistic work. This book deserves recognition as a primer for the hollow shame and deep wounds inflicted by the false entitlement and squeaky frivolity of American Alcoholics.
Annie Garvey
I remember thinking as I read this book that Raymond Carver was a jerk, whether drunk or sober. I also remember thinking that Maryann's decision-skills weren't so great. A youth . . .
Dec 21, 2007 Catherine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carver readers
This was a very disappointing book. It was hard to believe Maryann actually wrote it, since I knew her to be a highly skilled and articulate writer. It may have been edited to the point it now is published, hacked to disconnected bits, with very little depth to the surface tale it tells. But she should not have allowed this bare and superficial book to be printed in her name. There are better bios out there, and Maryann's ought to have been the best, for all that was experienced and shared in hi ...more
Chuck Young
felt safe? was expecting something honest and gritty and unflinching. instead got something nicholas sparks-ish?
Michelle Taylor
Sadly, I read this book due to my devoted love to Raymond Carver and my curiosity about his life before he officially became the Raymond Carver we now read.
Michael Morris
Some interesting material. Some poorly written passages. Overall a worthy book for anyone interested in Raymond Carver.

Full review at Monk Notes.
I'd like to have a 1/2 star option. 3 1/2 stars would be about right.
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