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Um Ano à Beira-Mar

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  5,375 Ratings  ·  576 Reviews
Now available in paperback, the entrancing story of how one woman's journey of self-discovery gave her the courage to persevere in re-creating her life.

Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the ne
Paperback, 220 pages
Published 2011 by Noites Brancas (first published 1999)
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This is a tough book to rate. I rarely review books, but I felt that I needed to get this one off my chest.

I gave it one less than 5 stars because I have an aversion to the cult of self. The premise of a woman leaving her husband to discover herself made me uneasy and skeptical. Self-discovery is important, self-worship is not. I feel that she often slipped from redemptive moments involving lessons about who she is and who she needs to be... to damning moments in which she embraced her errors an
Rebecca Foster
To coin a genre, I’d call this a Feminist-Midlife-Marriage-Nature Memoir. I recommend it to readers of May Sarton because of the solitude theme, which often has an almost spiritual aspect to it. There is a sense that the author is on a pilgrimage or retreat, and the natural setting is in some way the key to healing.

When her husband moved for work, Joan Anderson decided not to go with him but instead to retreat to their Cape Cod cottage for a year and work on figuring out what she really wanted f
May 03, 2009 Tamidel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Basically this book represents everything I hate about this genre: it's self-indulgent and, worse, self-pitying. Joan Anderson is fortunate enough to have the means to take an extended period of time "off" from her marriage and mid-life crisis to figure herself out, but the life lessons virtually slip past her as she wallows in the "shoulda-couldas" of her life until now. Her story in not at all unusual, nor, frankly, all that sad or interesting. And unlike Elizabeth Gilbert in EAT, PRAY, LOVE, ...more
Joan Anderson's husband came home to announce he'd received a wonderful job opportunity across country in Oregon and they were moving. Their two grown sons were married and living lives of their own, and nothing seemed to be tying the Andersons to their home.

Joan shocked her husband and herself when she told him she refused to go and was instead moving to the family cottage on Cape Cod. Thus began a year in her life, living hand to mouth, on the banks of the Cape.

The book was a little bit of "A
Aug 21, 2008 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who need to kill time.
Well...must say I am surprised that the average rating for this piece of drivel was near four stars. What a selfish bitch. Sorry. Can I even say that on Bookmooch???? Anyone who can desert a husband of twenty odd years to go off on a quest to find herself at their "cottage" on the cape...guess she really DID need a year to find out she really wanted to stay married to her husband. Saving grace? The quotes at the start of each chapter were often enlightening. If they weren't there, this would be ...more
Sally G.
Jul 23, 2012 Sally G. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three friends and I recently read this book as a Book Club selection: and to a person, we were captured by it.

This is not your typical Reflective Memoir Toward Personal Growth (is there even a 'typical' for this genre?). Two of us are more Self introspective, reflective, self-assessors -- and two of us are not. A book we'd all read together last year in a similar vein was deemed by two of us to be 'self-absorbed whining by women who aren't busy enough to find anything better to do'. We all walke
Mar 05, 2012 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much! Basically, I love any book about a middle aged strong woman who goes to the beach to find herself, like Anne Morrow Lindbergh and women in that vein.

Joan Anderson decides not to move cross country when her husband tells her he's gotten a new job. Instead she pauses and decides that if her marriage is going to be saved at any point in time she needs to be alone to find herself, so she heads to Cape Cod and lives with among the locals for a year. She has occasional mome
Oct 30, 2009 Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book by Joan Anderson, who wrote it while going through a difficult time in her relationship with her husband. She decided to move to their cottage by the sea to ponder. For a year. Hmm.... Honey, I need some time to ponder. I'll be back in a year. I don't know how many people do that, but still, she pondered, and she wrote a book. Her writing is beautiful.

I pull my knees to my chest, wrap my arms around my shins, and drink in the sweet, pungent aroma of driftwood as the sun, salt, an
Jan 26, 2010 Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
HATED, HATED, HATED IT. If you really like books about whiney women who believe that providing love, food, shelter, clothing, and anything else that costs money does NOT mean you are providing for the family, you may like this. I wonder what a book about a man who suddenly leave his wife to "find himself" would be rated? Somehow, I think women would condemn a man who leaves his wife of 20+ years, so I don't understand why so many cheer this woman on. She keeps claiming to be independent during h ...more
I wanted to like this book. Truly, I wanted to love it. I just couldn't. I don't necessarily have a problem with needing a trial separation from one's spouse. I can see why Anderson would've been angry when her husband came home one day and just said, 'I took a job out of state. We're moving.' For him to just presume something like that and demand she come with him was not ok in my book.

That said, Anderson's narration didn't feel honest. She didn't seem to acknowledge her part in the marital iss
May 17, 2009 Mollyj96 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm glad to hear that so many of the reviewers have never been in a position to find themselves or feel that any of part of themselves has been lost. I on the other hand can see how a woman who has taken care of a husband and children for 20 years might not feel so in tuned with who she really is. Therefore I commend this woman for having the balls to leave and be alone for a year and really see what that's like. I think it's easier to stay in a marriage you are not happy with and foreve ...more
Sep 05, 2013 Vivian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book over a period of about six months, picking it up and putting it down as the mood would strike. One thing I'm sure of is that this is not a story that will appeal to everyone, but for women of a certain age (you know who you are!) who have made sacrifices for their family (and who hasn't?) and now wonders who she is now...well, this narrative might touch something very deep inside. I could relate to Joan's story, with the fact that she didn't just want to blindly follow her husba ...more
Jun 25, 2011 Sara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh please.
Oct 25, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Anderson writes a beautiful memoir of a year in her life in which she struggles with her path and the changes she feels are necessary for her growth. Some people may view this book as a selfish and indulgent mid life crisis episode and others, including myself, may view it as a wonderful transformative experience to be envied and learned from. How you feel about this book is dependent on your view.
When her husband arrives home one day excited over the news that he has taken a new job in ano
May 20, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, memoir
Lovely, poetic musings by a 50 year old who leaves her husband to find herself.

In two hours her husband, two sons and daughter's in law are arriving for Memorial Day weekend:

"Oh God, let me enjoy the pleasure of being graceful! As I gaze about the patio at the flowering perennials that endure year after year, I do myself a favor and recognize that I am no more or less than the perennial that provides the bulk of the lush backdrop for her family and those around her. It has taken years of growin
Jan 21, 2009 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERY WOMAN!!!
This book deserves 6 stars or more!!!!
This book was simply amazing and changed the way I look at my own life. This book caught my interest in the 1st page. Joan is married and has 2 boys, grown up and married with lives of their own. When her husband's new job calls to relocate, she surprises him as well as herself, and goes to New Haven, to their summer home. To think things out and find herself, taking a break from her marriage that has fallen to the wayside. Not following her husband, she at
Oct 15, 2007 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Reminded me of A Gift Frome the Sea in some ways. I really enjoyed this and especially loved the way she brought meaning into the every day things that we sometimes pass over too quickly. In some reviews I've read here some people didn't like the decision she mad at the end. I was good with that. It's ok to grow and still have your original essense be the core of attraction. In fact that is probably the best possible outcome. What I would have liked tho was for it to continue a little farther on ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few times in my life, I have read exactly the right book at exactly the right moment. This summer was that moment for this book. A writer, who is around 50 years old, takes a year off from her normal life to rediscover herself and to find her new calling. Some of my favorite moments are when she swims with the seals, when she walks in the fog, and when she figures out how to finance urgently needed roof repairs. Joan Anderson asks, "Doesn't change occur only when we stop living the expected li ...more
Jan 07, 2017 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent nonfiction about unlayering oneself. Great recordings of Joan's personal discoveries about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with the world and society in general. Great writing---was mesmerized throughout the whole book. (Wrote this in my own book journal back in 2002! Decluttering so dumping my old book reviews onto here).
Victoria Anderson
My dissatisfaction with this book springs both from the writing itself and from the content. Ms. Anderson also writes children's books, which is perhaps why she takes the phrase "blurted out" seriously. I cannot. Her writing isn't unreadable, but it has a savor of the juvenile. Her verb choice is often overblown for drama's sake, and her metaphors are cliché. (For instance, from the third page: "[I] thought I'd fix his melancholia somehow, lifting him above the darkness he had grown so used to c ...more
Jun 14, 2010 Jinny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, women
I enjoyed this surprisingly forthright account of a middle-aged woman's self-discovery and renewal. My life as a 47-year-old has been different than the author's (who is older than I) -- I'm not a parent, and have never filled the kind of role she did with her husband in the earlier part of their union. Still, it's easy to identify with the need for silence, introspection, reflection, and a break from the routine of decades. And if only it were possible, financially, for more women to take a "sa ...more
Sarah Sammis
Women who hit their midlife crisis point seem to go to the ocean to write a memoir. Sometimes it works, like Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea and sometimes it misfires like A Year by the Sea. Throughout the book I could not relate to most of Anderson's life-changing insights. She writes of wanting to be "completed" by her husband and sons and not understanding how one can "laugh at one's self." While I adore my husband and children, I do not judge myself by them nor do I feel "incomplete" without t ...more
Dec 06, 2014 Elvan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A memoir of a year of self discovery by a woman who did everything for her family and nothing to enrich her spirit. When her husband takes a job in Oregon assuming she would follow she takes her mid life crisis self and says hell no, I won't go. Instead she heads to their cottage on the Cape and spends a year communing with seal colonies and the local fisherman. She gets a couple of jobs working in a fish market and digging for clams to pay her bills and discover herself.

There is nothing profo
Mar 17, 2009 Lainey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found myself both envying and identifying with this self-proclaimed "unfinished" woman; to be able to jaunt off and hide out in complete seclusion while she sorted out her life's events appeals greatly to me, as does her unexpected self-discovery of personal strength and fortitude as she pursues a harsh line of work with determination. That there was no fairytale ending, I felt satisfaction in her realization that she was an accomplished, self-sufficient, deserving person who would be just fin ...more
Nov 28, 2008 Edith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This woman wanted a break from her life and her marriage and took the luxury of living by herself by the sea for a year. Not an option for most women who are also tired of their day-to-day duties but do not feel free to discard their responsibilities. She decided to stay married after the year was up and got back together with her husband but it was on new terms. I think I read somewhere that she gives seminars for women who are "rethinking" their lives and marriages.
Jan 24, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I was able to relate to this author in that I feel that most of what I am is my family, my marriage and what I "should be".

Although I wouldn't go quite so far to find myself as she did, it is also nice to know that I'm not alone in my thoughts about wanting to be myself. By using her example maybe I won't always do what others want me to do and forget about what I want, but be myself, say and do what I like too and make myself happy.

Overall a good, quick read.
Jul 31, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for every woman at some time in her life. It is gentle yet powerful, full of simple truths and life-changing moments. I will recommend it to every middle aged woman I know and encourage my daughters to read it in 30 years or so. I would love to do what she did. It's a terrifying thought, but at the same time, a tantalizing one. Life, and we, are ever-changing if we are truly living.
Jan 05, 2010 Gloria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A combination of Henry Beston's "Outermost House" and Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift From the Sea." No wonder I liked it.

It would be folly to sum it up in a sentence or two, but as simply as I can, it's about solitude and rediscovering one's self at the core in order to continue being able serve and love others.
When she talks about the Greek root of the word "alone" meaning "all one," I completely understood.
Aug 13, 2016 Regina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew I had to read this after someone very close to me told me this was her favorite book. I can definitely see why, and I'd say it's a must-read for women of a certain age. There are many great insights, and several passages I felt compelled to underline (if I did that).
Lee Roversi
Aug 01, 2014 Lee Roversi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it has been a long time since i have read a book that prompted me to underline so many passages. this is a gem of a book, not unlike anne morrow lindbergh's "gift from the sea." it is thought provoking and reaffirming, at the same time.
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Ever since I can remember I have been curious—asking questions, trying to figure out life’s meaning—all in an effort to live fully and get it right. My career began as a stringer reporter for the Gannett newspaper chain. As I practiced the craft of writing, I moved on to photo essays books for children, then the breakthrough book, Breaking the TV Habit, and finally into the genre of memoir. The la ...more
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“When will I ever learn to accept what is given instead of always yearning for more? My lavish expectations too often tarnish my blessings.” 13 likes
“Woman must come of age by herself. She must find her true center alone. —Anne Morrow Lindbergh,” 2 likes
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