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The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart
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The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,072 ratings  ·  85 reviews
"These are the stories that came to me to be told after the close of a magical marriage to an extraordinary man that ended in a less-than-magical divorce. I found myself unmoored, unmated, ungrounded in a way that challenged everything I'd ever thought about human relationships. Situated squarely in that terrifying paradise called freedom, precipitously out on so many emot ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published October 3rd 2000)
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I loved the Colour Purple so was a little disappointed to read this collection of short stories. There is no doubt that Alice Walker is a spiritual and poetic writer but the rawness of her stories was too uncomfortable for me. I enjoyed the beginning of the book – a memoir of the relationship with her first husband, but the rest of the stories, the ‘fiction’ were too transparently taken from her experiences and I found it all too repetitive and wacky.
Abby Rosmarin
There's no doubt that Alice Walker writes beautifully. And I loved some of these short stories. However, there were some that just completely lost my interest. I know there's truth in the fiction, but I can only read about a woman who is with a cheating man and also is in love with another woman so many times.
Although Alice Walker is a well-admired author, I read only about 60 pages of this book before I gave up. A collection of autobiographical and semi-autobiographical stories, this book was just too bitter and sad for me to want to continue. I don't doubt her ability as an author, it is just that this book isn't for me.
This was a very hard book to read. The first 100 pages just broke your heart and left you wondering if you had it in you to read the next 100 pages. The last 100 healed the wounds and left new ones. As expected, a beautifully written book.
I am still pondering what to put in this review...

For those unfamiliar with her work (my friends and I are sci-fi/fantasy geeks, just before anyone starts in with "How can you not know..."), Alice Walker writes beautifully. She is lyrical, and real, and emotional. This collection of stories is very personal (by the author's own admission), and it shows.

Some may complain that the material here is too repetitive. To me, the repetition was necessary and symbolic: we all have patterns and cycles tha
Erin Sunderland
"...the Universe is not that interested in punishing us. Every move we make is simply part of its reflection. " So this is one of those books. The kind that you immediately want to reread as soon as you are done. And it's a really fast, succulent read. I'm sure everyone says this about Alice Walker but it's as if she can see into my head, my heart and my soul. In general, I have a promiscuous relationship with books and I devour them, moving quickly from one to the next but I want to have a mo ...more
Claire Melanie
Beautifully written stories with so much to say about race, gender and sexuality in America. Glorious, tragic and deeply moving.
Seven sensitively written short stories that made me say, "Yes. This is great writing."
this always happens to me with alice walker books (since Temple of My Familiar): i start off all into it and excited and then just fade away. i start to feel less than because i'm not all spiritually removed and shit, because i'm attached to people and don't want to change all the time, because i'm "of this world." all her books seem to be about her and her life and so i don't really feel connected since i'll never have a life like hers
Sorry to say, I didn't like this one. I really wanted to like it and was looking forward to being immersed in Alice Walker's world, but something about these characters just didn't grab me. For all their emotional turmoil and soul searching, they struck me as self-centered and sterile. I couldn't finish it and that's rare. :(
Linda Joy
I read this book during a time when I was questioning whether or not I mattered in the lives of some of the people I know. I could easily put some of my story beside this story, which in a way was both healing and validating.
My first Alice Walker book. I will definitely be reading more. Blunt and flowery, somehow at the same time. A mind I would like to know more of!
(FROM JACKET)"These are the stories that came to me to be told after the close of a magical marriage to an extraordinary man that ended in a less-than-magical divorce. I found myself unmoored, unmated, ungrounded in a way that challenged everything I'd ever thought about human relationships. Situated squarely in that terrifying paradise called freedom, precipitously out on so many emotional limbs, it was as if I had been born; and in fact I was being reborn as the woman I was to become."

So says
The title of this book interested me. This is a collection of stories based in part on Walker's early marriage to a white man (a Jewish civil rights attorney). Living happily in the racially volatile and violent Deep South state of Mississippi, a place and time in which their union was not only unconventional but illegal. Then she goes on to say (on the inside flap of the book) "These are the stories that came to me to be told after the close of a magical marriage to an extraordinary man that en ...more
This is a weird book. It starts out with a (mostly true) biographical story of Walker's early marriage to a white civil rights lawyer. It ends with another "letter" to him. In between are a number of short stories about family, relationships, love, and the search for identity. Those are the unifying themes. Walker does make significant points about love and marriage, sexual identity, race, feminism, religion, and so on. But the stories are unsatisfying. They are fragments, unfinished thoughts. T ...more
Wendy Lu
ohhh, that was lovely. that was beautiful. i'm halfway through my first soupy midterm month, and tonight was nice. this is such an unselfconsciously brazen book. and very homey, very comforting. easy to read and to love and to feel good and safe in, you know?

i want a copy.
Lonn Myronuk
The title intrigued me, and the opening piece in this collection was enough to hook me in for the rest of the book. The narrative arc that joins the stories peters out and left me with a sense of incompleteness at tend of the book. Perhaps this is by design, as the author conveys something of her life in this volume that has discovery and incompleteness as central themes.

Considering how far outside my usual reading tastes this book is, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how accessible
Susanna Holmstrom
This was gorgeous. After reading, I felt nourished, reassured, and committed to this life.
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Walker writes with full honesty and not a single ounce of shame. Her thoughts on love and relationships were refreshing and liberating.
Janet Ollman
I loved Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and was anxious to read her work again. In this book, there are different characters and story lines, woven together into one story of how love and relationships evolve and change. My favorite characters were Big Sister, Little Sister. My favorite line: “Do you ever wonder, old lover of mine, where so much loves comes from? I wonder this often, because no matter how distressing the world is, wherever I am, there never seems to be a shortage of love. Is thi ...more
Meredith Gray
It's been too long to remember...
thought provoking..
Walker's writing is lovely and filled with insight but this collection has an unfinished quality and moments when I felt pushed away.
Walker does not shy away from the complex subject of love and relationships in her collection of stories, related or otherwise, that reveal some startling situations in all their gory and unappealing, yet very real, detail. The difficult subjects of falling out of love, overcoming extramarrital affairs, parental expectations for their children's relationships, amorphous sexualities, prejudices and racism, and more are brought up. This is definitely not a read for the idealistic or the optimistic ...more
Although I tend to avoid short stories, when Alice Walker puts pen to paper I make an exception. Her writing is so emotional, relationship-centered, direct, and philosophical. She never disappoints.
Dec 21, 2011 Danna marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Purchased at the Texas Book Festival, this book of short fiction is a return to my early fiction reading roots, my early childhood days of literary curiosity and passion, when I borrowed mom and big sister's books. I remember enjoying Alice Walker's short stories and poetry more than her equally thoughtful "womanist" novels, and expect to experience the same fascination with the lives of tragic and triumphant women, but with a more mature and developed philosophical p.o.v.
13 affectionate stories where she reflects on her first marriage and subsequent awakenings over the course of a lifetime of relationships. There are quite a few voices in here, mostly fictional and quite a few tether on self-indulgence, so the focus is always shifting. Most moving: To My Young Husband.
This is a humorous, strong, moving collection whose theme is: we are all obliged to love and be loved, no matter how blind, inexpert or troublesome we may be.
Zen Cho
Quick, enjoyable read. Walker is radical in a way that feels very American. The stories felt like they were all stories about the same people and same events, even when they had characters with different names. Portrayal of bisexuality/lesbianism felt old-fashioned -- I was going to say "oddly" old-fashioned but considering Walker talks about a character's kid growing up in the atmosphere of the Cold War, it's not really odd.
I think I read this book at exactly the right time (maybe when I had a broken heart). This book of short stories about relationships, about Alice Walker's relationship with her daughter's father, about working with him during the Civil Rights Movement, about other beautiful relationships that work, that hold beauty, love and adventure but still can fail shows how relationships can be meaningful and not last.
An interesting read and a gentle view into a bi-racial world, with plenty of variations in the LGBT mold. Simply expressed stories trying to bridge the past with a present that really doesn't seem much different.
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Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States’ preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, an ...more
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“You are all talking a bit too much, said Armando, who had cautioned them from the beginning to stay out of popular culture and in their own interior worlds.

When you are caught up in the world that you did not design as support for your life and the life of earth and people, it is like being caught in someone else's dream or nightmare. Many people exist in their lives in this way. I say exist because it is not really living. It is akin to being suspended in a dream one is having at night, a dream over which one has no control. You are going here and there, seeing this and that person; you do not know or care about them usually, they are just there, on your interior screen. Humankind will not survive if we continue in this way, most of us living lives in which our own life is not the center.”
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