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Other People We Married

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,108 Ratings  ·  167 Reviews
A rising literary star debuts with twelve wry, poignant stories of love, hope, and transformation. 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 harboring feelings for one of her freshman students. Two grown sisters struggle with old assumptions about each other a ...more
Playaway, w/earbuds
Published February 21st 2012 by Dreamscape Media/Playaway (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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Alaric Cabiling
Feb 08, 2016 Alaric Cabiling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jun 27, 2016 Gloria rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Maya Frank-Levine
Wonderful language. No word is wasted and every story is a gem.
May 23, 2016 Chrissie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 simil ...more
Mari Monte
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?
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
Aug 16, 2012 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Aug 26, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 04, 2014 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love Lorrie Moore, try Emma straub. This is a really satisfying collection of short stories, plunging into some of the territory Moore covers -- loss, betrayal, aging, jealousy. But they are still whimsical and slightly hopeful, in most cases.
Straub has a way of saying things you may have felt a hundred times before in a short, to the point, refreshing new way. I've had days where my hair felt more brown than usual. Or I've known someone who was a total wreck and loved every inch of them
Aug 20, 2012 Wesley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 13, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first experience reading Emma Straub was last summer when I read her novel, The Vacationers, which I enjoyed and found to be quite breezy and snappy. This collection of short stories is also breezy and snappy, so maybe that's just her jam.

I didn't much care for "Pearls" or "Hope Springs Eternal," but "Marjorie and the Birds" and "A Map of Modern Palm Springs" were just melancholy enough to balance the rest, which were fun. "Orient Point" might be the sharpest of the bunch-- it's so sparse an
Oct 13, 2015 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
This was a slow simmer for me. I had to get back in the groove of short stories to truly appreciate it, but when I was in it, I was in it. I loved how Straub highlighted love of many sorts and traced some of her characters through the ages and stages of their lives and loves.

Straub's writing is beautiful and sharp as a knife. She weaves you into the lives of her characters, allows you to see multiple dimensions, then quickly ends her vignettes leaving you wondering what will happen, while, at th
Aug 18, 2015 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Laura reached down beside her chair and put her shopping bag on her lap. The bag lived in a bag of its own, a soft cotton meant to protect it from the outside world, from anything that could hurt it. Laura's hands felt too large for her body, too masculine to own such an object. Surely she was doing something wrong. Stephen brought his fist to his mouth, as though he was about to chew on his knuckle.

There was enough crinkly tissue paper in the shopping bag to fill out the leather one, and Laura
Tess Malone
Jun 02, 2011 Tess Malone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked OPWM as my first "pleasure reading" book (whatever that means after a long and grueling junior year) of the summer. It turned out to be an apt choice. Straub's subtle characters felt like women I could run into at the grocery store, which made her ability to capture their quotidian goals and fears all the more impressive. She is an observant writer who can find humor in the everyday. "Reddish streaks appeared in her cleavage, as though her boobs themselves couldn't quite believe the att ...more
Allyson Batis
"Other People We Married" is a short story collection, one that revolves around the relationships it describes. Two of the stories I enjoyed quite a bit- "Abraham's Enchanted Forest", about a high school girl living a theme park of her dad's construction, and "Marjorie and the Birds", about a widow who takes up bird watching. Both of those two stories had more depth to them than the others, layers other than the distance between men and women (although that was present as well). The other storie ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: purchased
The central characters in Straub's first short story collection are almost all on the cusp of epiphanies that take them by surprise: they need to change, to leave or (more rarely) stay, and change in ways they didn't anticipate. Straub has a fine and economical eye for telling detail, a good ear for naturalistic dialogue, and an almost eerie grasp of late-stage relationship dynamics. My favorite story was probably "Abraham's Enchanted Forest," partly because it vividly reminded me of a run-down ...more
It's hard to write a review about a book of short stories. I liked some of them better than others. In all honesty, this was an accidental find. I was looking for books that had some mention of Amherst or Northampton, MA and this book came up in my search. Turned out only one of the stories mentioned those towns, and eh... it wasn't my favorite in the bunch. The title of the book intrigued me enough to get the book from Interlibrary Loan, but I'm not sure I would spend money on it in hindsight. ...more
Melissa Rochelle
After seeing lots of good things about Emma Straub's writing and hearing many discuss how excited they are for Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures this fall, I thought it was time to give Straub's stories a chance. (And I've discovered short stories make for excellent lunchtime reading.)

The great thing about short stories is that (doh) they're short and it's a great glimpse at someone's storytelling abilities. I found that I liked the earlier stories in the collection more than the later stories. Th
Kayla Cagan
Jan 12, 2013 Kayla Cagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like Emma Straub's writing, you will most likely enjoy these short sharp glimpses of love stories, romantic or not.

Emma Straub is such a calmly, unique storyteller. She's very straightforward, no tricks up her sleeve, but like a good tour guide, continually shows us around the world while pointing out the things we might over look, the little details that signal a relationship is starting, is succeeding, is failing, is over.

The biggest compliment I can give to Straub as a reader is that
Jun 29, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Amy by: WORD
If I could give 1/2 stars, I might give it a 4.5, since there are some places that feel like they could be more fully fleshed out. But that may partially be because I want to follow so many of the stories home and live with them for weeks (I'm looking so forward to being able to do this with her forthcoming novel). One or two stories tie up maybe a little too tightly for me, but it's a debut collection. If this were my first book, I'd walk around wearing a sandwich board of its cover, giving it ...more
Danielle Mohlman
Emma Straub is incredibly observant. She’s sharp and witty with a humanist perspective. And she parades as a manic pixie dreamgirl. Or is mistaken for one — a plight far too familiar. This collection of short stories borders on haunting. The prose teeters on poetry. And then Straub pulls out her knife and shaves off pieces of your heart. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve read something so poignant and relevant. And I cannot wait to read Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures.
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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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