The Jarrets are a typical American family. Calvin is a determined, successful provider and Beth an organized, efficient wife. They had two sons, Conrad and Buck, but now they have one. In this memorable, moving novel, Judith Guest takes the reader into their lives to share their misunderstandings, pain...and ultimate healing.
As a fan of the 1980 movie, I could hear the voices of the actors as I read the dialogue: Mary Tyler Moore's controlled high-pitche ...more
It is a real, unflinchingly honest look at life and all of the horrible things that happen. It is also a reminder of the reasons that life is still worth living in spite of those horrible things.
“Life is not a series of pathetic, meaningles actions. Some of them are so far from pathetic, so far from meaningless as to be beyond reason, maybe beyond forgiveness.”
This is a wonderful book about loss,family,forgiveness,depression and life.Judith Guest's writing style was very surprising to me at the beginning because she narrates in present tense(very risky!).But the more you read the more you get attached to Cal and Conrad and the more you want them to make everything work and be happy.I ...more
This is the first book I've read on the subject of depression that isn't written as a memoir, from a clinical stand point, or with the intention of "self-help". With that said, Ordinary People was the most concise version of depression I've ever seen. Judith Guest has to have had first-hand experience with depression or else she needs to get out of my head. There is so much comfort in seeing your own inexplicable emotions laid out before you page after p ...more
The movie, to me, is not as good as the book. I almost always think that t ...more
UPDATE: I reread this novel, after not having read it since I was a teenager. It holds up well over time. But I noticed that the novel is told entirely from the viewpoints of Conrad and Calvin (his father). We never fully ...more
Modern authors of this vein (i.e. Salinger) b ...more
...it is love, perfect and unordered, that keeps them apart, even as it holds them somehow together.
The theme of personal isolation within small families is one of my greatest weaknesses. How can they live their lives together, but still be so lonely?
Well, what do you expect? We are a family, aren't we? And a family turns inward toward itself in grief, it does not go in separate directions, pulling itself apart. Like hell it doesn't. Grief is ugly. It is isolating. It is not something to be s...more
Was nobody else bothered by the parents in this book? Cal is perfect, the great orphan who pulled himself up from the muck to achieve greatness. He still has depth, ...more
A lot of people are depressed by this book. I am not one of them and every time I re-read it (so far about six times!) it uplifts me and reminds me that nothing is ever quite so bad as I think it may be. This book is about the Jarret family, Mom and Dad with their two sons. When we meet them they only have one son left, Conrad, the younger son who has recently been released from a sanitarium after attempting suicide. The book is mostly from Conrad ...more
No-one grieves the same. No-one is to blame. But the family fractures for all that.
There is something very raw how this premise is developed, and th ...more
I honestly couldn't stand Beth. I just couldn't understand how a mother could be so unfeeling toward her own child. or how she could continue to blame ...more
To all appearances this is a privileged, working family unit, but in reality it is at breaking point, with all members feeling the loss of Buck has unbalanced them and upset their place ...more