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.
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.
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
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
Modern authors of this vein (i.e. Salinger) b...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
The movie, to me, is not as good as the book. I almost always think that t...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.(less)
This book, Ordinary People by Judith Guest, is easily a recommendable book. But I did not love it. It had its ups and downs, not like a great book should, but like a good book that caught my interest. The main characters might have been ordinary people, but so many extraordinary things happen to that family, which elevates the Jarrett family past the level of normal. It is with a skeptical air with which I view this book, both in the duration of the reading and af...more
Ordinary People by Judith Guest is a novel that provides a perspective of life that one would not normally consider. Despite the morbid mood that surrounds the characters, this story is quite interesting to read. I especially liked the way the author described the characters, and allowed some to grow while others remained the same throughout the story. Another thing I liked was the way that the author set up the novel; without telling the whole back story through and Introduction chapter, she al...more
Adolescence is a terrible, terrible time. Hormones, social pressure, and identity struggles make these years a nightmare for everyone—from the normal to the eccentric, no one escapes the drama and fear that is teenage life. Judith Guest’s Ordinary People captures this mix of emotions in the lives of the Jarrett family. At first, I thought that calling attempted suicide and lost brothers “ordinary” was a tad insensitive on Judith Guest’s part. However, as the novel progressed, I grew to understan...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's point...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
I normally shy away from reading 'classics', because I often seem to find that they don't live up to their hype. Maybe I just find the subject boring, or I don't like the way it's written, or they feel too dated. Whatever the reason, I only picked up this book because I saw the movie of it and thought it was amazing, so may as well try the paper version. I'm so glad I did.
Ordinary People isn't an easy book. People who like fast-paced, plot-driven stories should probably steer clear of this one;...more