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Picturing Will
Ann Beattie
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Picturing Will

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Picturing Will, the widely acclaimed new novel by Ann Beattie, unravels the complexities of a postmodern family. There's Will, a curious five-year-old who listens to the heartbeat of a plant through his toy stethoscope; Jody, his mother, a photographer poised on the threshold of celebrity; Mel, Jody's perfect -- perhaps too perfect -- lover; and Wayne, the rather who left ...more
Published (first published January 3rd 1990)
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My brother bought me this book, that takes place in Charlottesville, VA, soon after we moved here. What I learned is that the spring ants are inevitable!
Can't say that this wasn't Beattie's best because I haven't read any Beattie before. I think that the occasional choice to shift the narrative perspective every other sentence, e.g., jumping to what Havebud thought to what Will thought to what Mel thought, not only makes the novel meander, but mars Beattie's project of deep introspection into the relationships among mother, child, father, et al. Beattie never convinced me that Will, the eponymous child of the novel, could think what Beattie made ...more
Who are these people? What is the plot? Why am I reading this book?

I wondered all of those things while reading Picturing Will.
Ann Beattie’s writing style is very nice (which is why I'm giving it two stars instead of just one). While the reader doesn’t have to work too hard to get through her sentences and paragraphs, the writing is not fluff, the vocabulary not trite. This book is not a silly romance novel. However, nice writing was not enough to grab me and really make me care about this book
Había leído ‘Postales de invierno’ de Ann Beattie y (a pesar de algunos defectos; básicamente un final demasiado feliz y forzado, y nada acorde con el tono general de la novela) me había gustado lo suficiente como para precipitarme a comprar el siguiente libro de la autora tan pronto como me enteré de que había sido publicado. Lo que me pasa siempre: compro de forma compulsiva y luego puedo dejar años sin leer estos mismos libros adquiridos en un frenesí consumista. No ha sido hasta ahora que me ...more
started with some very fine writing and an excellent storyline - then about 2/3 of the way through, a nasty episode took place which was not only not resolved, but the impact of it wasn't described. It was a traumatic event that was simply dropped from the sky and skipped over to finish the storyline.
No me ha gustado. Admito que compré este libro por ser de Ann Beattie, ya que la lectura de 'Postales de invierno' me entusiasmó. Pero en 'Retratos de Will' no he encontrado los personajes frescos y "vivos" que sí encontré en Postales. Son más bien anodinos. Beattie se pasa toda la novela relatándonos escenas costumbristas de algunas parejas, dando mucha importancia al oficio de ser madre/padre. Y hay algunos pasajes que me asquearon bastante y de los cuáles no voy a hablar. La prosa de Beattie ...more
Boring, expectations hyped by extensive promotion and press,she has a good publicist
I really liked the first half of this book, when the story centered on Jody, Will and Mel at their life, but then it drifted from Virginia, to New York and then Florida. Along the way, we meet other, not as prominent persons in Will's life and follow the misfortunes of Will's father and his family. In the end, we find out Jody becomes an absentee mother, attached to career, letting Mel, her now husband, to become the primary care giver in Will's life, but the reader is not shown this, but told i ...more
Typically Ann Beattie, this book is a lyrical tale of a child from a very broken family, spending time with his beloved mother, distant father, and devoted step father. There is some disturbing sexual abuse early on that never is exposed, but otherwise we see how a potentially dysfunctional childhood is turned into a nurtured, loved and protected period, due mainly to his stepfather, whose reminiscences at the end tie the book together. I enjoyed it more and more, though it did take me a while t ...more
Perhaps Beattie's finest achievement - she works like a carpenter building characters from the nuts and bolts of every day existence.
Laura K
I agree with some of the other reviewers who say that the book was "moving". I was put off, however, by the pretentiousness of many of the characters and the "heaviness" of the prose in some parts.
Another great one by Ann Beattie. I sort of picked this up without thinking, from the library, so didn't pay as much attention to it as I should have, and was a little Beattied out, so, but I enjoyed this. Beattie's "insight into the human psyche" is pretty great. This was sort of like Falling in Place light, maybe. Lots of being-a-parent stuff that bordered on the too-much, but again it might be that I'm Beattied out.
Ann Beattie's writing is beautiful, but I was left lukewarm by the story of young Will and the people in his life. Perhaps because it was never clear to me exactly who the book was really about and whom I was supposed to care about, I ended up not really caring about anyone.
Episodic view of dysfunctional family mostly seen through the eyes of Will, a precocious 5 year old at the start. Well written enough to hold attention, but I found none of the characters compelling and some sexual content disturbing.
I found this book years after reading lots of positive reviews about it. Perhaps I was setting myself up for disappointment but even though I liked her writing style I wasn't super enthused about it. Overall a good book but not great.
Very lyrical and beautifully written although the story didn't totally come together for me. I was very interested in the book until about 1/2 way through then ended up not really caring what happened to the characters after that.
The first half of this book is better than the second half which had a concentration of all kinds of sex ... some good introspection at times - the writer did a decent job, but seemed to get off-track.
Eh. Chilly Scenes of Winter is one of my all-time favorite books. This just didn't quite come together for me. I thought the writing was beautiful, characters compelling, but the story went...nowhere.
Mrs. Cyberhobo Kuhn
Pretentious, self conscious, writer's writing. Imagery is too vague to hang on to, and nobody cares. Oh well Ann Beattie I thought I'd found a new favorite author. Maybe this one is an early work?
Ayelet Waldman
I read this book because I am writing a novel about a little boy named William, and freaked out when I saw this. It’s pretty good. I hope I don’t suffer horribly by comparison.
A different, stylized book where the key characters are all an important part of Will's life. A couple of soliloquies on childhood here are remarkably written.
I love the way this book is written. It is very artistic and I very much enjoy this writers point of view. I am happy with this book.
Disappointing. Follows young boy as his parents divorce and find new relationships. Mother driven, Father a "loser"
I hadn't read a book by Anne Beattie for many, many years. I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing.
Good writer, but what VILE characters -- almost all of them. And truly disturbing story.
was so not ready for the situation with Spencer. Guess I should have been.\
Jul 08, 2013 Susan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Colchester or Williston library book sale Summer 2013
A woman photographer and the man who wants to marry her.
Jun 22, 2007 Maranda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks who like her stories

great book, but more short-story oriented than novelistic
never finished it....lost interest
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Ann Beattie (born September 8, 1947) is an American short story writer and novelist. She has received an award for excellence from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a PEN/Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in the short story form. Her work has been compared to that of Alice Adams, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, and John Updike. She holds an undergraduate degree from Americ ...more
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