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The Obituary Writer

2.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  234 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Gordie Hatch is twenty-two, charmingly naive, and certain that his first job as a writer for the ST LOUIS INDEPENDENT'S obituary page will be a stepping stone to a crackerjack career in journalism. The year is 1989, and Gordie watches helplessly while dramatic events -- the very events that could be his lucky break -- unfold in the world around him. But nothing can prepare ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 7th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 364)
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Chris Gager
Sep 23, 2015 Chris Gager rated it liked it
I was checking this out this morning and I think I'll read it next.

I read past the halfway point last night and I can say with assurance that this will be no more than a 3* book. That's rounded up from 2.75* - a bunch of G'reads reviewers gave it a lower rating than that but it's better than a 2* up to this point. The main problem is that the author's skills are no more than serviceable. The plot stuff is OK so far but the writing is kind of flat and boring. One problem: the "hero" is not very h
May 29, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
The book started off interesting enough and I was enjoying it. About 3/4 of the way through, it was like the author had gotten sick of writing it and just wanted to tie up loose ends. The plot was thin, the characters were annoying at best and the ending wasn't satisfying at all. As someone else had put it, I want my time back! Don't bother reading this book.
Kelley A.
Feb 14, 2008 Kelley A. rated it did not like it
I want my time back. This book sucked.
May 20, 2011 Pam rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
Jul 15, 2011 Derek rated it liked it
A sprightly thriller that wastes no time in getting the reader to the core mystery, Porter Shreve's The Obituary Writer is a first-person narrated novel about an up-and-coming journalist (relegated now to writing the obituaries) who becomes entangled in an ill advised affair with a recent widow. The plot twists and turns in quite a few surprising convulsions, and more importantly, aims to be a little more than a simple genre exercise, wisely bringing in the political issues that color its late 1 ...more
Mar 05, 2016 Eugene rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
Oh, lord. Looked interesting on the bookstore shelf; when I got home and began reading, it turned out to be everything I dislike about "literature." Self obsessed characters who bear no resemblance to anyone I've ever met; the protagonist is a parody of a person, the story veers ever more toward the unbelievable. Give me a good read any day, a mystery, an adventure, hell even a bodice ripper, I'd enjoy it more than this stuff...
Jan 04, 2015 Milissa rated it it was ok
The back of the book says "...affectionate humor..." There was nothing funny in this book. I thought there was a lot of sadness and immaturity, but no humor.

The story was ok, the writing was ok, there were a couple plot twists at the end that were pretty good, but it just didn't work as cohesively as it should have. It was like I started reading 1book, but by the time I finished, it was a completely different story.
Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
I hate to give a book this well-written only 2 stars, but it was tedious reading. In a way, it was the opposite of a Jodi Picoult novel (to which I am addicted despite myself). Apart from the already-mentioned fine writing, the book started off on a low note, never got as high as middle C until the very fine ending, not just an ending, but after that big surprise, another one! Picoult, I find, starts on a high note, never drops beneath that middle C and runs out of steam just before she writes a ...more
Courtney Koyle
Mar 16, 2015 Courtney Koyle rated it really liked it
I thought this book was great, and didn't want to set it down. It was written in a sparse, almost journalistic style, and I loved the message it conveyed without any extra flourish. The ending was very compelling, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since I finished reading it.
Oriyah Nitkin
This book is the equivalent of your average movie...interesting to read, an entertaining way to pass a few hours, but nothing your life would be incomplete without. No amazing writing style, no major life lessons...just...junk food filler. (and not your junk-of-choice either.)

There were also no particularly likeable characters in this book. No one I could, in good conscience care about and root for.

If you don't like anything that even smacks of spoiler-ness, quit reading here, but I found the en
Jan 09, 2012 Rachel rated it it was ok
This story was okay, but not great. The character development for the male lead worked, but was slow to take off. The character development for the love interest was confusing and lacked clear motivation. The twists were interesting, but it wasn't until the twist that I realized the main point of the book. There were many times along the way that I thought I was noticing something interesting, but those turned out to be accidents or red herrings. The back of the book makes you think it is a stor ...more
Robbe Sipe
Aug 07, 2015 Robbe Sipe rated it it was ok
Tea cozy mystery. I was hoping for more
Jan 28, 2016 Ike rated it liked it
One word = inexperienced
Dec 29, 2008 Trish rated it did not like it
This book just isn't quite right. I think the problem is, it begins as one type of story, and then veers into melodrama; the proper foundation hasn't been established, so the whole thing crumbles. I think too many disparate elements are swirling in the novel without being brought to any satisfactory resolution (or even a thorough exploration). Is the book about Gordie's vague dreams and unfocused aspirations? Is it about his excessive jealousy? Or is it suddenly, inexplicably, about psychosis an ...more
Sep 27, 2014 Betsy rated it it was ok
The blurb from Tim O'Brien on the cover calls this "taut, compelling, and moving.. Beautifully written, engrossing from start to finish". Well, no. The writing is very competent, but it is also bland, and the hero Gordon is singularly unlikeable. The few plot twists that are meant to be surprises were sadly predictable, but at least Gordie appears to be served up a measure of redemption at the end.
Jan 05, 2009 Marguerite rated it liked it
A good yarn from the newsroom, though it might give obituary writers a bum rap. A couple of details (Packed weekend news meetings?--Please! And, no reporter would allow beat "poaching" to go unchallenged.) rang false to this longtime journalista, but they didn't detract from the overall reading experience. A quick read. I did see a couple of major details of the plot coming.
Dec 24, 2015 Yaaresse marked it as abandoned-dnf  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if this is intended to be a serious mystery or a spoof of black widow mysteries, but nothing about it is holding my attention. Right now it just feels like a shallow, hot mess.

Life is too short, and there are too many things on my to-read list.
Sep 02, 2009 Jeanne rated it it was ok
A mildly amusing, first person narrative story of a very young aspiring newspaper man who has been raised on falsehoods. He then falls for the falsehoods given to him by a seductive older widow who contacts the obituary writer after her husbands death.
Sara Smith
Several chapters in this book start off like they are from completely separate books so it didn't feel as pulled together as it could have been. The underlying story pulls you in towards the end to see what will happen to the web of lies.
Oct 03, 2009 Doris rated it it was ok
A slow starter, but it keeps your attention. Good writing with well drawn characters and a surprise ending. The author is the husband of the author of Eating Buddha's Dinner. He is the better writer.
Apr 12, 2009 Erin rated it it was ok
While the plot line had some surprises and the writing wasn't bad, I thought the book overall lacked anything fantastic. With so many other great books out there, I'm not likely to recommend this one...
Oct 10, 2013 Pat rated it liked it
When I ordered this on Amazon, I meant to order the same title but by Ann Hood. But this turned out to be a good story, not great. Surprise ending, though, was pretty good.
Michelle Davidson
Aug 14, 2008 Michelle Davidson rated it liked it
Clever, though there are some contrivances. I do believe this is Shreve's first effort, so leverage is bestowed there.
Aug 02, 2011 Alisha rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Porter Shreve is the current head of the Creative Writing program at Purdue. And his writing is great.
Jun 19, 2012 James rated it did not like it
I so wanted to like this book. I read the first 8 chapters but then bailed. I just couldn't get into it.
Oct 17, 2008 Karen rated it really liked it
Nice writing, good for a first book but the plot was a little strange. I will read another by this author.
Anne Semple
Feb 27, 2013 Anne Semple rated it it was ok
I loved the St. Louis and kirkwood connection but not a great read.
Nov 06, 2009 Linda rated it liked it
this is a very strange book. Easy read but strange
Oct 14, 2010 Siobhan rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult_fiction
I was bored by this book, so finally gave up on it.
Aug 10, 2008 Fredsky rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
This book did not continue to engage me.
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Porter Shreve grew up in Washington, DC, and has lived in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, England, Israel, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, and California. For several years in his twenties he worked on the night city desk at the Washington Post, and to psyche himself up for the long haul of writing books, he rode a bike from Washington S ...more
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