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Breakable You

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  388 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Adam Weller is a moderately successful novelist, past his prime, but squiring around a much younger woman and still longing for greater fame and glory. His former wife, Eleanor, is unhappily playing the role of theoverweight, discarded woman. Their daughter Maud has just begun a frankly sexual affair that unexpectedly becomes life-changing. Into each of these lives the pas ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 788)
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Yulia
When I finished this book, I said, "Damn, this guy can write a novel!" Awful title, yes, but it's easy to get over once you start reading the book.

Though this novel contains many of the same features as Morton's previous work, Starting Out in the Evening, what distinguishes it is that the identity and voice of each of the characters (a past-middle-age writer and his estranged family) are distinct from those in the previous book, making the world of this novel a completely different one from the
...more
Libby
Aug 26, 2013 Libby rated it it was amazing
Brian Morton is my new favorite author. Viewing the lovely film made from another of his books, Starting Out in the Evening made me want to read his work, and Breakable You doesn't disappoint. His characters--Adam Weller, a narcissistic novelist in his 60s; his paramour Thea (who works for Charlie Rose and is much younger than Adam); his ex-wife Eleanor, a psychologist; his daughter, Maud, a philosophy PhD candidate, and her lover, Samir, all are fully fleshed out people who the reader is inter ...more
Carol
Jun 08, 2010 Carol rated it it was ok
I read this book a couple of years ago. I remember I thought it was ok. There was nothing outstanding about it. Just re read it for a group read. Now I remember why I thought it was meh. It is too soap operaish.Filled with over the edge emotions . I thought the characters were unbelievable at most and childishly developed at best. These people were suppose to be intelligent and viable characters, that I was suppose to believe.

I think Ellie was a joke , this woman was a therapist,with no grasp o
...more
Michael
Mar 11, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Adam Weller is a middle age novelist who longs for his younger days and glory flame from his published books. He has been separated from his wife Eleneor for awhile, a decision that he thinks works best for them. However Eleanor regrets that she ended things for him, hoping that they settle their differences but to no avail. She considers herself overweight, unattractive and her features are not attractive to the people that look upon her. While she is aware that her marriage has ended, she gets ...more
Allisun
Mar 31, 2008 Allisun rated it it was ok
This book was well reviewed and I was looking forward to it. I was mostly disappointed. Despite the fact that a lot of the content is interesting to me (existential angst, psychotherapy, writing, love) it just somehow failed to come together. I felt the characters were all a bit too extreme in each of their own ways, and as if they were being forced upon me. I didn't really care about the characters--even though I thought they were fairly well developed. It seems that Morton is grappling with so ...more
Nicole
Jul 31, 2013 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Ok. It's official. I love this author. This was the saddest book of the three I have read by him. (I think there might only be one more.) I knew what was going to happen, or thought I did, and kept reading at break-neck speed to find out if things could really get as bad as I thought they might. Each of the three books centers on a handful of characters and how their lives do and do not intertwine, but the books are all so different. They have the same humor, beauty and psychological complexity ...more
Janet Leszl
Jun 07, 2010 Janet Leszl rated it did not like it
Depressing book interspersed with occasional nuggets of wisdom.

(spoilers)

The author presents each character as flawed. Plot splitters into many directions. At first I thought book was to be mostly about Eleanor, then Adam. Instead majority focused on Samir & Maud-two people I initially cared little for and tried to skim through thru depressing and uninteresting sex based relationship. Death and mental breakdown follow.

Predictably Adam presents novel of his dead friend and rival as his own. I
...more
Randy
Dec 23, 2009 Randy rated it it was amazing
All of Morton’s novels reveal the writer in his/her quirks, foibles, and often-unattractive hunger—though never callously. It’s hard for me to pick just one of this author’s books, but I found it most memorable for the story of just how far a writer might go to gain glory, and what it life might be as the wife, daughter, or friend of such a writer.

Read all of his books.
Kathleen
Apr 11, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it
The Weller family feels like the original dysfunctional family. In his 60's, Adam has a sweet young squeeze. His ex-wife Eleanor is considering spending more time with a former beau (much to her surprise since she has gained so much weight) Actually, all eyes are on Maud, the fragile youngest daughter as she works on her dissertation and discovers a relationship with an Arab. (The Weller family is Jewish) Most interesting in this book is how everyone is connected to someone who enables them to b ...more
Dave
Jan 01, 2009 Dave rated it it was ok
I really liked the first half of this book. Then the "Breakable" part really picked up. I wasn't in the mood.
Stacey
Oct 27, 2010 Stacey rated it it was ok
What a disappointment.
This was the first book in a long line of books that I couldn't put down. It started out so strong, and in spite of the author asking us to follow several characters very closely, I found it manageable, engaging, thought-provoking. Until...
I was willing to overlook Morton's male fantasies (woman takes man by the pants, drops said pants and delivers blow job in wooded area of Central Park, and thus a thriving relationship is born!), because at times he offered what I conside
...more
Theresa
May 02, 2010 Theresa rated it it was ok
I read this book on the long trip to Frankfurt/Riga/Dushanbe. The concept was interesting, but I was left oddly disappointed. In the end, it felt more like a beach book with aspirations than literature. The characters would just start to get interesting, and then they would do something cookie-cutterish that spoiled things for me. The philosophical references of one of the characters seemed more typical of a second year undergrad philosophy major than a graduate student, and were obtrusive rathe ...more
Julie Ehlers
Jul 25, 2014 Julie Ehlers marked it as tossed-aside  ·  review of another edition
So disappointing. I loved Brian Morton's Starting Out in the Evening and A Window Across the River so much, and I was sure I'd love this one. But no. This novel is told from the point of view of four characters, and two of them, a self-satisfied sixtysomething novelist and a completely unrealistic woman in her twenties, are pretty much insufferable. The other two characters are not sympathetic enough to make up for these two, and the subject matter seems like it's been done before. In fact, I ha ...more
Nanette
Jan 21, 2016 Nanette rated it it was ok
Having recently read "Florence Gordon," I thought I was onto a new author whose work I'd enjoy. But "Breakable You" just seemed like an amalgam of characters who, though related, had no connection. Perhaps that was the point, but it made for a disjointed and disappointing read.
Rachel
Sep 25, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It contains all of the elements of a great work: true, deeply felt characters, moments of tremendous poignancy and even unbearable sorrow, a long look at the life of literary pursuit, deep investigation into how relationships work at their inception and at their end, and a beautiful picture of the similarities and differences between them in terms of energy and hopefulness. How and why do we reach out to each other? Why do certain people touch us in certain ways, and what happe ...more
Liz Logan
May 06, 2016 Liz Logan rated it it was amazing
Could not stop reading; had to know what became of these characters. The monstrous writer is essential reading for anyone who has anything to do with the business of publishing.
Sharon
Nov 24, 2015 Sharon rated it it was ok
I almost gave up on this book. Depressing at best! A story of a narcissistic father, a mom who tries hard and the daughter with a new baby who hopefully makes it despite everything!
Karen
Sep 06, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
I loved Brian Morton's novel "Starting out in the evening". His writing is clean and east to read. I also loved this book. The short length of the chapters (5-8 pages) and his style of jumping from one character to the next- made this a real page turner for me. The characters were flawed and real and I liked them despite their unlikable qualities. There were three different story lines in this novel all intertwined by the relationships among the people and the emotions in this book ran the gamut ...more
Denise
Oct 07, 2014 Denise rated it really liked it
This book was a pleasant surprise. I really liked the story, characters and writing. I will definitely be reading Morton's other novels.
April
Jul 11, 2010 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot, although I can't disagree with those who found the final third much less satisfying than what went before. Even so, I thought Morton pulled off telling the story from multiple viewpoints far better than most who attempt it, and I thought his characters were all believable and engaging. His simple style of writing belies the depth of the topics he addresses; to his credit, he seems much more focused on how these issues play out in real life than in having his characters d ...more
Teresa
Oct 17, 2014 Teresa rated it liked it
This book was very different from what I normally read. Rather sad and very philosophical.
Leora
Oct 17, 2013 Leora rated it it was ok
Upscale Jewish NY family. Parents separated after 30+ years. He's a writer (and an unlovely person), she's a psychotherapist, about to get involved with a former sweetheart. Most of the story focuses on their daughter, and her love affair with (gasp!) an Arab-american, with a personal tragedy in his background. Uneven writing, none of it bad, some of it really good. (My favorite: a description of a bus kneeling like an elephant to take on a passenger.) Some good characterizations, and an interes ...more
rachel
Aug 31, 2009 rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: own, 2007
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ursula
Jan 18, 2011 Ursula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Three & a half stars. This book was mostly solid. I did care about some of the characters (though they were nearly identical to the character's in Morton's previous novel "Starting Out in the Evening), loved the descriptions of NYC, and felt the author had insight into the human condition. At times, I was bored though. Those moments of boredom were balanced with moments of being in awe of the author's finesse of language. As time passes, I have a hunch that I'll come to reflect fondly on thi ...more
Al
Jun 02, 2010 Al rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-books
The later half of the book was very disappointing, the first half very engaging. This is a lot like a couple other books with very sim. stories set in NYC - Zoe Heller's most recent book and The Emperor's Children - all start out incredibly strong and then spiral off into very odd and unsatisfying plot twists.
Amy
Sep 05, 2007 Amy marked it as to-read
Publishers Weekly:
While the story of two broken couples—one by infidelity, one by tragedy—contains a number of maudlin moments, this polished novel's touchy-feely title belies the trenchant humor of its take on contemporary New York, especially its literary scene.... The interwoven plots proceed briskly toward what could be a spectacularly melodramatic climax, but despite occasional contrivances, Morton (Starting Out in the Evening) brings the novel to a quietly moving conclusion.
Katie
Jan 18, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok
It was a pretty depressing book with bit of hot sex thrown in. It made me pessimistic about life when I read it. It was a story about the separate lives of family members and how they can be together or not. Sometimes family is more important to some rather than others and it is easier for some. It was a little boring for me and the end was pretty depressing as well. I read it all the way through which was why I at least gave it two stars.
Nina
Jan 10, 2016 Nina rated it really liked it
Very good book. Lots of layers!
Katy
Jun 15, 2010 Katy rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I started out not liking this book, but eventually two of the characters did interest me: the dependable Eleanor, a divorced psychologist and her daughter, Maud, a teacher of philosophy who is writing her dissertation on Kant. I had no interest in the others or their fates. This is my first Brian Morton novel. I enjoyed the New York scene and I thought the story was well imagined and sensitively written.
Jenny
Jul 12, 2007 Jenny rated it it was ok
I read this book because I was intrigued enough with Mortons other book "Starting out in the Evening." Each chaper is a different character's point of view and story which I liked, but I didn't really like any of the characters. I found most of them unlikeable and obnoxious, but for some reason I didn't hate this book. Perhaps it was the writing, perhaps it was the story...it was a good book but not great.
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BRIAN MORTON is the author of four previous novels, including Starting Out in the Evening, which was a Salon favorite book of the year and was made into an acclaimed feature film, and A Window Across the River, which was a Book Club selection on the Today show. He is the dir
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“What you are is a complicated girl with simple needs. You need your books and time to read, and you need a few friends and you need someone-not to take care of you, but to care for you. If you have all those things, you'll always be alright.” 137 likes
“The river was so blue it seemed to be breathing.” 12 likes
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