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Inventing the Abbotts and Other Stories

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  699 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
A stunning collection of short stories from the bestselling author of The Good Mother, each exploring the shifting ground of erotic and family relationships today.
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published May 1st 1987 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1987)
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Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Like Sue Miller's bestselling novels, this collection of short stories explores the treacherously shifting ground of erotic and family relationships with deftness and depth. The title story is about a young man who takes up successively with three daughters of the most fashionable family in town. In other stories, whose characters range from a young girl in the first blush of sexual curiosity to a stricken dowager whose seizures release a brutal and sometimes obscene candor, Sue Miller p
Jul 17, 2014 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A day or two after I'd gobbled straight through this slender volume-- elegantly written, with intriguing (if not entirely sympathetic) characters, the thought crossed my mind: "Hey, this was kind of like Cheever country!"

And that's not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.

Considering that I did wolf down all the stories in two days, it seemed at the time that I "really liked it" but on reflection I don't think these stories will stay in my mind and heart for long. (Not like, say, Cheever's "Far
Jan 31, 2011 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of the stories are set in modern America, and each one is like a microcosm of domestic drama. Some span a long time in retrospect, but each story felt like a peep through a keyhole at the characters and their lives.
There are 11 stories in all, many of which are astutely observed relationship accounts, including the psychology of sexual encounters, but not all of them. We have the brothers, one of which ends up having a relationship with each of the 3 sisters from the richest and most eligib
Oct 02, 2008 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories was incredibly well written and also incredibly sad. Most of stories are first person accounts of family, divorce, domesticity and strange bedfellows. The characters are disconnected and dissatisfied with the their lives. I guess that is why I found it so sad. Because it is all so common and ordinary.

My particular favorite was "Inventing the Abbots", which is a much more realistic and darker tale about class and pursuit than the Liv Tyler and Joaquin Phoenix fil
Feb 29, 2016 Misti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish we could give half star ratings. I would of given this collection of modern American short stories a 3.5 if so.

I like Sue Miller. Sue Miller is intrigued by people and how they think and act as am I.

Sometimes I have to stretch my thinking to try and understand what point she is trying to make. Maybe this is because I am just naive of many things?

Reading Miller helps me to broaden my understanding that people do not all act and think like I do or I think they should and it's okay that the
Jul 30, 2015 Nicholas rated it liked it
It was interesting to read these short stories, some of which presage themes and characters that Miller later writes full novels about. I thought the final story about the divorce and the blended family was particularly astute and moving.
Jan 14, 2014 Tana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me be upfront: I am not a short-story lover. I picked this up expecting, based on the back cover, that the stories would be interconnected tales about life in a small Illinois town, centered on this one family. The first story was pretty good. And then that was it. There's no theme, and that might have been OK except the others were increasingly dull and forgettable. I would have given the first story alone 3 stars; but the rest of the book brings it down.
Richard Jespers
Jan 09, 2015 Richard Jespers rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
Miller is so adept at writing the so-called domestic story. But she fully realizes each character without favoring or slanting anything toward a particular given. Her words in the last sentences are so all encompassing, almost like poem’s lines. Really character driven, making each story “unpredictable.”
Oct 02, 2011 Lorrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lorrie by: Patsy recommended Miller--not necessarily this particular book. I just found it at the used bookstore.
Sue Miller is extraordinary! Now I want to read more of her work. Thought I'd start with these short stories. There were eleven in all. Inventing the Abbots was the longest, so I guess that's why it was first...hence: the title. Miller has a way of capturing an event and describing it so thoroughly that you can remember the smell of the moment. Some of her work is so private, so personal, that you realize you've never even talked about the moment before. This book was so nice for a story a sitti ...more
I prefer her novels
Mar 25, 2012 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because I'd seen the movie on lifetime and Sue Miller is a former teacher of mine. The combination seemed to make sense when I saw the cover at the library. I liked it more than I expected. There is something very readable about Miller's prose, and relatable about her characters. The plots, however, seem to center around mundane or unpleasant sexual encounters...maybe that's just what stuck out to me. It appealed to me more as a writer then as a reader.
I thought I would pick this up after seeing the movie (which I really enjoyed). Needless to say, I finished the "Inventing the Abbotts" story, but was disappointed. So disappointed that I decided not to push through the rest of the book. The short story seemed to meander and reminisce without a conclusive ending. Frankly, I think the movie is more entertaining because the screenwriter added and enhanced more dramatic elements that the story's plot lacked.
Aug 14, 2011 Shannon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yuck! I have read Sue Miller's books before and have enjoyed her writing. But not this one. I read the first two stories in this book and put it down. BORING. I think that I just don't like short stories. I like to be able to dig into a character and follow a story for a long time. Short stories just don't provide that kind of escape for me. And there are too many books and too little time to read them all, so bye-bye to this book.
Mar 08, 2010 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something clean and honest (and likable) about Miller's writing. Her characters are average sorts of folk, engaged in everyday activities and conflicts. It's as though she makes the mundane interesting through simple candor.

Not an earth-shattering read, just thoughtful. I look forward to trying one of her novels.
Sharon Archer
even though i enjoyed these short stories, the subject matter was kind of weird...there were always these sexual undercurrents that didn't follow my thought process...this is the kind of book that you should only read if you know there is someone to discuss it with...
Jul 26, 2008 Wyatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What, you mean Liv Tyler's character isn't in love with Jacquine Pheonix in this one? I love the movie. I love the story too...but Pamela (Liv) is such a hussy in this one. Reading that, Inventing the Abbots broke my heart all over again, in a new way this time.
I remember the advertisements for this movie when it came out, but never saw it. Then I was browsing the library shelves yesterday and thought I'd check it out. I really enjoyed it. Also read the other short stories in this book as well. Good read for sure.
Jun 13, 2007 Charity rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found most of these stories to be boring. The 'Inventing the Abbotts' story surprised me in how rushed it was (since the movie is considerably long). The events all seemed crammed in together without any build-up or normal flow. Not impressed.
Jenny (adultishbooks)
Stopped at pg 65. The stories were unengaging, characters flat and the language unremarkable. I was bored and kept checking to see when the current story would be over. This is going in the bag of books to the used bookstore ASAP.
Feb 03, 2013 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the stories were really good, and a couple I didn't enjoy. Read them all. Basically, women and men and their relationships whether married, divorced, never married, with children, without! I think that about covers life!
Aug 10, 2009 Sheila rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no.
The first and title story was the only one worth reading. I admit I skipped the second. The rest were pretty forgettable. Can one of Susan Miller's characters handle a first date without sleeping with the guy?
Mar 06, 2012 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Defies classification. A group of short stories by Sue Miller as she tries to define the boundaries in "love relationships" between a man and a woman. Some of the stories are better than others.
Feb 10, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Peter by: radio review
Sue Miller is just as good writing short stories as novels. I couldn't wait to finish one in order to start the next. And they're quite different one to the next.
Mar 25, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A little too contemporary for my taste. I only like contemporary if 1) I can strongly identify with characters or 2) the book makes me laugh.
Mar 24, 2010 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found most of these stories disturbing. I do not recommend this book. I wanted to punch most of the people portrayed in each story.
Oct 05, 2013 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You may have seen the movie if not please see it. Again Sue Miller is a good writer and you will most likely enjoy this.
Jun 18, 2008 Ania rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This is a series of short stories. I didn't really like most of the stories and kind of found them pointless and boring.
AnimoR Lomy
awwwwww Es lo mejor. La moral de cada uno siempre está en juego, pero el amor jamás deja de triunfar a pesar de todo.
Nov 10, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sue Miller is a wonderful, thoughtful writer. A fun, short read.
Elizabeth Anderson
Beautifully written and engaging characters.

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Sue Miller (born November 29, 1943 in Chicago) is an American writer who has authored a number of best-selling novels. Her duties as a single mother left her with little time to write for many years, and as a result she did not publish her first novel until 1986, after spend
More about Sue Miller...

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“I tried to talk about it to Lily, to make her see that for once, I'd earned a feeling. [p. 174]” 1 likes
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