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Une Épouse Presque Par...
Laurie Colwin
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Une Épouse Presque Parfaite !

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  792 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
An engaging and enriching novel from a critically acclaimed author that tells the story of a happy wife and mother who one day finds herself embarked on a completely unexpected, sweet, and painful love affair.
274 pages
Published 2004 by le Grand livre du mois (first published January 1st 1982)
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Jan 26, 2008 Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this would be more like 3.5. I really DID NOT like the ending, and the whole thing deals with an affair, so that's not my favorite subject either. I do like the writing and the real life feelings you get from the characters.
Feb 10, 2008 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the story and how Laurie Colwin captures this family and Polly. Her writing style is easy and breezy but is still able to craft a story with depth simply because it articulates what many people probably feel but aren't able to say out loud.
May 02, 2008 Leanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that this author is really good, but for some reason I had trouble staying interested in the storyline. I thought maybe it was repetitive about halfway through and I wasn't finding out anything new or following any path - just seemed to stagnate to me. It was probably my frame of mind.
Jul 14, 2008 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Got so tired of the main character's tedious inner life - I usually have a high tolerance for reading in-depth accounts of characters' feelings, but this woman just goes on and on about the same damn thing over and over again.
Feb 21, 2009 Drew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her husband is a busy big-shot lawyer, her mother is an overbearing New York matron, her younger brother is an obnoxious doofus, her children are young enough to need much of her time, all leaving Polly to live a life of cheerful and successful servility. She's a paragon of perfection, yet still relegated to the supporting cast. That is until Lincoln the outre painter enters her life...

Wait a minute--there is neither a swooning woman in a bodice or a muscle man in an undone shirt on this book's
I read books about rich New Yorkers with First World problems the way others might enjoy Twilight, so obviously I liked this one. Some parts were ridiculous (affair with an artist? really?), but it was definitely well above most of the current chick lit that's out there. Let's put this halfway between Jane Austen and Jennifer Weiner.
Oct 13, 2010 Lesli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All of Colwin's books, several each of short stories and novels, are wonderful and I can't recommend them highly enough. I actually bought many of her books in hardcover, something rare for me! They are all about life and love in Manhattan. She has been described as having "very acute sensibilities," whatever those are and has also been compared to Jane Austen. Her first novel is Happy All the Time, which is about two couples who are related and are friends. My favorite book of short stories is ...more
May 26, 2014 Jeannine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Laurie Colwin's novels (most of them, see Shine on Bright and Dangerous Object for an exception), always seem to get better with each rereading. I see something new, or appreciate something new with each reading. Bumped this up from three stars to four.
Susan Tinsley
Apr 25, 2011 Susan Tinsley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She is the Jane Austen of the 20th century. Wise and funny, and she wrote too few books. Love defines us all and L. Colwin wrote it so well.
Nov 20, 2014 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have I mentioned that I love Laurie Colwin? The sad thing is that there is only one more of her novels I haven't read yet.

Colwin's writing elevates the domestic fiction genre to literature that smart women will love. Every detail of the setting comforted me while the characters and dialogue exposed conflicts that live in my own heart. Subtle, gorgeous, and ultimately surprising--this book is now one of my all time favorites.
Jul 07, 2012 Abbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who knows me, or has read my reviews, knows that I am such a sucker for family stories.

So if I'm not completely entranced by one, you know it's pretty bad.

This book was just so freaking repetitive. There were only so many times I could read about Polly crying and telling Lincoln she felt guilty being with him. I mean really. Were I of age, it would have been a fun drinking game.

The characters were horrible -whiny and unsympathetic, dysfunctional and unlikable-in-the-bad-way. The family dy
Aug 20, 2012 Sera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: Picked up for challenge
Decent read about a woman who finds her sense of self through her relations with people outside of her family.

While reading this book, I thought that it was published in the 70s, because it seemed to fit the feminism movement that had evolved then. Then, I realized that the book was actually published in 1982. Once I learned that, then the book felt dated to me, because the story of the main character, Polly, seemed to be one that women may have not really identified with at that point in Americ
I enjoyed this book about a wife who feels taken for granted. I liked being inside her head and hearing how she was going to try to work her way through her problems. The ending was not what I expected but I liked it.
Sep 06, 2012 Christi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurie Colwin is one of my favorite authors. Makes me sad that she died so young! Her novels are deceptively simple. She always make you think twice about the choices we make in life as women. Read her writing about food too! Excellent!
Elizabeth Schlatter
The main character, Polly, was so tense and worried while having an affair that it made me tense just reading this novel. It wasn't quite the book I expected, although it was an easy read. And it was interesting to see a character change from someone who felt put-upon by everyone in her family to someone who stands up for herself. Although by the end I kept thinking she just needed quit thinking about herself so much and go do something meaningful for a change.
Jun 20, 2015 Nina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I would read a book that discussed having an affair in a way that would make me understand the person having it, and yet, Colwin pulls it off and you actually find yourself rooting for Polly and wanting her to be a little selfish and put herself out there in ways that conventionally are not moral but necessary in order for her to grow into a person that she can be happy with. Some of Colwin's lines cut incredibly deep and I think everyone experiences the kind of fears and desires ...more
May 28, 2014 Cyndy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was published in the 1980s and it just seemed outdated. The language, attitudes. Plus it was difficult to warm up to any of the characters. Polly whined constantly about her husband--using his full name any time she referred to him. Although there were three Henry's in the book, I would have thought she could have found a better way to describe him that just as Henry Demarest. Should could have said "my Henry, or even "my husband". But to use his full name page after page seemed ridicul ...more
Aug 10, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of a psychological profile of a woman who spent her life trying to please everyone - the good daughter, mother, wife who finally breaks out. Interesting that she doesn't face the consequences of her actions, but does shake up some family members who begin to treat her differently.
Feb 04, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a disappointing story, about an old-money New Yorker who feels torn between her insufferable, snobbish family and her commitment-phobic artist-lover. I'm so angry, because I've really enjoyed everything else I've read by Laurie Colwin, and this book casts it all in a new light. Colwin writes about rich, well-educated, beautiful, introspective people who wear beautiful clothes and listen to classical music and drink coffee in bed and talk about love with their partners as rain taps against t ...more
Aliki Barnstone
Jan 13, 2014 Aliki Barnstone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurie Colwin's Familly Happiness is a wonderful novel. Colwin died of a heart attack at 48, and her death deprived the world of a storyteller whose work will haunt me and inspire me for a lifetime. Family Happiness reminds me of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, only set in late 20th Century Manhattan - and I'm not giving away the ending when I write that. It's different - but the protagonist in both books have similar "awakenings" from the mores and strictures of married women and good daughters, w ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Marti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Really didn't like the writing style in this one. The characters never felt real or close-- it was like being told a story about someone by someone who barely knew them. Didn't work for me.
Jane Dugger
This was a very slow read for me. I love Colwin's non-fiction - truly my introduction to cooking - but this left me wanting a bit. I felt it took an inordinate amount of time explaining how the family dynamics worked. I only really cared for the end when Polly finally broke free of her family (and her own) expectations and became who she wanted to be. I only finished it because of who wrote it ... otherwise I would have put it aside.
Apr 07, 2014 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction, 2014
"Did people create families in order to keep themselves from wondering what the purpose of life was?"
Jul 03, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin is the story of a woman, Polly, who always does what is expected of her. She is the only daughter in a prominent family, who married the right guy, and had two nearly perfect children. She has a job, but always puts her husband's needs before her own. Until the day she finds herself swept up in an affair with a local artist. The book tracks Polly's confusion as she tries to figure out what it means to follow her own heart, and to figure out the right line to tow ...more
Amy Ruth
Jun 14, 2014 Amy Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So odd that none of the wry wit, warmth, or frankness of Colwin as a nonfiction writer came through in this novel. Home Cooking is one of my favorite books of all time so I sure wanted to love this! I didn't, but that's OK--I think it's just a little dated. I will still read her other books. I am a devoted fan.
Jun 19, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice story line! Suggested by Elin Hilderbrand as her favorite book! it was everything a good book should be: entertaining, suspenseful, great love story. I could see Colwin's influence on Hilderbrand's books!
Suanne Laqueur
Apr 14, 2016 Suanne Laqueur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-five-stars
One of my all-time absolute favorites. I read it every couple of years. It influenced me as both a reader and a writer. And you know what? Everyone I've recommended it to hated it. I mean they loathed it. I can appreciate why but I don't know why everything that irritated the shit out of them appealed to me.

I love this book. I don’t want to be overly dramatic and say this book changed my life, but something about it resonated. That, to me, is the key definition of a Good Book: it has passages t
Victoria Wolfe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2015 Sophia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book lead nowhere. The ending wasn't satisfying, and overall the characters were quite a drag. I wouldn't recommend, but I haven't read any other Laurie Colwin novels so I wouldn't disregard the author all together.
Laura K
I liked it. Seemed like it was written earlier then the 1980s though. A reminder that you never know what is going on in someone's private life no matter how good it looks from the outside. I wanted more resolution at the end though. I really liked Polly's friend Martha and wish she had a greater presence in the book. Quotes I liked: "Did people create families in order to keep themselves from wondering what the purpose of life was?"; "She felt as if she had woken up one morning after a profound ...more
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Laurie Colwin is the author of five novels: Happy All the Time, Family Happiness, Goodbye Without Leaving, Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object, and A Big Storm Knocked It Over; three collections of short stories: Passion and Affect, Another Marvelous Thing, and The Lone Pilgrim; and two collections of essays: Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. She died in 1992.
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