Jemidar's Reviews > The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
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Sep 28, 11

bookshelves: seen-the-movie, buddy-reads-with-kim, other-fiction, favourites
Read from September 24 to 28, 2011 — I own a copy


Buddy read with Kim.

I first read this back in the late eighties and loved it, and recently decided to do a re-read just to see if I still loved it as much. I've changed and my life circumstances have changed, so I wondered...

And I'm happy to say that not only do I still love it, but I think I love it a lot more than I did the first time around. Call it accumulated life experience if you like, but it had a resonance and a poignancy that touched me at a much deeper level. I laughed, I cried, I cheered Macon on, and hissed when someone threatened to get in the way of his journey out of grief. At times his story was heartbreaking but it was ultimately uplifting, so worth every second I spent in his company. I would love to count Macon Leary amoung my friends.

Anne Tyler is an amazing author. She makes her flawed and quirky characters so vulnerable and human, and writes about them so compassionately that you can't help but like them and empathize with them. I don't know of another author who can reach out from the page and make me feel so deeply or care so much. She is a real talent.

I would highly recommend this book to all :-).



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Quotes Jemidar Liked

Anne Tyler
“I'm beginning to think that maybe it's not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you're with them.”
Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist


Reading Progress

09/17/2011 "Kim, do you want to do a buddy read? I can wait if your not ready :-)." 9 comments
09/26/2011 page 199
60.0% "I'm up to Chapter 13 Kim. This is excellent :-)."
09/26/2011 page 272
83.0% "Sorry Kim, I got carried away. This is seriously good!" 4 comments
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Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I've read up to chapter 9 already, J, and wonder whether I'd better stop, because even though I probably could, I don't want to read it in one go.

I can't believe that I've left this without re-reading it for so long. Tyler does such an amazing job creating Macon. All that brittleness and vulnerability, the determination not to be hurt by life and all the pain he feels just .... there, on the page.

I love Macon's family too, although I could not imagine a more infuriating bunch to be related to by marriage!


Jemidar I only got to Chapter 3 before I fell asleep last night and haven't had a chance to get back to it today. If you're really enjoying it, don't stop on my account because we can discuss it when I've finished.

I agree, Macon is wonderful and all his grief is there on the page. The writing and the detail that's gone into creating him is, as you say, amazing. I know a lot more about OCD than I did last time I read it, and it's all just so real the way he is trying to protect himself from the outside world. It almost makes me want to cry for him.

I haven't met anyone besides Sarah yet, this time around.


message 3: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I'll leave it until you get a bit further in, J. Just tell me when you're up to chapter 9 or thereabouts. Talk to about it as you go, though. I'd love to hear what you think about Macon's childhood, Rose, Charles and Porter.


Jemidar Catching up, now into Chapter 6. Rose, Charles and Porter are just how I remember them :-).


message 5: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Catching up indeed. Except that you should have been sleeping! :(


Jemidar I went to bed at 2am which is early for me!


message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I turn into a pumpkin long, long before then. Even on New Years Eve!


Jemidar Yes, but I had a big sleep during the day yesterday.


message 9: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I've had time for a brief read. I do so love this book, J. I'm just past the bit where the pipes burst in Macon's house. When Charles raises the Muriel issue and tells Macon that he's not himself, he responds: "I'm more myself than I have been my whole life long". And now he's taking a trip, talking to the passenger next to him on the plane and suggesting that Baltimore may not be the only good place out there. In this part of the novel, it's amazing to see Macon's defences come down.


Jemidar I'm a bit past that, Sarah is just re-entering the picture :-(.

Isn't Macon wonderful? I love the ways he appreciates Muriel. He notices things about her that others don't. They really are very good for each other, which goes beyond the obvious need they have for each other.

Yes, love that scene with Charles! I also liked how Macon hoped he would drive around in circles for hours. LOL. I also loved the fact that he could just walk out of the damaged house and shut the door, in effect on his old life. I felt whooping for joy and cheering him on!

This is a wonderful book. It's just so human and compassionate, I feel like under the right circumstances that I could be any one of them. At first I found that confronting because it made me feel vulnerable too. Isn't Tyler an amazing author to be able to reach so deeply into her readers?!!


message 11: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Yep, everything you say. I've been laughing and crying throughout the book. Little things have brought tears to my eyes. Like when Macon takes his niece with him to Philadelphia and she talks about Ethan.

When I first read this novel I found it extraordinary tht Tyler could have created a male character like Macon - that she could have made someone with so many problems so very real. I still feel the same way.


Jemidar I think I'm appreciating it much more this time around. It seems to be touching me deeper.


message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I just finished. I think I found it more moving this time as well. Will comment more tomorrow and will write a review in the next couple of days. I'm so glad I re-read this book.


Jemidar I should be finished by tomorrow.


message 15: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Great review, J.

As I finished reading the book last night, I remembered that my daughter and I lived a scene from it in early 1997. We were in Paris and we went to the Burger King on the Champs Elysee, just because it was where Macon told Muriel that she should take the pickles out of her Whopper burger!


Jemidar Very cool :-). Unfortunately, I don't like Whoppers so I won't be doing that!

I loved how Muriel did everything "wrong" in Paris but still found his guidebook handy.


message 17: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I don't like Whoppers either, but it was still a fun thing to do!

What I liked about Muriel in Paris was how she found out about things by actually talking to people.


Jemidar The ending always makes me wonder whether Macon will continue to write his guide books. I mean, he's heading in the right direction to becoming an interactive member of the human race, so will he still be able to do it?


message 19: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim That's such a good point, particularly after his experience actually talking to passengers and taking care of the woman who was afraid of flying. Maybe he could do op shop guides with Muriel, or DIY handyman guides!


Jemidar LOL. I always worry for them how they are going to survive and be able to afford a private school for Alexander... But I'm sure Muriel will think of of something :-).

BTW, I forgot to ask, did you do a Muriel or Macon at Burger King? Did you take your pickles off or leave them on?


message 21: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Muriel all the way. Beth and I come from a long line of pickles fans. ;)


Jemidar I would've done a Macon as I'm not a fan of pickles. LOL.


message 23: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Always glad to find people who don't like pickles. That way there's more for me!


Jemidar Glad to be of service ;-D.


message 25: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn It's great when a book you loved once is still beloved upon a later reading, when so much else changes. Hooray!


message 26: by Jemidar (last edited Oct 05, 2011 05:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jemidar I think I loved it for different reasons this time. The differences were subtle but they were there.


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