Helynne's Reviews > Breathing Lessons
by Anne Tyler
by Anne Tyler
May 20, 2009
Read in May, 1998
I enjoyed The Accidental Tourist so much that I was surprised that I found this book by Anne Tyler so much less enjoyable. Breathing Lessons won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1989, which is a amazing honor. To tell you the truth, I can't really see that much merit in this book, although I will admit that Tyler's writing style is skillful. Nevertheless, this novel reminded me a little of Gustave Flaubert's philosophy when he began writing Madame Bovary. He said, "I want to write a book about nothing." Well, that's kind of what we get with Breathing Lessons. The plot doesn't consist in much more of a road trip of a middle-aged couple, Ira and Maggie Moran, to visit their former daughter-in-law, and young granddaugher, and the sad fisaco that results when they persuade her to come home with them. Apparently, Maggie is a real busybody who, several years earlier, persuaded her son's pregnant girlfriend not to have an abortion, then persuaded them to get married, then watched the whole thing fall apart, and now thinks she has to fix it, and of course, she can't and . . . Well, read the novel for its insight and style, but, again, remember what Flaubert said, and don't expect too much from the plot.
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