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Other People We Married

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,663 ratings  ·  218 reviews
In this vibrant debut collection, Emma Straub creates characters as recognizable as a best friend, and follows them through moments of triumph and transformation with hilarity, vulnerability, and quietly dazzling insight.

In Some People Must Really Fall In Love, an assistant professor takes halting steps into the awkward, adult world of office politics and blind dates while
Paperback, 214 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by FiveChapters Books (first published February 2011)
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3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,663 ratings  ·  218 reviews

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This book has generated a lot of buzz in literary circles, and I bought it on a whim, wanting to read some contemporary short fiction. Also, I read an essay on the Paris Review blog by Emma Straub about My So-Called Life and adolescent female friendships and I loved it.

The book was ultimately disappointing. There were a few stories in the collection that I did enjoy, but the writing wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, and ultimately, I felt like many of the stories focused on an unhappy female
Julie Ehlers
Emma Straub is undeniably talented, but this reads as if a person whose main emotional experiences involved well-intentioned independent films and reading other people's books were sent to an MFA program in order to learn how to express those ready-made sentiments as expediently as possible. There is a definite Lorrie Moore influence here, but none of Moore's deep understanding of human nature. I felt as if I were reading about paper dolls or gingerbread people instead of real people. I'm on boa ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Emma Straub. I love that she is a bookseller. I love her blog. I like when she takes to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to tell writers how to win the hearts of the bookstore staff at public readings (See also: Candy). I love that she had four novels rejected, had her collection of short stories published by a small house and then got picked up by a larger one and now one of those rejected novels will see the light of day. She’s my new favorite success story and I wish she would make ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Excuse me while I have a giggle that I read a book called Other People We Married and discovered the goofy piece of television that is "Sister Wives" at roughly the same time.

Alas, there are no polygamists in this book. Just people falling in and out of love, mostly, which is the subject of approximately 90% of short story collections these days. Modern romance. It's a good read when it's done well, but just as frequently it seems to be this Miranda July-like, affected hipster hell.

Emma Straub
Cody | codysbookshelf
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I just finished Emma Straub's debut book, a collection of short stories called Other People We Married. Overall, I was impressed. Below are my thoughts on each story (copied and pasted from updates posted while reading the book):

"Some People Must Really Fall In Love" -- my favorite in the collection so far. A 27-years-old college professor falls in love with one of her teenage students, and she tries dealing with this by going on a blind date with a man of appropriate age. I have no fault with
Maya Frank-Levine
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful language. No word is wasted and every story is a gem.
Jul 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
I found myself always having to re-read each page and then each paragraph, as if I was drifting off every time I tried to get further in the stories. It seemed to be happening with almost every story. And I was really into the idea of reading this book, before actually finally cracking it. I found most of the characters and the stories were blurring into each other. Maybe this should have been her first novel, rather than a collection of short stories, since the characters and stories were simil ...more
Jul 08, 2011 added it
How could I not read Emma Straub's book? I love Emma Straub's blog, I love that Emma Straub is a bookseller, and I love that Emma Straub has blurbs from Lorrie Moore and Dan Chaon. Oh, and I love the cover.

Beyond the exterior, however, Emma Straub's is a lovely collection of not-exactly-related short stories. Each takes place in a different location, but all of the protagonists are New Yorkers. I pondered the title of the collection for the first few stories, but later its significance began to
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it
There is one really excellent story in this collection: "Abraham's Enchanted Forest". The protagonist Greta is so well-drawn in so few words, and so much fun to follow around. Probably it would be fun to follow around any teenager working at her parents' makeshift roadside amusement park, but this is especially true in Greta's case.

The rest of the stories suffer from stale writing, stale characters, typos, lack of narrative drive, or all of the above. It's obvious that Straub is talented, but it
Miette Reader
Reading this while puttering around waiting for my sparkly loooooong-awaited new computer to fill up with all of my hugely giganormous files, with the windows open and music on. Today's the first day it really feels like spring around here, and these stories fit the mood perfectly.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book from the library because I had just read another book by this author that I liked so I wanted to read her other books. I didn't know it was only short stories until I got home. I think short stories are useless - it's the equivalent of starting 10 different books and only reading the first chapter. The only short stories books I have liked are Stephen King's because at least there is somewhat of a start, middle & end to them. I probably would have skipped this book all togeth ...more
Katie Dillon
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
This was okay. Some stories were brilliant. I loved "Marjorie and the Birds" and all the stories about Franny. "Some People Must Really Fall in Love" was excellent. Others really fell flat: "Abraham's Enchanted Forest" dragged on. "A Map of Modern Palm Springs" and "Rosemary" were meh. Most of the stories acted like heartache and marital dissatisfaction are the only parts of life. Not sorry I read it though.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books, 2017
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Short story collections always leave me craving more! Especially when they are good stories and characters.
Alaric Cabiling
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Emma Straub is a fine author, and Other People We Married is rich with her subtle but persuasive talent. There's humor in every turn. Every detail is almost alarmingly perceptible through her keen observation of everyday life. She's articulate without sounding like a textbook, or a medical dictionary.

The language is hardly spare, drifting between everyday ease and profound articulacy. Her characters are richly depicted and her scenes are so vivid, only a picture would prove to be better. Somehow
This is a good, solid bunch of stories, most of them not particularly stellar but still pretty damn good. Nothing quirky, no weird obsessions with animals or stars, no magical realism resides in these pages. Just stories about the kind of people you know, trying their best to live and love and get over heartbreak.

I especially like "Pearls," which deals with teenage girl sexuality and introduces us to Franny Gold, who we see again in the title story, as well as in "Mohawk." Emma Straub likes Fran
Kent Winward
Sep 21, 2016 rated it liked it
15 years ago I volunteered to read short stories for a writing contest for Writers at Work. I read through a lot of stuff that just wasn't very good. I found one that I could sort of say, "Hey, this is OK." When I handed it over and said this is the only one that even felt polished, the other volunteer tossed it aside saying, "Oh, I was in the class where that was work shopped. It is overworked."

It was still the best story of the slush pile I was given and apparently having seen the sausage made
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Maybe I missed something, but I found this book of short stories to be a disappointment. There was some nice moments but overall run of the mill stories. The author's style seems to be concentrated on a lot of background and buildup and then little payoff. When I was just getting to know the characters or become interested in what was happening, it usually ended.

Also, a couple stories were about characters mentioned previously in the book which confused me because they weren't in chronological
Jun 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Yknow, I had high hopes for this book. I liked a novel of hers. Didn't love it, but liked it enough to want to seek out another book by her. I love short stories. They're my very favorite form of fiction. I live for discovering new amazing short story collections. So I was excited for this.

It was so disappointing. I can't even explain why. The stories just didn't hold my attention. They weren't very well-written, the characters weren't very interesting, and the stories themselves were pretty...
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
I heard great things about this book so I decided to pick it up. I started reading this while on my cruise and got about halfway through the book and was bored by it. I always like to finish whatever book I read whether I like it or not but was actually considering not completing this one. I did give another shot and finished it. Some of the stories were too short, the characters were underdevelopped and all of the stories were depressing. I don't have to have all roses and flowers and sunshine ...more
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
I received a copy of Other People We Married thanks to goodreads' first reads. I just recently finished another collection of short stories which restored my faith in the genre. Sadly, Other People We Married left me wanting. As other reviewers have noted, some of these stories are just too short, and there is too much emphasis on background noise like scenery, and not enough on the characters.

There was a lot of promise, but I just couldn't connect with any of these characters, and was incredib
Rachel Goodman
Jan 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Unfortunately, I was expecting more from Emma Straub's inaugural work. Her online presence (Twitter, her blog) made me hopeful for a strong voice, despite her tendency towards Brooklyn twee. While I found her prose to be pure, it was a bit too obvious and left me wanting; her characters remained just unripe. In all, enjoyable enough and good for a read on the subway commute. I can't say, however, that the book moved me, nor did it leave a lasting impression.
Mari Monte
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
So.... The good stories were...okay and the bad stories were pretty hard to get through. I kind of found most of her characters lack luster, two dimensional and some times down right unlike able. I kept drifting in and out of the book. Something that I read and will leave out on the stoop for someone else to read. I might not want to have it take up space on my bookshelf, you know?
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
i've read lorrie moore. i've read binnie kirshenbaum. ann beattie, et al. there isn't much use for this, i'm afraid. pleasant enough writing but the emotional punch it supposedly packs feels rather manipulative and the book just never seems to come out from under the stories' more-of-the-same twee intellectualism.
Katie Smith
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Alternate title: Sad People on Vacations
Sep 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Look...This was okay. Some people might its great, but I worship at the alter of Alice Munro so short story collections are hard to for me to enjoy when they aren't from my Canadian queen.
Liz R.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the first book of short stories I read in a while, and one in which I mostly enjoyed the entire collection. The stories were well-written and I liked getting to know the characters, less through their own thoughts and actions, and more through other characters' observations.

The stories that stuck out or resonated with me in some way were the three Franny Gold stories, "A Map of Modern Palm Springs," "Puttanesca," "Hot Springs Eternal," and the ending of "Some People Must Really Fall in
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading this made me think of the words of Annie Proux: "Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved." The best short stories give you a glimpse into a larger narrative, and with this collection I felt even more short of breath than usual. A brief insight into a human being, not always the moment of change but the moment before the moment of change. Or perhaps the moment you know that nothing will ever really change. But that's a revelation too.

I live near Books Are Magic. It's my new (wonder
Linda Tomase
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Collection of short stories, all "people stories". The best kind of chick lit - somewhere in between Vogue and Psychology Today, written with style and wry kind of humor. #emmastraub lets you have a peek into people's dates, offices, backyards, vacation trips and so on - all the places where things can get tricky. Will pick up other Straub's books for sure.
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Emma Straub is the New York Times‒bestselling author of The Vacationers, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Elle, and Condé Nast Traveler, and she is a contributing writer for Rookie. Straub's work has been published in fifteen countries.
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