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Un Amour De Jeunesse: ...
Ann Packer
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Un Amour De Jeunesse: Roman

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  20,038 Ratings  ·  1,777 Reviews
Carrie Bell was born and raised in Wisconsin. She's had the same best friend, the same good relationship with her mother, and the same boyfriend for as long as anyone can remember. She is already quietly bored with Mike when he is horrifically injured in a diving accident at Clausen's Reservoir. Now the future that Carrie was only beginning to rebel against looks set in st ...more
530 pages
Published 2004 by Boréal (first published 2002)
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Aug 23, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book sucks. It had potential - the plot centers around the question of what we owe those we love. The main character is a girl engaged to a man who becomes a paraplegic just after their relationship goes sour. Potential for a good read, right? The problem is that this becomes a novel about a girl trying to become a fashion designer in NY and the paraplegic boyfriend is left in the dust after all of 90 pages. Then it's all about fashion, and BAD fashion at that. The author lost me when she d ...more
Sep 14, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: chicklit
This book sucks. It came highly recommended to me by a friend so I gave it a shot. The Midwest setting appealed to me; I live and grew up in Northeast Wisconsin. The appeal ends there. Sure, I felt bad that the boyfriend became paralyzed. I could only imagine what a position that would put the girlfriend in, how one would become wracked with guilt for wanting to move on and make a better life for herself. To me, her moving to NYC was justifiable and not cold in the least. She had wan
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Kath by: Jenn
Finishing Ann Packer's The Dive From Clausen's Pier is at once an immense relief and an immense loss. The character Kilroy talks about "hard" art (Picasso) and "soft" art (Matisse) and certainly Packer's is the former. The entire book is one long exercise in feeling and memory, in love and in loss.
Packer such a wonderful writer, she actually makes you feel what Carrie, her main character, feels, even after the book has been closed. Of course, that's what the best of books do. Any yet, somehow i
UG! I can't put into words my utter disappointment with the main character Carrie. I actually wanted her to come to life so I could bitch slap her. I don't want to divulge too much for I might ruin the ending for those who want to read it (please don't). The story had merit, the writing was good, but the ending was utterly incomprehensible to me. I actually felt trapped as if the main character were making life decisions for me. I felt doomed to a life without personal growth. rrrgg.
Carrie Bell feels the pull of a new life awaiting her outside her Wisconsin hometown. Her relationship with her fiance Mike is boring her, and she wants to see the world and learn who she is. She goes out with Mike on Memorial Day, and he dives headfirst into a shallow lake and is immediately paralyzed. Can Carrie stay? No. But with pressure from all sides, her mother, Mike's parents, their friends in Madison, Carrie feels terrible about deciding to leave and not return home. Still, she moves to ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Way back in the day, I used to read these terrible teen dramas by Lurlene McDaniel. Someone in the book either had cancer, was dying, or was just killed and I sobbed from the beginning of the book to the end. So I stopped reading those books.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier was a grown-up Lurlene McDaniel' novelette. Well written? Yes. Engaging characters? Yes. An enjoyable read? Not quite. I could decide if I sympathized with the main character or hated her. The pivotal event happens so early in th
Apr 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this isn't classic literature, I was touched by the book.

Carrie Bell is a 23 year old woman who is questioning whether Mike, her high school boyfriend turned fiancee, is really the man and the life she wants to commit to. Her decision becomes more complicated and conflict laden after Mike is paralyzed in a diving accident. Would she loyally proceed with the plan to eventually marry Mike and become his cook, nurse, helper, chauffeur, attendant and somehow his wife? Or would she be the kind
Feather Stolzenbach
I hated this book with a passion.

From the Publisher
A riveting novel about loyalty and self-knowledge, and the conflict between who we want to be to others and who we must be for ourselves.

Carrie Bell has lived in Wisconsin all her life. She’s had the same best friend, the same good relationship with her mother, the same boyfriend, Mike, now her fiancé, for as long as anyone can remember. It’s with real surprise she finds that, at age twenty-three, her life has begun to feel suffocating. She lo
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all women
I don't think that I would have stumbled upon this book had my friend not recommended it to me. It is a rich and utterly human story of loss, coming of age and self-discovery. Carrie, the protagonist, is a 23-year old girl who hasn't yet been allowed to spread her wings. When she is considering making a life change, destiny makes it for her. Her boyfriend (now fiance) of 8 years takes a plunge from Clausen's Pier, breaks his neck and becomes a quadriplegic. He cannot move his hands, has no sexua ...more
Aug 23, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i wanted to like this. i started out liking it but by the time i was wrapped up in it, i realized how trite it was. i grew up near madison and kept trying to find connection to the characters and places. i just kept thinking "why would people like her?" and "who the fuck would be friends with these people?" - everyone was a cliche, or not very detailed. no one talks or acts like these people, especially 23-year-olds. i really like the premise of the book - your fiance is in an accident and now a ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I actually did not enjoy this book, and it definitely leaves a very bitter taste's in the mouth after you finish.

The premise is that our heroine (hyperbole) Carrie Bell wants out of an 8 year relationship with her nearly perfect high school sweet heart Mike. However, Mike, in an attempt to impress her, paralyzes himself for life and leaves Carrie in a difficult position. (spoiler) Running away from the situation, Carrie flees to New York City (from Madison, WI) and begins a new relationship wit
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, fiction
I picked this one up at a yard sale for 50 cents and I'm glad I didn't pay more. Thoroughly depressing, I wanted to quit many times. The problem? The premise and first chapter contained a good enough hook to make me wonder how in the heck Carrie, the main character, was going to handle the situation the author threw at her.

Carrie and Mike had been dating since high school. Now, 5 or so years later, she's realized that her life in small town Wisconsin is suffocating her and is ready to make a bre
Jul 28, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: miscellaneous
This book was recommended to me by a friend. She loved it. I hated it.

The plot of this book - and yes, i'll be spoiling it - is that there is this girl who hates her bf, wants to break up with him. He gets hurt showing off for her because he knows she's going to ditch him. She runs away and meets another guy. New guy is somewhat screwed up, but this is where this book divides into a love it or hate it book. She eventually succeeds, while with new guy, but then goes back to home where poor paraly
Mar 02, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Housewives and Oprah watchers.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still haunted by this story. It's about a young couple in their early 20s living in the midwest-- Wisconsin (I think). They've been dating since high school. She's about to break up with him, then he has a horrible diving accident while they're picnicing with friends. He becomes a quadraplegic. Up until this point, everyone including both of their parents have assumed they were going to be married because they've dated for so long. She wanted to break it off with him before the accident, now ...more
Michelle Young
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michelle by: May
Shelves: fiction
Meghan from my Book Lust class kept talking about how thought-provoking this book was, so when I saw it on the school library shelf, I picked up it during my lunch break. I am compelled to read on!


Wow, I finally finished this last night, and feel satisfied at the ending. I was afraid for awhile that I was going to be disappointed, but it seemed realistic to me and there was even a little surprise.

The story posed a moral quandary, described a believable relationship (actually a variety of
Eveline Chao
Jun 24, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this I was really impressed at what an undeniably good writer Ann Packer is, but then I really disliked the book itself. It was just sort of dumb. The protagonist kept having all these realizations and experiences and stuff that all just seemed really obvious and banal to me. It was kind of like reading a book about dogs who had no idea what dogs were & had only just discovered them & was going on and one about how amazing dogs were, & has no idea that everyone knows what a d ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story that strikes home because the main character does not do what seems to be the right thing. She is confused, sometimes self-centered, yet struggles to keep her integrity in an overwhelming turn of events. Packer perfectly captures her alienation. This one made me think, and made me feel like I had just heard the story of someone I knew.
Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was entertaining in an easy-read kind of way. I definitely wanted to know what Carrie, a 23-year-old girl from Madison, Wisconsin, was going to do when faced with a fiancee who broke his neck and became a quadriplegic. Her guilt is exacerbated by the fact that she had been gradually falling out of love with him in the months prior.

The story felt hackneyed in many parts: the "I couldn't help but wonder" moments; the vague "it wasn't that, nor did I know what it was." Carrie is an annoyi
Ron Christiansen
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Rarely have I cared so much about a character: Carrie Bell is faced with the gut-wrenching decision of staying with her boyfriend, Mike, of 7 years after he has become a quadriplegic. Making matters even more complicated, in the months just before the accident she had begun to fall out of love with Mike. Carrie is emotionally paralyzed with fear of making the wrong decision: "How much do we owe the people we love?...What I had discovered was that I couldn't give up my life for Mike--that how I s ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book surprised me. I initially wrote it off, expecting that it would fall into the Lifetime movie category of contemporary fiction. Ironically, a Google search did inform me that it has had a second life as an honest-to-goodness Lifetime movie (or maybe it was Oxygen; I wasn't paying that close of attention).

For emotion-centric, literary fiction, it was jarringly suspenseful. I almost wanted to hide it under my desk at work, on my lap, to finish it. I felt desperate to figure out how Carrie
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This was a very good book. It takes place in the Midwest and is about a woman named Carrie who is about 25 years old at the beginning. She is planning to get married to her childhood sweetheart, Mike, whom she has been with 'forever'. But her big secret is...she doesn't really want to marry him. Her feelings towards him have cooled, and she doesn't know how to tell him. He is very much in love with her. One day, when they are hanging out at the pier with their friends, Mike jumps in the lake and ...more
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monica McCulloch
Oct 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First impression of this was that it is Carrie's journey of discovering who she is and wants to be. How tragedy can force you to make decisions about your life. That it seemed Carrie was a passenger in her life previously and that the catalyst event put her in the drivers seat. I went back and forth about several of the main characters as to whether they were good or bad which can be intriguing. Pretty soon I realized the ending was going to be the deciding factor in my liking of the book. The e ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was well-written, admirably descriptive, and not formulaic. Those were its strong points. I think it can be difficult for people--both myself and as is evident in the reviews of others--to separate how striking and sad a topic this is--and how potentially realistic its ending is--from whether they thought the book was good. If the characters in a book disappoint you over and over in exactly the way ones in real life do, does that make the book masterfully real, or just disappointing?

Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely the best book I read on my weekend vacation. A young woman (just out of college) is already feeling uncomfortable in her relationship with her high school sweetheart - and then he suffers a serious accident. She's left to decide whether to stay with him or leave. About love and friendship, and about the ties we have to people we grew up with, and breaking out of familiar routines to find something new. The only problem is that several parts left me on the verge of tears, which was awk ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I picked up this book which has been sitting on my bedside table for some time, because I wanted a change from murder and psychological thrillers - I just needed to come up for air.
Now I know why I kept putting it back down to the bottom of the pile. I wish I had left it there.
I struggled to read the 50 pages that are my cut-off point, something that rarely happens.
I could find nothing remotely enjoyable in what I read of this book. It was mundane, maudlin and made me feel miserable.
Definitely n
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
This is actually a re-read. I first read it several years ago when I was closer in age to the main character. I remember loving this book and listing it as one of my all-time favorites. Now I'm not sure why, as this time around I was so annoyed with Carrie (the main character) and didn't find much in here to be realistic or inspiring in any way. I enjoyed all the supporting characters and their stories, but I'm relieved the twenty-something me didn't follow in any of their paths.
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Eclectic Readers: The Dive From Clausen's Pier 1 16 Apr 25, 2012 01:44PM  
  • Swimming
  • A Blessed Event
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Burning Marguerite
  • The Lucky Ones
  • The Frog King: A Love Story
  • Breaking Her Fall
  • Mrs. Kimble
  • The Lost Daughter of Happiness: A Novel
  • The Tapestries
  • Living to Tell
  • The Barbarians are Coming
  • More Than You Know
  • Troublemaker and Other Saints
  • Something Rising
  • The Giant's House
  • Rescue Me
  • The Man Who Ate the 747
Ann Packer is the acclaimed author of two collections of short fiction, Swim Back to Me and Mendocino and Other Stories, and three bestselling novels, The Children's Crusade, Songs Without Words, and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, which received the Kate Chopin Literary Award, among many other prizes and honors. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and in the O. Henry Prize Stories anth ...more
More about Ann Packer...

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“Meaning bad isn't the issue. Meaning you do what you do. Not without consequences for other people, of course, sometimes very grave ones. But it's not very helpful to regard your choices as a series of right or wrong moves. They don't define you as much as you define them” 0 likes
“Lonely is a funny thing," she said slowly. "It's almost like another person. After a while, it'll keep you company if you'll let it.” 0 likes
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