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Marry Me

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
A deftly satirical portrait of life and love in a suburban town as only Updike can paint it.

Updike's eighth novel, subtitled "A Romance" because, he says, "People don't act like that any more," centers on the love affair of a married couple in the Connecticut of 1962. Unfortunately, this is a couple whose members are married to other people. Suburban infidelity is familiar
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Paperback, 252 pages
Published 1977 by Penguin books (first published 1976)
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Caitlin
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all the reviews of this book before picking it at the book store. Now that I'm finished with it, I have to say I'm a little disappointed in a lot of you.

The reason I actually read it despite the reviews was that like most of John Updike's books, once I started I couldn't put it down. I was literally standing in the book store aisle, 20 pages in and realized I didn't want to stop reading.

John Updike has such a beautiful way of describing things. I love the settings he establishes, the char
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Mark Merenda
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Updike was the Mozart of modern American literature. There was nothing that he could not do well. This book is fascinating, quite apart from his wonderful prose style. It apparently is closely based on an actual affair that almost blew Updike's first marriage apart. He alludes to it in his book "Self-Consciousness", saying something along the lines of "I tried to break out of my marriage and failed." He did not publish the book "for personal reasons" while married to his first wife, but bro ...more
Malaya
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marriage, if it is lived honestly, holds a mirror to our faces. It shows us who we really are. Romance shows us who we'd like to be.

Sometimes the pain of facing ourselves in marriage is so great that we seek an outside romance through which to lie to ourselves, or obtain a reprieve from our true selves - a place to hide in a candlelit glow. We run from our "Ruth," the truth, to a safer view.

Although many times the book offended me - it was ugly, the language could sometimes bite - Updike showe
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Angelina Rotenhajzer
Well, wonderful. Despite the authors making a joke he called it a 'romance' because people didn't behave that way any more, the book is acutely correct in its understanding of the evolution of human desire and the description of the mental angst when facing the consequences. The characters' behaviour is nauseating, irritating, trying the readers' patience by being so understanding towards each other it leaves every one of them too many options. The multiple choice and indecision throughout the p ...more
D
May 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rather boring exhaustive description of an affair between two
married people that may or may not end with a divorce and, possibly,
a wedding. Of the four characters involved, the adulterers stand out
as being influenced by religion and rather stupid.


I found one memorable quote, though:


[He was seven.] He was the most logical of their children and
without a theory of 'jokes' grown-ups would not have fitted into
his universe at all.
Mark
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
More than thirty years ago I read Marry me and it made a big impression on me. Rereading it all these years later was a sheer pleasure. It is Updike’s typical stomping ground: couples, marriages and adultery in a middleclass setting. I remember an interview in which Updike said of this subject matter: ‘If I haven’t exhausted it, then it certainly has exhausted me’.

In Marry me the story is about the married couples Jerry and Ruth and Richard and Sally. It is set in the early sixties in a small t
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alice brightman
good, very good. but a fluffy last chapter that made me end the book being incapable of either remembering the good parts, or liking any of the characters
Yulia
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could anyone explain to me what happened in the last two chapters? I just couldn't understand what Updike intended by them.
Cassandra
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it. and wanted to die after I finished. bleak. raw. jerry conant is a motherfucker. put me on suicide watch for an hour and hide the liquor. jesus.
Bruce Beckham
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve realised that John Updike is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, for me, he’s like Earl Grey, which I spend far too much of each day drinking. To date, I’m neither tea’d out, nor Updiked out.

Marry Me is set in the mid-seventies, in a small coastal town somewhere outside of New York City. In a nutshell it is about two couples, Jerry & Ruth, and Richard & Sally. Jerry & Sally are having a heavy-duty affair; Ruth & Richard once had a lite version (unbeknown to their partners).

M
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Rebecca F.
Overall a decent representation of what Updike can do -- but certainly not his best. Much of the content in this book will be familiar to regular Updike readers -- marital problems, infidelity, inner conflict, obsession with questions of death and God. Bright spots are the many majestic metaphors done with classic Updike panache. He has such an incredible eye for connecting the physical world to the psychological/emotional in a unique and moving way. Main characters here resemble the major playe ...more
Maia
Apr 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 60s-70s, mad-men
Between 3 and 3.5 stars for this, but settled for 3 because, despite the obvious strength of talent, Updike as always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth afterwards--and not an insightful 'wow!' kind of bad taste either.

I've long had issues with Updike, even before college, and now he's finally dead (and nifty male reviewers, esp of his own generation or near it, can stop the accolades except from a distance) I really do wonder for how long and just how profoundly his reputation will remain a
...more
Jen
Jun 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is depressing. The worst perspective on marriage I've ever read. Honestly, it is so far from what my relationships with men have been like that it didn't come across as real. But then, I've been faithful to my husband for 17 years.

A great book to read if you are considering an adulterous affair, because you'll run away from that lover faster than I got this book out of the way (2 days). I would have never finished it if it weren't the book up for discussion this month. I'm interested
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Jennifer
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lapl, kindle
This reads more like a play than a novel. And felt like a riff on the "No Exit" theme- hell is living with other people or living in a love triangle for the rest of your life. The whole book had an overwrought, over-analyzed, Woody Allen kind of indecisiveness. He wants his mistress, he wants his wife, he wants his mistress, he wants his wife. I don't think I've ever read a book that seemed so real and unreal at the same time. I kept thinking: Is this what marriage was really like in America whe ...more
Linda DiMeo Lowman
I did not like this book and that's disappointing because I've read other John Updike books and liked them. Two of the three main characters have no redeeming qualities and are immature adults with children. The premise of this book is that women must have a man, preferably a husband, or their lives are over. I know the book was written in 1976, but seriously, that's a ridiculous story line. Finally, the end is not an end--it is three endings, none of which I liked. What a copout.
Ármin Scipiades
I read this for the first time in Hungarian, when I was a teenager. It confused the shit out of me. Figured I'd give it another go now, in the original language, more than fifteen years later, armed with life experiences and stuff! It confused the shit out of me.

It's a jarring, depressing, exhausting, bleak, horrible book. But isn't it the task of art to show you just how bleak and horrible the life you're living really is? To show you uncomfortable truths, to make your eyes open up, to stir up
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Cathryn Conroy
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is titled "Marry Me: A Romance," but it should be titled "Marry Me: Anatomy of an Affair." It's 1962. Jerry and Ruth are married with three children. Richard and Sally are married with three children. They live rich, privileged, affluent lives in a rich, privileged and affluent Connecticut town. Jerry and Sally have an affair. The first two chapters detail that affair--mostly lots of sex in lots of places. And angst. Lots of angst, too. Then we see the affair through the eyes of Ruth. ...more
Kaiva Koenig
I started out disliking this novel, the reading prodded along from one awfully dull page to another, the viewpoint character (Jerry) was so unpleasant I didn't want to know him. Until I got to the meat of the story, which is all in Ruth's very agreeable, normal POV! :-) Then I loved it. Updike created a wonderfully realistic contemporary romantic comedy, just perfect for readers who like their romance with a touch of cynical reality.
Anne
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exploration of Mad Men era adultery and its aftermath. Really didn't know how it would end. Do the lovers break up? Do the marriages fail? Will there be any new relationships? Contemporary questions, for all eras. I liked it.
Nicole
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Updike, and "Marry Me", being the fourth novel of his that I have read, solidified that love even more. I love his darkness, his black sense of humor, the painful and soulless truth of being married in America. Right on, John.
Gemma Williams
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of adultery and betrayal featuring a quartet of rather horrible, selfish, self-obsessed hysterical neurotics, detailing the twists and turns of their hideously sticky and compromised relationships. It would be vile, but Updike really can write like a dream.
Rachel
Feb 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i wanted to read one of john updike's books while he was still alive. you know, in case i got a chance to chat with him about it.

reading this book is my way of saying "crap, you are dead"
barrieboy
Sep 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book solely because it was part of a 400 plus collection of unread books I've amassed since the 1970's, and now that I've retired have promised to read each and every one of them. Big mistake! Struggled to page 70 and gave up, and then unfortunately remembered my promise. What a depressing, sordid collection of morally-bankrupt characters. Jerry for one should have been put down at birth...what a whinging, immature, miserable foul-mouthed soul he was...I wouldn't dream of speaki ...more
Herman
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bij toeval op dit 'oudje' gestuit. En met plezier gelezen. Updike heeft een soepele, rijke stijl vol vaart en humor. Het gehannes in relaties wordt door hem messcherp neergezet en hij weet van zijn personages echte mensen te maken. Vond het eind niet helemaal in lijn met de rest van het boek, anders waren het misschien wel vijf sterren geworden.
Melisa Wells
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read many of Updike’s books thirty years ago and recently decided to revisit them to see if I would still enjoy his work after having aged three decades, and I do. This 1960s infidelity story was fascinating and beautifully written. It was also a great reminder of what traditional gender roles were in the mid-20th century and how far we’ve come since then. Once I started it I could put it down.
Svetlana
Этот роман читала уже дважды. Про мужика, который бросил жену и ушел к любовнице. А жена его все хотела вернуть. (причем у жены уже был роман с мужем мужниной любовницы, причем уже давно). Короче, чем это все закончилось –муж женился на любовнице, и вроде бы они даже жили нормально. А может и не очень. Мораль мне непонятна. Я уже вообще не понимаю, каким должен быть хороший брак.
Hella
Le schermaglie tra loro quattro, le indecisioni, gli insulti mascherati in un palcoscenico di perbenista provincia americana.
La scrittura è intrigante, nel mio secondo tentativo mi ha catturata e non mi ha lasciata fino alla fine.
Come prima prova, è stata superata.
Nikoleta
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Рут заговори на френски с него и Джери се запита каква е тази странна жена до него, която може да държи цял един език затворен в себе си." - с. 214
Denise
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh, actually ugh! I was looking forward to reading Updike. I really wanted to like this book,just couldn't get past his portrayal of women , a definite struggle to get through.
milea
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
История от живота - толкова рядко четем толкова хубаво пресъздадена
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John Hoyer Updike was an American writer. Updike's most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike. Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class," Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, havin ...more
“it was somehow wonderful of her to be, in every detail, herself.” 6 likes
“Sweetie, the bluebird has flown. We're too young to sit around the rest of our lives waiting for it to fly back in the window. It won't. It can't fly backwards.'

He was using his hands again in that disagreeable stagey way, and Ruth was angered by the flicker of conceit in his expression when he struck upon the image of the bluebird fying backwards - a piece of animation on the screen of his face.”
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