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Listen to the Marriage

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,801 ratings  ·  347 reviews
A riveting drama of marital therapy

Gretchen and Steve have been married for a long time. Living in San Francisco, recently separated, with two children and demanding jobs, they’ve started going to a marriage counselor. Unfolding over the course of ten months and taking place entirely in the marriage counselor’s office, John Jay Osborn’s Listen to the Marriage is the story
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Picador USA (first published October 23rd 2018)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,801 ratings  ·  347 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition takes a saint to read “Listen To A Marriage”....or a masochist.....not sure which.......NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD grueling patience!!!
It’s draining and exhausting. Your emotions will be tested. You’ll pretty much hate every character at least once. Best way to avoid this situation that Steve and Gretchen are in....never get married!

All that said.....if you are willing to suffer a little — not be extremely miserable — but be a fly on the wall while Gretchen & Steve sit through their
Jennifer Tam
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me - someone who is just starting the divorce process after 3 years of separation and several tries at marriage counseling - and being sad about it al - this was a very insightful and captivating read - tough at times - but I read about it right when it came out and knew I wasn’t ready to read it anytime sooner and this was the right time for me and I got something out of it
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars. I so wanted to love this book but I just couldn't. It's probably just me because there are a lot of 5 star ratings for this book.
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book GRIPPED ME. When I started reading I just couldn’t put it down.
This book follows the marriage counseling sessions of two successful-on-paper adults as they navigate marriage and love post-betrayal. What I loved about this book was that it was all told through the marriage counselor’s perspective. Everything that “happened” in this book, happened through the eyes of Sandy, the therapist. What made this book so engaging to read, for me, was this interesting narrative tool that Sandy’s
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
If you like to delve into something different now and then you can’t go wrong with this book. It was a really fascinating insight into the intricate dance between a husband and wife and their marriage therapist.

Based wholly in the therapist’s rooms the narrator is the therapist and it switches from first to third person. It flows well, we get to hear the counsellor speak to the couple but then also see her inner thoughts. Which are often brutally honest.

The couple, separated and at first
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In “Listen to the Marriage” (2018) by award winning author John Jay Osborn: a professional couple from San Francisco, Gretchen and Steve, explore the problems, difficulties and challenges that led to their marital separation. This exceptionally written novel of observational narrative takes place in the office of a highly skilled marital therapist. It is apparent how quickly and easily marriage can be side tracked and derailed: as new ideas, methods and options are presented in dealing with ...more
Lorri Steinbacher
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in prepub. Pub date October 2, 2018.

I was hesitant, but I ended up really liking this examination of a single marriage, within a single room, because as unique as Gretchen and Steve's marriage is, that is how universal it is. I started out feeling like a voyeur and ended up in the same state as the therapist, hoping those two crazy kids make it.

All of the "action" of the novel takers place outside of the immediate narrative, all of the emotional "work" takes place in the marriage
I am quoting my lovely reading friend 's review when I start this review.

" takes a saint to read “Listen To A Marriage”....or a masochist.....not sure which.......NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD grueling patience!!!"

I am not a saint, or a masochist, or do I have the patience. I would only fully read this book if it was the last one on earth. (as it was I read the first 100 pages and skimmed the last 100).

First, the book is misnamed. It should be called Talk About a Marriage... and talk, and
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was interested in the idea of this novel when I first started it - a couple who has separated going to marriage therapy. But then the same scene kept repeating with not a lot of change or forward momentum. I kept expecting the therapist to snap or reveal something about her own life, to give me some reason for continuing, but I was let down in the end. Maybe as a short story it could have worked, or maybe with more showing instead of telling (since everything has already happened by the time ...more
Kasa Cotugno
At times, Listen to the Marriage reminded me of In Treatment, the HBO series starring Gabriel Byrne, in which most of the action takes place within the therapist's office. But here we have an in depth analysis of only one couple, Gretchen and Steve, who as the book begins are already living separately. Sandy, their counselor, has issues of her own which are revealed to the reader, but also surprisingly at times to her clients. To someone not versed in therapy or who has never had this ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, 2018
What can a marriage withstand? When do you throw in the towel? How do you fix what is broken? How do you get to the place where it is safe to start over?
I hesitated to read this book after seeing reviews that said it was "slow moving". I however did not find this to be the case. In my opinion Listen to the Marriage was a character study. One that was admittedly at times uncomfortable. It had me squirming in my seat while Sandy the counselor proceeded to lead the conversation in directions that
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So what did I think? I think I may need counseling after reading this book! Taking place over a period of 10 months and solely in a counselor’s office we read about a marriage that is falling apart and a counselor who attempts to make the couple see their true selves. Frankly I was annoyed with this childish young couple, their conversation , whining, finger pointing, and affairs. I just had no sympathy for them. Sandy, the counselor, was a bit too bizarre for me and she’s the one that I felt ...more
Alison Hardtmann
I picked this book up off of my local library's New Books shelf based on the cover art and the concept -- that this is a novel set in a marriage counselor's office and centers on a single, troubled marriage. And, as happens most of the time when I chose a book this way, the experience of reading this book was decidedly mixed.

Gretchen and Steve are separated, contemplating divorce. Steve's a high powered executive and Gretchen is a university professor. They have two kids. Steve had an affair
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
“I honestly don’t know, I’d like him to suffer but he seems to be immune to suffering. He seems to always land on his feet.”

Listen to the Marriage made me realize I would make a terrible therapist, I was so fed up with their issues. You can see all the problems from the outside, of course it’s entirely different when you’re in it. This is the story of Gretchen and Steve, their marriage has fallen apart and it isn’t for any one reason, it never
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
Interesting premise, but the writing (nearly all dialogue) felt inauthentic. To me, and maybe it's just me, it didn't sound or feel like how people speak & have conversations. It read like a poorly written sitcom, looking for dramatic plot points. There is a lot of whining, yes, and complaining, and some character growth (also interesting is how the author decided to make the man less emotionally intuitive than the female, but I guess that's the stereotype). The story does get repetitive; ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed this from the “Just In” library shelf last week. I loved the title and the cute, little size of the book. Then it showed up on NPR’s book concierge so I was doubly interested! And I was not disappointed. This book reads like the Esther Perel podcast (or, like, any interview with her). I absolutely loved it.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
"Steve had an investment. Gretchen had an option. They had so much to learn about how to speak about love, Sandy thought. But they were trying."

I have always thought that it would be so interesting to be a therapist and to be able to help people learn to listen and communicate. I like to watch relationship boot camp shows and am a big Esther Perel fan. This book was right up my alley.

This novel is about Gretchen and Steve and their weekly visits to the marriage therapist. There were some
Jill Meyer
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I read a novel and wonder why the novelist chose to write that story, using those characters. That was my first thought after finishing John Jay Osborn's new book, "Listen to the Marriage". The story is that of three people - two unhappily married and the third the marriage counselor they've hired to help them - and a room with four chairs. Three of the chairs are the same in color and style, while the fourth is totally different. The three people sit in the three same chairs, while ...more
Thanks to Goodreads and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for this ARC.

I have to be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book since I thought it would be boring about a separated couple and their marriage counselor in one room, taking place over a period of 10 months. It was interesting to say the least and the animosity of this couple with each other. Gretchen was the angry and aggressive one especially with Sandy, the marriage counselor, always challenging her but in the end she softened
This book begins as a great concept, listening to the sessions during marriage counseling as a "fly on the wall." However, it soon becomes tedious and repetitive. I feel that this might have been improved if it were extended to the actual experiences that the couple had as they made their way through the sessions, but it actually felt claustrophobic to me. Characters were mentioned and dropped with no development, including those involved with the therapist, which never would have occurred in ...more
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I thought it was a fabulous premise, this book didn't thrill me. Drawn out, it just seemed forced.
Thanks to author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
Kaeleigh Reynolds
WOW amazing - a huge story in one little room!
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Through marriage counseling sessions, we see how this separated couple goes through crisis. Honestly I do not understand how they were able to go out with someone else other than their partners, but the reasoning was quite interesting and how they consider and accept the partners adultery.

I received an ARC copy form the NetGalley and this is my sincere review.
I enjoyed reading someone else’s problem.
So John Asborne is my all time favourite Author, his writings are extraordinary magnificent and marvellous, they really enchant my mind while reading and all his novels are page-turning!
Listen To The Marriage is just another masterpiece from him and it really didn't dissapoint me at all! I think this is the best romance-break up novel that I've read so far!
It really has difficult choices, and mixed emotions within the novel and I highly recommend you to read it!
The most important about the
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2019
What is this book, exactly? It’s kind of like listening to one of Ester Perel’s podcast episodes of “Where Should We Begin?” A marriage has exploded due to infidelity and lack of honesty. They come to this counselor’s office. It all takes place in the office, and is primarily dialogue. And I guess that’s the limitation of this book: the story isn’t rich enough. If an amazing book about the story of a marriage on the brink (The Department of Speculation, by Jenny Offill, comes to mind) is a 5 ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: february-2019
Thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux for giving me access to Listen to the Marriage in exchange for an honest review.

Listen to the Marriage read more like a play than a novel. Sandy is a marriage counselor for Gretchen and Steve and the entire novel takes place over 10 months. Never once is there a scene outside the couselor’s walls and we only know what they choose to share in sessions.
Gretchen and Steve have been married for a while, both successful and have two kids. When Gretchen learns of
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was blown away by this little book. It’s no small feat to be able to create a captivating novel taking place entirely in one room, but John Jay Osborn manages to do just that. This really is “an emotional character study for voyeurs” as Audible Editor Michael Collina states. Thanks almost entirely to the realistic and compelling characters who evolve with each page, Listen to the Marriage proves to be a high point in 2018 literature.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting format. The entire storyline takes place in the office of Sandy, the therapist who is trying to keep a marriage together. Each chapter is a different session; often both Gretchen and Steve, but sometimes one or the other will have a private session as they try to decide to stay together or not.

Thanks NetGalley for the chance to read the advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion.
Kari Yergin
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a couple who go to marriage counseling for help. Neither of them are very likable characters. I didn't really feel sorry for either one of them, and found them both annoying. I expected there to be more of a story about the therapist, Sandy, as we got a few hints at her life. I actually thought some specific things were going to develop, but none of them did. I won't bore you with what my thoughts were on that subject, but I think they would have made the book more ...more
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