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Terms of Endearment

(Houston Series #3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  23,878 ratings  ·  391 reviews
An Oscar-winning story of a memorable mother and her fiesty daughter who find the courage and humor to live through life's hazards and to love each other as never before. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove created two characters who won the hearts of readers and moviegoers everywhere--Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Orion Publishing Group (first published 1975)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  23,878 ratings  ·  391 reviews

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I just finished off this novel with a session of sobbing that could easily rival a graveside funeral of a beloved friend.

I'm not kidding. What I just went through was the total opposite of a good cry.

It was fitting, though. This has been an incredible journey, one that I started with Larry McMurtry in July of this year.

You see. . . Terms of Endearment and The Evening Star are two of McMurtry's best known novels, but many readers don't realize that they are actually books #3 and #6 of his Housto
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had never seen the movie & before doing so I picked up this book by the writer of Lonesome Dove. That work cannot be too easily compared to this estrogen-drenched Fem-Power! novel which paints its heroine Aurora Greenway as a sassy matriarch deeply afraid of becoming a grandmother & too selfaware of her love life to stop & help all of her sisters in plight: mainly, her daughter and her maid, who suffer at the hands of stupid husbands. Aurora has all the suitors eating right out of her hand. Th ...more
Joe Valdez
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-general
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
“It was inconsiderate, she thought, how blandly people mentioned the future in the sick rooms. Phrases like next summer were always popping out; people made such assumptions about their own continuity.”

Terms of Endearment is a movie I grew up on and adored. I admit that even though I know every bit of dialogue by now that comes up during the sad scenes, I still sob like a baby during a couple of emotionally crushing scenes.

Terms of Endearment the novel earned my biggest disappointed rating of
Martie Nees Record
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Genre: Comedy-Drama
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1975

You have seen the movie and probably read the book (they are dissimilar). So you are probably familiar with the author, Larry McMurtry’s, two characters Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma. Aurora, a well-to-do widow, “is the kind of woman who makes the whole world orbit around her, including a string of devoted suitors.” Emma, as her mother feels, married beneath her, which is a constant source of friction between them—the l
Apr 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I am sorry to say I have DNF'd this one. I resolve to give any book 100 pages to engage with me, and if it doesn't, I move on. Perhaps if I had not just pushed myself through Lolita, I might have pushed myself to finish this one because it was a group read, but alas I did not.

I have read McMurtry books that were wonderful, but this one left me not only flat, but thoroughly aggravated. I did not care for Aurora, I felt rather inclined to strangle her just to shut her up. Then it occurred to me t
Fred Shaw
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful work of fiction. Tragic yet full of humor. McMurtry’s brilliance are his storytelling and his characters. He makes me laugh, cry and miss his beloved characters eternally. My two favorite McMurtry characters are Augustus McRae from Lonesome Dove and Aurora Greenway from Terms of Endearment. Read and enjoy!
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: us
Something I needed - a grasping novel with people in it. Possibly the first time when I identified with the mother rather than her adult daughter (but the mother being quite immature, this does not strike me as very odd...)
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book, although it was a surprisingly light type of enjoyment. It's very funny and, as is typical with a McMurtry book, I loved the characters very much. Vernon was a particular favorite but they were all really wonderful.

I've only seen the movie once or twice so I'm curious to see what people have to say about the book vs movie. The book is mostly about Aurora, with occasional forays into Emma's and some of Aurora's suitors' POVs. Aurora is a vibrant and mercurial chara
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have read by Larry McMurtry, but it won’t be my last! You can tell immediately that the author is a screenwriter because much of the book is conversations between the characters- Interesting, diverse conversations!!

Aurora, is such a unique, memorable character. Having seen the movie, I could not help thinking of Shirley MacLaine as I was reading. Once you read this book, Aurora Greenway will be one of those characters that you will always remember, much like an Olive Kit
Jonathan K
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having recently read "Lonesome Dove" I realized it had been many years since I'd first read this book. A film buff the Oscar winning movie is memorable, especially Shirley McClain's characterization of Aurora Greenwood, one of the most unique characters every created by any author. I'd forgotten the character Jack Nicholson plays in the film isn't originally in the book, though the trio of Aurora's suitors are just as quirky and would love to have seen them in the film. Regardless Larry shows wh ...more
Renita D'Silva
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Witty, poignant, searing, heartbreaking. Loved it.
I honestly didn't like it, but it intrigued me enough to want to know how it ends, so I did finish it, and gave it 1 star for that.

I didn't feel like any of the characters were remotely likeable. The women who were married were all in terrible marriages with abuse of some sort. The fact that they never left of their own accord makes me wonder about the author's attitudes towards marrriage and towards women. The men were largely useless - either lazy, abusive, aggressive, or undeveloped and ignor
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
McMurtry reminds me a little of John Irving in that he will take a character, usually a secondary one and give this whole rambling back story that can be really boring but works for them.
Terms of Endearment was marketed as a mother-daughter story but I think it was more about Aurora. She is CLASSIC! she comes across as confident and witty and whip-smart (which she is) but really the overconfidence is covering major insecurity. She needs men to make her feel powerful and sexy. She needs to be wa
Peter Tillman
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
About the only thing I remember about this one is a wealthy oilman who lives in a Lincoln Continental that’s parked on the twenty-fourth floor of a parking garage he owns in downtown Houston. He spends a lot of time on his car phone, a rare & expensive luxury in those days.

Here's TX Monthly again,
"The New York Times critic Janet Maslin was so impressed at his ability to capture the inner lives of women in Terms of Endearment that she would later seek to
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aurora Greenway is one of the best characters ever written, in my eyes. She cracked me up. While she wasn't always a commendable friend, mother, lover or even person, she was human, flawed and still tried to do her best.

The only reason this book doesn't get 5 stars is because I didn't see enough reaction from Aurora with what happend at the end (no spoilers!). I would have liked to see perhaps more remorse- I think I wanted to cry but instead the ending didn't make much of an impact on me.
Lori Anderson
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I saw the movie when it first came out. It was a tear-jerker at the end. Same thing with the book--the last section is mostly in Emma's perspective and just as heartbreaking as I remember the movie was.

The most surprising thing about the book was how little it actually followed the movie. Spoiler alert--there is no Garrett Breedlove character in the book. The paperback edition I read must have come out after the movie. It had a middle section of photos of Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger and Jeff
Alex Lee
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2015
I'm not sure I understood this novel. It would be easy to dismiss the characters because they are too selfish, or too amoral. By today's standards the violence and verbal abuse seem trivalized as when it's done, the characters easily forget and bear little to no grudges. I did want to find out what was happening but in the end, it seemed all they wanted to do was mostly drink, screw, and abuse each other because someone else isn't living up to some kind of expectations.

I'm not sure how I would f
Tona Ogle
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Wasn't at all what I expected. I thought it was about the coming together and relationship between a mother and daughter when it's just about the similar screwed up lives of two old broads who happen to be mother & daughter. They're practically inconsequential to one another till the very end. ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
I laughed, I cried.

What a versatile writer!
Beth Bonini
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
In terms of the relationships between men and women, this book feels quite dated. In terms of the relationship between mother (Aurora Greenaway) and daughter (Emma Horton), I suspect that many readers will either identify with, or certainly acknowledge the truthfulness, of the portrayal. Aurora is one of McMurtry's finest characters - in a large stable of fine and memorable characters. She is a monster of selfishness in many ways: vain, idle, narcissistic, mercurial and self-indulgent. In the op ...more
Sean Meriwether
May 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Terms of Endearment is another novel, aside from the last 40 pages, that bears no resemblance to the movie adaptation. Where the movie defined the “chick flick” genre, the novel is decidedly less weepy. In the book, Aurora Greenway lives in a vortex of chaos, most of which she has taken on herself. Facing the south-slope of midlife with her first grandchild on the way, Aurora is a living contradiction in terms. She’s a widow who leads on her multiple suitors but has little desire to be caught, s ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
There's another user on Goodreads who rated this two stars because the "only good things about it was the superb writing and memorable characters." I agree with her and would also add great dialogue and give it two more stars making it four. As memorable characters go Aurora Greenway is a diamond, almost vicious in her pragmatism, sharp-tongued and hilariously uncomfortable to be around. In lesser hands she may have been a cartoon but Larry McMurty is a great writer and gives depth graciously (" ...more
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Newsday says that Larry McMurtry can write convincingly from a woman's viewpoint and its so true. He must have known some woman who confided endless details. Very few men can do this. I liked the movie better than the book. There are details about many thing I would prefer not to know but he goes into them.

I heard the story about the man who drove onto the dance floor at a honky tonk but this was a different story. I wonder if it happened more than once.

This story is much too sad. Its one of th
Mar 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
All I can say is that it must have taken a screenwriter of heroic proportions to see an Oscar-winning movie from this novel. If I had never seen the movie, I wouldn't have made it as far as I did (I got one-third through the book before I gave up). I did skip to the end to find out that Emma's last days in the movie were portrayed fairly true to the book.
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x04-april-2017
I liked it more and more as it went on, but I hated Aurora for a huge chunk of the book. I probably would've liked it more if she hadn't been so much the focus of the story. McMurtry is a great writer and this book won't put me off from reading more of his novels.
Tiffany T
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
This is one of those rare times, when I love the movie more than the book.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't remember that McMurty had written this novel, but wanted to read it because I loved Lonesome Dove. This is an altogether different book which focuses on Aurora, a force of nature, an impossibly self-centered widow who has multiple suitors wishing to marry her. These suitors are very different from one another but each trying to win over Aurora who wants them all but doesn't want any of them. It's also the story of Emma, her daughter, 22, married to an ineffectual scholar-husband, Flap. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Larry McMurtry was born in Wichita Falls, Texas on June 3, 1936. He is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two essay collections, and more than thirty screenplays.

His first published book, Horseman, Pass By, was adapted into the film "Hud." A number of his other novels also were adapted into movies as well as a television mini-serie

Other books in the series

Houston Series (6 books)
  • Moving On
  • All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers
  • Somebody's Darling
  • Some Can Whistle
  • The Evening Star

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