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Terms of Endearment

(Houston #3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  24,720 ratings  ·  500 reviews
An Oscar-winning story of a memorable mother and her feisty 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. ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Orion Publishing Group (first published 1975)
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John You can read the book as a stand-alone. What you'll miss, though, is a chance to get to know all the characters. This series of books by Larry McMurtr…moreYou can read the book as a stand-alone. What you'll miss, though, is a chance to get to know all the characters. This series of books by Larry McMurtry is referred to as The Houston Books. They not only all take place mostly in the Houston area, but they involve a cast of characters that appear, to a greater or lesser degree, in all of the books. Emma's friend PatsyCarpenter starts the series with a book of her own, Moving On. Her friends Emma Horton and Danny Deck are introduced in Moving On as well. So is Joe Percy. My memory tells me that Emma's mother, Aurora Greenway, makes a brief appearance, too, but I can't find any documentation for it right now. All of these characters will recur in the following books. Each one actually gets their own book, more or less.

The next book is All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, which features Danny Deck and Emma Horton, mostly, but also Jill Peel. Jill will get a book of her own later on.

Then we come to Terms of Endearment which features Aurora and Emma as central characters. They both have their own cast of supporting characters. Patsy Carpenter makes an appearance. This is the most famous book in the series since it was made into a hit movie.

Next is Somebody's Darling. This is Jill Peel's book, and Joe Percy, an old Hollywood screenwriter features in it as well. He is also an old friend of Patsy's.

Some Can Whistle is all about Danny Deck and his grown daughter, while Evening Star is about the later years of Aurora Greenway and some of her supporting cast.

So, yes, you can read any of the books as a stand-alone novel, but then you'd be missing out on McMurtry's signature achievement. In these books he follows the lives of a handful of people. He shows how their lives interact, how they form close friendships that fade, and how they deal with the own circumstances. In some ways these books are quite prosaic, because he is trying to be realistic and life is often boring. McMurtry makes the most of things, though, and these books are full of their own rewards. Rarely are characters examined as closely as these people. He shows them in their lives, and by carrying them over a span of books he able to convey how their lives pass through time in a convincing manner.

I recommend you read them all. (less)
Bren Coombs It's a good series and adds more depth to the story to read all of it, but this book can stand alone, as well.…moreIt's a good series and adds more depth to the story to read all of it, but this book can stand alone, as well.(less)

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  24,720 ratings  ·  500 reviews

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“She had made every effort to remain active, to keep open to life, and yet life was beginning to resist her in unexpected ways. Men, some of them decent and good, seemed to march through her life almost daily, and yet they caused so little to stir within her that she had begun to be afraid – not just that nothing would ever stir again, but that she would stop wanting it to, cease caring whether it did or not, or even come to prefer that it didn’t.”

If I didn’t have hundreds (okay, thousands) of b
Julie G ("Doctor, my eyes!"  Offline for a week)
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
Mark  Porton
"They’re doing a biopsy," Emma told him. "That’s the modern way of casting bones". YIKES!!!......You’d like to think modern laboratory medicine has trundled along a bit more than that over the past 100 years.

I won’t forget Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurty in a hurry. I was a McMurty virgin, but I can see myself loosening up in this regard, for sure!

For those who aren’t familiar, the story centres around the irrepressible Aurora, an almost 50-year old widow and her relationship with her love
Joe Valdez
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
Abandoned at pg 280.
I was expecting this to be a cross between John Updike and Cormac Macarthy. Something challenging and richly resonant. Instead it's a fluffy romcom. How much you enjoy it will depend on how charming and funny you find Aurora and her collection of male suitors. I'm afraid I must be a sourpuss because I found too much of the comedy overly slapstick for my taste. On the back cover he is praised for how well he gets women. There's truth in this. The problem was more that the wome
Because I disliked the protagonist, Aurora Greenway, so much, the first three hundred and sixty pages felt like a real chore. Most of the time I felt like throwing my copy through the window just so I’d never have to “listen” to her bullshit again.

I’ve got absolutely no complaints about the writing in general, the way the story was told or the characterisation. Oh, and as always with Mr McMurtry, the dialogue was flawless. All this was just what I came to expect from Mr McMurtry after having re
Tatevik is on semi hiatus (trying to finish PHD)
I am not a grandmother type of person, I always liked grandfathers. Women are more vicious and vengeful than men, especially when they are old. But Aurora - she is the coolest woman of certain age (I am sure she would have preferred this phrase instead of being called a grandmother), and I like her!

The last chapter was not fair. I hated that Larry McMurtry wrote that part as a post scriptum. He could have come to this part slowly. Terms of Endearment could have turned out to be another 1000-page
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 really liked it
Shelves: re-read
Genre: Comedy-Drama
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1975

Review from 2018

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 be
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
Jonathan K (Plot & Characters Matter)
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
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
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
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...)
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
Renita D'Silva
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Witty, poignant, searing, heartbreaking. Loved it.
Christine Boyer
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the first novel where I'm having some trouble deciding whether I liked it or not. Like practically everyone else, I loved McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove". So I assumed this would be great as well. And there were aspects of greatness. I love lots of dialogue and this story had it! Also, all the characters were very real and well-developed. But it just didn't grab me as I thought it would. For a fairly short book, it took me forever to read - and that says something, too. I had never seen the m ...more
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, https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-cult...
"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
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
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. ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
I laughed, I cried.

What a versatile writer!
Ben Denison
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
With the death of this great author, I figured I’d pick one of his to read next. I had already read the Lonesome Dove series, Berrybender Tales, and the first two of The Last Picture Show series. So ToE seemed appropriate for next on the list.

Not my kind of book at all, but McMurtry is such a good writer he keeps you laughing, interested, and turning pages.

Great characters who are both deeply flawed and in some way likable.
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
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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 (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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“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.” 11 likes
“That's one of the only things I look forward to about an evening like this, you know -someone to drink tea with at the end of it. For all I know, the whole point of civilization is to provide one with someone to drink tea with at the end of an evening. Otherwise you have no one with whom to talk over whatever may have happened during the evening. Dinner parties are often more fun to talk about than they are to attend - at least they aren't complete until they've been discussed.” 1 likes
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