Tahira's Reviews > Ordinary People

Ordinary People by Judith Guest
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's review
Oct 21, 2011

really liked it

I didn't love this book, most probably because I wasn't overcome with Guest's writing style or impressed by her ability to set a particular kind of tone or mood or setting. But Guest's characters are so rich, so tender and so vulnerable, it's almost impossible not to build an imaginary relationship with them or not become attached to them. I was particularly fascinated and awed by the relationship between Conrad and his therapist. Furthermore, the sense of mourning and of loss in this novel is impeccable because it is so honest--everyone approaches grief differently and usually not in effective or productive ways.

Given the fact that the mother in this novel is so excruciatingly hard to sympathize with, it makes me wonder why Guest decided not to give her a voice of her own. That is, the voice of the novel which alternates a) between first person and third person omniscient and b) between Cal and Conrad. However, the mother does not have the opportunity to represent herself which in my opinion makes her even more insufferable.

Anyway, Ordinary People definitely left me with a heavy heart, and it was one of those novels that took some time to recover from--not because it was that depressing, but simply because it resonated so deeply with me. The bittersweet feeling is worth it.

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