While I initially found Anne Tyler's writing style dry, and her reluctance to delve into her character's psyche's disappointing, by the end of this novel, I actually began to appreciate how this approach allowed my imagination to fill in the gaps. I felt I almost knew more about the main character, Delia, by all the things she DIDN'T say, rather than by the little she did say. I also appreciated living vicariously through her when she literally walked away from her unappreciative family and began a new life apart from them. Although I was angry that she stayed away from her children as long as she did and did not even try to contact them, I did admire the courage it took (although she never did seem truly frightened)for her to take the time she needed to come to terms with herself, BY herself. Now that I think of it, however, she probably was never afraid of being on her own because she knew that help from Sam, or even her sisters, was only a phone call away. And it is that fact -- that unconditional acceptance from her family about her choice to run away -- that left me annoyed and yet just a little bit envious at this modern day fairy tale,where everything seems to turn out okay in the end. No one seems more than slightly ticked off that Delia left for a year.
She just waltzes back into everyone's life and things go on pretty much as usual. No questions (or too few, anyway) asked. Well, I guess that's why it's called fiction. Still, I would recommend this book because of its commentaries about marriage, families and not taking those we love for granted.