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Terms of Endearment Paperback – 1989

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671682083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671682088
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
"THE SUCCESS of a marriage invariably depends on the woman," Mrs. Greenway said. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Every novelist of note has at least one work that represents the low mark in that author's career. With Larry McMurtry, I thought that novel was "Moving On", a lumbering work of uninteresting characters, rediculous plot lines and a writing style that could only be described as sophomoric. Then McMurtry decided to re-visit some of the characters of that earlier novel, throw in a few more from "All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers" and complete his so-called "Houston Trilogy". You would think that with the tepid results of the first two novels he would have given up on his idea and returned to the area that he can really write about: the vanishing frontier. But no, he had to finish his trilogy. In his preface to the book (an act of unmitigated audaciousness, by the way; as if the novel deserved a preface and as if the women characters created here could somehow be in the same league as Emma Bovary or Anna Karenina), McMurtry remarked that the novel was about the dilemma in which many women find themselves: stuck with a boring husband who happens to be a pretty good father. He questions, "Emma might with luck find a better husband than Flap, but can she realistically expect to better him as a father? Is anyone apt to love the kids as much as he does?" Only if he had written about that dilemma. On second thought, that dilemma never existed in the first place because Flap is not a good father and spends as much time away from home as he does with the family.
Instead the reader is "treated" to the story of an aging widow, Aurora Greenway, and her equally aging suitors and the activities that surround her vapid existence in 1960s Houston.
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By A Customer on June 25 2003
Format: Paperback
This novel is comprised of two parts. The first 9/10 of the book is basically a very long character development on Aurora Greenway, a spoiled Houston widow with no shortage of "suitors" who adore her and put up with her egomania and fits of exceedingly bad behavior. The remaining 1/10 of the book focuses primarily on Aurora's daughter Emma, who lives through a bad marriage and a series of disappointing affairs only to die of cancer slowly, surrounded by her mother, children, husband and lover.
The first part of this book was pretty entertaining. Aurora was someone who I would want to strangle in real life, but her suitors and housekeeper Rosie kept things rolling. I especially liked Vernon, her Texas millionaire oilman. However, no characters really seemed to do anything--just sit around having dinner parties, going out to breakfast, and generally behaving like spoiled brats at all times between and during.
If you have seen the movie by the same name, you know that the movie focuses mainly on this last 1/10 of the book--Emma's dramatic demise. I don't intend to make light of anyone's suffering, and certainly not of cancer, but this part of the book was overdone to the extreme, much like the Bette Midler movie "Beaches." I hate books and movies that seem to be written solely with the intention of getting a cheap cry out of you, and that's they way this part of the book read to me. Emma's speech to her son Tommy about how he should be nice to her because 10 years from now he will look back and regret mistreating her on her deathbed made me cringe.
I had a hard time accepting this book's structure. So little happened in the majority of the novel and so much happened at the end. The akward structure and forced tearjerking made me less appreciative of all the good writing that came before the sapply finale. I have to admit that this book kept me entertained, but great literature it's not.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of Larry McMurtry, and am amazed at the amount of quality material he has cranked out over the years. Be it with his "Lonesome Dove" series, or his more contemporary novels such as this one, there always seems to be parts of the story that make one despair about life in general. There is usually death of some kind. While many authors will write something 'redeeming' about a death, McMurtry will tend to show the stark fact that life goes on, and often a death is indeed a big waste. Cruel as it sounds, it is probably more real than we'd like to admit, and for that, I like his work.
While this novel doesn't contain the wholesale slaughter of his westerns, there is enough pain to carry the story in his manner described above. What makes the book great is how he takes a pair of characters who are not that pleasant a couple, and makes us really care for them. Aurora, the widowed mother, is an overweight, overbearing woman who constantly cajoles those close to her. Her daughter Emma, also overweight and seemingly without focus in life, is not exactly someone you're gonna turn the TV on to see. One is tempted to close the book early on and look for more uplifting characters, but McMurtry hooks you, first with comedy, then tragedy.
I was surprised to see how much I grew to like Aurora by the end of the book, and have sympathy for Emma. There is a method to Aurora's rudeness. For example, being a widow, she has a handful of male suitors. At first I was wondering what all these older guys saw in her, as elderly guys, by sheer numbers, would have the pick of much more numerous older ladies. We see how she keeps them at arm's length, and as the book goes on, we see how they fit into their lives.
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