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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anita Shreve is a winner again!
This is the third Anita Shreve book I've read, and they are among my favorite books every time. This tells the story of a woman escaping NYC and her abusive husband and heading to a sleepy Maine fishing town.
While the story itself is intriguing, the medium in which it is told makes the book stellar. It is told in letters to a reporter writing a story for a...
Published on June 14 2004 by smallbutfeisty

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars addendum to last review (also mine)
I'm glad someone has found my review helpful. There was too much vagueness and obscurity surrounding this plot. While in the 1970s, there were few resources for battered wives (as they were then known) and i myself spent many frustrating nights on the phone with women who were afraid for their lives and had nowhere to refer them, let alone do anything concrete to help...
Published on Dec 9 1999


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anita Shreve is a winner again!, June 14 2004
This is the third Anita Shreve book I've read, and they are among my favorite books every time. This tells the story of a woman escaping NYC and her abusive husband and heading to a sleepy Maine fishing town.
While the story itself is intriguing, the medium in which it is told makes the book stellar. It is told in letters to a reporter writing a story for a magazine. Twenty years later, the reporter is giving the interview letters to the abused woman's daughter. The interview letters are coming from the victim in jail, so that is established at the very beginning; the reader can guess what ultimately happened, but the getting there is the best part.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, July 3 2004
By 
John I. Provan "enkindu" (St. Charles, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have liked all of Anita Shreve's novels. If you are looking for a book that will be a nice easy and entertaining read during a vacation - like lets saying laying on a beach somewhere then this book or one of Anita's novels is for you. They all about love and violence. You want to know who did the crime but also will the love affair last or not.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A "movie of the week" subject, told in a different style., June 17 2004
The way the story is presented in "Strange Fits of Passion" is unusual and interesting. Shreve writes of Maureen English, alias Mary Amesbury, who is a victim of domestic violence, in an almost detached manner. Maureen/Mary has finally had enough, takes her 6-month-old daughter and a few hundred dollars in cash, and flees to a small town in northern Maine, where she lives for 6-7 weeks, until her abusive husband finds her. Each chapter is told from a different point-of-view, usually Mary's, but also that of the reporter who is writing an article on Mary, as well as that of the townspeople who live in Maine. The tale starts when Mary first meets her husband and ends after he finds her and their daughter hiding in the Maine cottage. "Strange Fits of Passion" takes place in 1970/1971, when spousal abuse was little known and rarely discussed.
Shreve's detached manner in writing the story is, I think, deliberate and is what makes the story interesting. This is not one of those cheesy "woman in jeopardy" stories, but is more a study of the effects of abuse on the victim and how she is viewed by others (and herself). There is some suspense, as we are told from the beginning that "something awful" happened the night that Mary was found by her husband, although it's not hard to figure most of what happened as the tale unfolds. Overall, "Strange Fit of Passion" is a tragedy presented in a nonjudgmental way, and one that lets the reader make up his/her own mind when it comes to the guilt or innocence and circumstances involved in the abusive relationship.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better than this..., May 14 2004
By 
MalibuRamos "MalibuRamos" (Malibu, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This is one of my favorite books, ever.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reads true to life,, May 4 2004
Lately, I have read quite a few books with this theme, and as a rule they usually read a like, but not, "Strange Fits Of Passion," by Anita Shreve. I found the characters in this book interesting, the dialogue different (had its on voice on the issue at hand), and the plot quickly pulled me into the storyline. I found the mix to be a very appealing combination.
John Savoy
Savoy International
Motion Pictures
B.H. California
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5.0 out of 5 stars haunting tale--DON'T be turned off by the theme!, Nov. 6 2003
This is a great book. Don't let the idea of a book about domestic violence turn you off. This is deftly written without a lot of actual descriptions of violence. There is a lot of other material being covered here as well. Protecting your child over protecting yourself; the nature of love; the mechanics of a small town; what motivates people to lie or twist a story; guilt, forgiveness.
Please read this. You will not regret it. It is enjoyable and philosophical.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another page-turner by Anita Shreve, Sept. 4 2003
By A Customer
Anita Shreve is my all-time favorite author. Her characters literally come alive. I feel as if I know them, as if I am one of them. Her descriptions of the settings are so real that I can see them. I can feel the cold and see the wind blowing the leaves as she describes it. This book was no different. The central character, Maureen English, could very well be my next door neighbor or my co-worker and her situation could belong to any of us.
Shreve's endings always leave you with a feeling of surprise or awe, yet this time I felt the ending was a little flat. The entire book is filled with emotional recollections regarding Maureen's situation and I breathlessly turned the pages waiting to discover her fate. However her fate and the fate of those who contributed to the story, after so much build up, was simply mentioned in passing. I felt unsatisified. I felt as if Ms. Shreve had devoted so much of herself to the building of the climax that she had no energy left to devote to the end. The important and intriguing questions that are raised by the subject matter simply disappear, like a blip on the screen, as we learn of Maureen's fate and the story ends. Anita Shreve will remain my favorite author, but her other books, Fortune's Rock, The Weight of Water (followed immediately by The Last Time They Met), and All He Ever Wanted will prove to be much more satisfying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Any violence is disturbing to a caring person but..., July 27 2003
this story by Anita Shreve grabs you and holds to the very last page and will stay with you forever. When I find an author I enjoy, I go back to the very first one written and buy all of them. I love to watch the author grow. Ms Shreve writes truly in elgaic prose and can only get better with each written word.
Murder with a Message one reviewer wrote, but such tantalizing maneuvers, such explicit descriptions, pathos and terror.
Domestic violence is never forgivable and any who reads this will want to shake Mary til she comes to her senses.
Read this wonderful book and you will be a fan of Ms Shreve's forever.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing look at domestic violence, May 21 2003
By 
J. Fercho (Calgary, AB. Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Anita Shreve is a fine author, and she again shows her talent in this early novel. Strange Fits of Passion is a well written page turner that delves into the terrifying realm of spousal abuse. The era is the late sixties and early seventies, and while domestic abuse is certainly prevalent it is rarely discussed and often quietly accepted.
Maureen English would appear to be leading the perfect life; an outwardly happy marraige to a successful journalist and a lovely new baby daughter. Behind closed doors however life for Maureen is anything but blissful. Her hard drinking husband is subjecting her to regular doses of physical and sexual violence. Terrified for the safety of herself and child, Maureen flees in the night to the relative anonimity of a small New England town. Maureen changes her name and begins to attempt to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. The facade quickly crumbles when Maureen's husband locates her and attempts to force her to come home. While very disturbing to read at times, this novel also shows us how far we have come in understanding domestic violence and it's effect on it's victims. Women who were subject to this brutality had few resources and even fewer options for help. Remember, in the era the story occurs, a man could not even techinically be charged with raping his wife in the State of Maine. While domestic violence is still prevalent, one would hope in today's era a woman would fare far better than Maureen ultimately did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating story that lets the readers think for themselves, March 29 2003
By 
I've read a few of Shreve's books and find her to be an up and down writer. Strange Fits of Passion is definitely an "up".
So many other people have summarized the plot, so I don't think that's nessecary. What I loved about this book was that nothing was black and white--there are many sides to the story and even today, it's possible that a jury/judge would convict Maureen. Maureen is one of the most realistic abuse victims that I've seen in literature. She's not perfect, which is what I love most about the book. It makes the story so much more compelling than if she'd been quiet, demure, and virginal.
Helen's character is fascinating, too, and I don't think she's nearly as bad as the book makes her out to be. She tried to show that there was more than one way of looking at the story. Shreve shows readers respect by letting them decide for themselves.
Definitely recommend this book.
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Strange Fits of Passion
Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve (Paperback - Sept. 16 2005)
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