The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Barrett’s Bookshelf: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

December book review

This past summer, I spotted a copy of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett in the Brookline Bookshop in Brookline, Massachusetts, and I had to grab it! I’ll admit I was perplexed at the title at first, but I couldn’t pass up an Ann Patchett essay collection.

I started reading it on the back end of my trip and found that I couldn’t put it down. From detailing her life as a pre-famed novelist and essayist as a grad student and waitress at TGI Fridays to recounting her and her husband’s many adventures, like flying old planes together, this compilation of essays takes readers on a wild ride of inspiration and intense thought.

One of my favorite essays from this collection was “The Wall” in which she details her experience training for and taking the test to become a member of the NYPD for a sort of investigative novel project. Her father was the captain of the force in the 1960s, taking a big role in the Manson Family case. Taking her father’s life’s work as inspiration, she set out to write a novel analyzing why people are interested in working for the LAPD.

To do this, she trains hard to take both the physical and written tests, even accompanying her father’s friends on calls. The essay, which is on the longer side, is extremely entertaining and delves into the history of the department, police brutality, and the dynamic between a father and a daughter which are more similar than they realize.

Patchett is also transparent with her readers when detailing the process of becoming a successful writer. She makes it clear that it is a long and treacherous journey with no guarantee for success, but the feeling of having a piece published, whether it be in a magazine or as a personal novel, is so rewarding.

She still encourages students and adults to write with this advice in mind, “What begins as something like a dream will in fact stay a dream forever unless you have the tools and the discipline to bring it out.”

I strongly recommend checking this essay collection out along with any other novels by Ann Patchett. Her work is versatile in topic, so there is something for everyone! 

On the 11th, I’m actually going to meet her at a book talk in Baltimore. I absolutely cannot wait! More about that next month!

Happy reading!

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About the Contributor
Laurel Rose Barrett
Laurel Rose Barrett, Editor-in-Chief
I'm Laurel Barrett, and I am in my second year as the Editor-in-Chief of The Chomp! I am currently a junior, and my favorite subjects are English and Science. My hobbies are reading, writing, and creating artistic projects, like posters and models. I am a lawyer in Mock Trial, a President of Book Club, and I am an NJ-JCL Executive Board Officer. I'm also a member of Latin Club, NHS, World Language Honors Society, and Gateway's Mentor Program. Additionally, I am the social media manager of a NJ non-profit called P.U.R.E. Girls, Inc. and enjoy volunteering at Angels Community Outreach. I plan to become a patent lawyer in the future and practice somewhere in New England. I look forward to interviewing featured teachers, writing opinion pieces, and creating book reviews for The Chomp this year! If you want to join our team, feel free to email me @[email protected].
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