Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: "The Accidental Tourist" by Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler, with the exception of Joyce Carol Oates, has a presence about her, at least in the world of publishing that seems almost omnipresent. So I am surprised it has taken me this long to read one of her books. And it looks like I picked a good gateway book with The Accidental Tourist, arguably her most famous book due to the Lawrence Kasden movie of the late 80’s. It has its moments of boredom, and in the end comes off as a very dry book. But it is full of emotional whimsy that seems to sprout from the oddest places, whether that be the tragedy of a middle aged couple losing their young son to a senseless violent act or the training of an overly aggressive dog. The novel begins with Macon Leary, a publisher of an anti-travel guide called The Accidental Tourist, is left by his wife due to the death of their son, who was killed while away at camp during a convenience store holdup. Macon, a man content to stay in one place as much as possible, is thrown into a tailspin, leaving him with no motivation to work or do much else. To make matters worse, his dog, Edward, whom I am ashamed to say was my favorite character, attacks everybody but him. He takes him to a trainer, Muriel, who inserts herself into his life, and begins to make changes for him he has needed in his life. There is very little action, and gets dull toward the middle, but there is a great emotional honesty in this book, and nothing ever comes off as fake or trite, even with a silly plot. With an uplifting ending, that makes up for a needlessly cruel act, this book is sure to please anyone wanting to get lost for a few days in a pleasant world.

Rating: 4/5

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