Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

As I helped my friend M clean out her bookshelves for a move, I picked up The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler . I looked at the cover and thought "hmm...haven't I read this? I have certainly heard of it". ...Author Anne Tyler has written many books. How have I missed this author? She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her 11th novel, Breathing Lessons, for goodness sake. (my next read, BTW !) AND The Accidental Tourist was made into a movie starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. (already in my NetFlix queue) Really, never saw it and I love those two. (Remember Body Heat ?!)
So, I began the book and couldn't put it down. The story is about a travel guide writer, Macon Leary,  who does not like to travel. He visits the same countries over & over , up-dating the guides that he has already written. He travels all over world and yet never seems to see "the sights" He never ventures too far from his hotel room, checking out restaurants ( even a Burger King in France) that wouldn't be the first ones I would visit. Never anything exciting. Much like his personal life.
When his twelve year old son is killed in a random act of violence, his marrriage unravels.  His wife moves out and he ends up very weird & lonely. When it comes time to travel, he needs to kennel his dog, Edward. He meets Muriel, the quirky dog trainor who works at the kennel and by sheer audacity, she gets under Macon's skin.  She sucks him into her quirky lifestyle & crazy family and after a while, without his even knowing it, his life begins again.
This book is rich and full of all kinds of "characters". And in the end, it makes you wonder about your own life. Are you just accidentally living it?
Highly recommended.

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