These are reviews originally posted to Amazon as customer reviews. They're intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. (Apologies for any typos, bad grammar, or offensive language.) This isn't sponsored by Amazon or represent them in any way, although they do have a very nice site and I recommend checking it out for your next book purchase. Feel free to comment on the books if you've read them or tell me how much my reviews suck or whatever.
That is all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist: A Novel by Anne Tyler

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

April 11, 2005

Having just read Tyler's "Breathing Lessons" and loved it, I decided to give "Accidental Tourist" a try and was disappointed. As engrossed as I was in the narrative about Macon, I didn't think things really panned out in the end. The set-up was too long and not very interesting--I think the book could have started around page 100 with no ill effects--but then when Macon and Muriel begin their Odd Couple relationship things get more interesting. But then suddenly Macon is going back to his wife and the whole build-up seemed to collapse.

I guess the suddenness of his decision is what surprised me as it seemed to come pretty much out of the blue as they say. Then at the end he makes another snap decision to change course. I'm never happy with such snap decisions in a book because it always seems to me that if the character is going to do things almost randomly they could do so at the beginning and save me the trouble of reading.

A real weakness, perhaps intentional, was that when Macon goes to London, Canada, and then Paris the descriptions never seem to put me in the place so it seems as though the whole thing were written by someone who had never been to any of those places. This vagueness could have been intentional because the point of Macon's guidebooks is to visit other places without feeling you've gone anywhere, but it's still disappointing to have a story in these locations but to never feel as if I've seen them at all.

The strength of the story is in the characters as was the case in "Breathing Lessons". Although Macon's life is pretty dull, his various quirks are interesting and while his relationship to Muriel is pretty ordinary, the roundedness of the characters makes the story compelling for the most part. The only reason to keep reading the book is because I want to know what's going to happen to these people.

I haven't seen the movie version of this so I'm not sure how it stacks up, but the book is a character-driven yarn that sometimes seems more like a yawn and in the end doesn't add up to a whole lot. It's the kind of book where if you're looking for high excitement or enlightenment, look elsewhere.

No comments: