AN EXTRAORDINARY NOVEL ABOUT AN “ORDINARY” FAMILY DIVIDED BY PAIN, YET BOUND BY THEIR STRUGGLE TO HEAL.
The Jarrets are a typical American family. Calvin is a determined, successful provider and Beth an organized, efficient wife. They had two sons, Conrad and Buck, but now they have one. In this memorable, moving novel, Judith Guest takes the reader into their lives to share their misunderstandings, pain…and ultimate healing.
The highly praised movie version of Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford, won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1980.
(c) Back cover, Ordinary People by Judith Guest, http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-People-Judith-Guest/dp/0140065172
“Admirable…touching…full of the anxiety, despair, and joy that is common to every human experience of suffering and growth.” —The New York Times
“Guest has the ability to move a toughened reviewer to tears.” —Newsweek
“A writer’s novel. A reader’s novel. A critic’s novel. A very important novel.” —Detroit Free Press
“Rejoice! A novel for all ages and all seasons.” —The Washington Post Book World
“It is difficult to realize that this is a first novel, because it is written with the simplicity of total authority…I am particularly grateful to Ms. Guest for emphasizing the human need for open grieving…(She) is one of the few writers who has dared depict this aspect of affluent suburbia…” —Madeleine L’Engle
“It’s been quite a while since I was able to simply enjoy any book remotely related to mental illness. Ordinary People disarmed me completely. It was too good a story, too well told for me to keep my distance…Judith Guest’s handling of a failed suicide’s re-entry process is quite simply the best I’ve come across…” —Mark Vonnegut, author of The Eden Express
AWARDS AND HONOURS
A New York Times bestseller
Janet Heidiger Kafka Prize for best first novel
Sold 90,000 copies in hardback
Since 1976, half a million paperback copies have been sold
In the English curriculum for most American high schools
SolMovie received the Oscar for Best Picture in 1980
Young adult fiction, ages 16-21; paperback, 272 pages.
(c) Back cover, Ordinary People by Judith Guest, and Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-People-Judith-Guest/dp/0140065172
In the beginning of this novel, the reader is unsure what’s happening, but soon they learn that Conrad is leaving a mental facility for inflicting pain on himself, essentially, a suicide attempt, for reasons that are unexplained until later on. The reader learns that the Jarret family has recently seen tragedy, when their son Buck is killed in a boating accident. Conrad takes this in the worst way possible out everyone, thinking to himself that it was his fault that Buck had died. They’d been on the boat together, and he couldn’t help but think it was all his fault. Hence, the reasons for his suicide attempt.
As is obvious, he was unsuccessful in his attempts, and was admitted to a mental hospital after treatment for his wounds, to help with the depression that he was suffering. But this story doesn’t only cover Conrad’s life–it also jumps to narrating for Calvin, the father of the boys. He’s coping with his depression in ways that a reader wouldn’t have expected. Drinking, and seeing the same psychologist as his son, but treating his wife differently is about the most obvious of the ways–he’s coping by trying to keep her closer as she gets more and more distant. This, as well, deems unsuccessful as at the climax of the novel, Beth leaves. The men are left to cope by themselves, and soon bridge the gap between them to become friends.
This is a very strong first novel that Judith Guest had some trouble getting published at first. Her publisher waited eight months before putting it out, and even then it had been 26 years before they’d published an unsolicited manuscript at Viking Press. The novel’s success proved them right in the publication, as it has not only sold almost a million copies total, but is an Oscar winner in film form and is even used in English curriculum at most American high schools. This book has come a long way since it’s first publication in 1976, and it comes with a very strong recommendation.
Overall Rating; A+
Some information (c) Wikipedia.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinary_People_%28novel%29
This book is available from Amazon.com or your local bookseller.