Read Marry Me: A Romance by John Updike Online


A deftly satirical portrait of life and love in a suburban town as only Updike can paint it.Updike's eighth novel, subtitled "A Romance" because, he says, "People don't act like that any more," centers on the love affair of a married couple in the Connecticut of 1962. Unfortunately, this is a couple whose members are married to other people. Suburban infidelity is familiarA deftly satirical portrait of life and love in a suburban town as only Updike can paint it.Updike's eighth novel, subtitled "A Romance" because, he says, "People don't act like that any more," centers on the love affair of a married couple in the Connecticut of 1962. Unfortunately, this is a couple whose members are married to other people. Suburban infidelity is familiar territory by now, but nobody knows it as well as Updike, and the book is written with the author's characteristic poetic sensibility and sly wit....

Title : Marry Me: A Romance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780449912157
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Marry Me: A Romance Reviews

  • Caitlin
    2019-04-22 16:28

    I read all the reviews of this book before picking it at the book store. Now that I'm finished with it, I have to say I'm a little disappointed in a lot of you.The reason I actually read it despite the reviews was that like most of John Updike's books, once I started I couldn't put it down. I was literally standing in the book store aisle, 20 pages in and realized I didn't want to stop reading.John Updike has such a beautiful way of describing things. I love the settings he establishes, the characters he creates, and the language he uses. The places are always relatable. The people are vulnerable. The words are simple and elegant. His writing makes you feel.As for the subject, just because the story is tragic and you don't agree with the decisions a character makes, doesn't make the book bad. For me, the point of reading is to experience something I wouldn't or couldn't experience in my real life. I read to escape and gain insight to the emotions of other people.Isn't it interesting to think about what someone else is thinking? Especially in a situation different than your own?

  • Mark Merenda
    2019-04-24 10:41

    John Updike was the Mozart of modern American literature. There was nothing that he could not do well. This book is fascinating, quite apart from his wonderful prose style. It apparently is closely based on an actual affair that almost blew Updike's first marriage apart. He alludes to it in his book "Self-Consciousness", saying something along the lines of "I tried to break out of my marriage and failed." He did not publish the book "for personal reasons" while married to his first wife, but brought it out in 1976 after their divorce. He said that "Sally" commented later, "We tried to do too much."The controversial ending seems perfect to me. Jerry imagines the future if he had chosen Sally, then the real aftermath of his marriage to Ruth, then...a world in which Sally remains his ideal, always just out of reach, never real, and thus never spoiled, a world in which they will always be in love, and in which he is always just about to ask her to marry him.

  • Malaya
    2019-05-10 14:36

    Marriage, if it is lived honestly, holds a mirror to our faces. It shows us who we really are. Romance shows us who we'd like to be. Sometimes the pain of facing ourselves in marriage is so great that we seek an outside romance through which to lie to ourselves, or obtain a reprieve from our true selves - a place to hide in a candlelit glow. We run from our "Ruth," the truth, to a safer view. Although many times the book offended me - it was ugly, the language could sometimes bite - Updike showed love as viewed through the lens of idealism, and love viewed through the lens of reality. He juxtaposed the two so that we could see the stark contrast between Jerry in romance and Jerry in reality - and the difference was a shock.Jerry fights between the affair in which he feels his best, and the marriage in which he has to accept who he is. He doesn't want to leave Ruth and his children because he wants to retain the illusion of being a perfect husband and father - but neither does he want to give Sally up, who believes him so.How many of us do this, in small ways? How many of us hide from facing ourselves, by criticising the other, by seeking something outside to dull the pain? How many of us are still seeking the idealized version of ourselves as the real view, or the best view, and refusing to face something that might force us to make a change?I disliked Jerry so much by the end, but mostly because I recognized something of his struggle in myself. His pursuit to see himself and be seen as a great man can be tempting. And the way he handled it, by falling in love with Sally, was his was of going out to buy a more forgiving mirror than the truth.I kept wondering what Jerry should have done - Marry Me shows the problem of his way of thinking, but what is the solution? I can only guess that it would be learning to accept the truth of himself as a warmer, truer friend than the idealistic illusions - and this would have to be done from inside. No matter who Sally was, had Jerry married her instead of Ruth, she would have shown him the truth of himself once the romance wore off. No matter who Ruth was, he would have felt dissatisfied in his marriage, because he wanted to be married to his ideal self. The only way for him to stop running would be to accept and receive the truth of himself.

  • Angelina Rotenhajzer
    2019-05-06 12:42

    Well, wonderful. Despite the authors making a joke he called it a 'romance' because people didn't behave that way any more, the book is acutely correct in its understanding of the evolution of human desire and the description of the mental angst when facing the consequences. The characters' behaviour is nauseating, irritating, trying the readers' patience by being so understanding towards each other it leaves every one of them too many options. The multiple choice and indecision throughout the plot is the reason the last chapter works so well, or is even the only way the book could have ended, though not many readers appreciated it as far as I can gather from the comments. I understand that the main point of the novel is that too much understanding between the divorcing parties does make the decision-making even more difficult and the divorce more painful, and it rang true to me.

  • D
    2019-05-19 13:13

    Rather boring exhaustive description of an affair between two married people that may or may not end with a divorce and, possibly, a wedding. Of the four characters involved, the adulterers stand out as being influenced by religion and rather stupid. I found one memorable quote, though: [He was seven.] He was the most logical of their children and without a theory of 'jokes' grown-ups would not have fitted into his universe at all.

  • alice brightman
    2019-05-07 17:13

    good, very good. but a fluffy last chapter that made me end the book being incapable of either remembering the good parts, or liking any of the characters

  • Yulia
    2019-04-27 09:36

    Could anyone explain to me what happened in the last two chapters? I just couldn't understand what Updike intended by them.

  • Cassandra
    2019-04-29 17:34

    loved it. and wanted to die after I finished. bleak. raw. jerry conant is a motherfucker. put me on suicide watch for an hour and hide the liquor. jesus.

  • Mark
    2019-05-22 11:20

    More than thirty years ago I read Marry me and it made a big impression on me. Rereading it all these years later was a sheer pleasure. It is Updike’s typical stomping ground: couples, marriages and adultery in a middleclass setting. I remember an interview in which Updike said of this subject matter: ‘If I haven’t exhausted it, then it certainly has exhausted me’. In Marry me the story is about the married couples Jerry and Ruth and Richard and Sally. It is set in the early sixties in a small town in Connecticut. Jerry and Sally are having an affair and Jerry cannot decide whether or not to break up his marriage with Ruth and choose Sally. His indecisiveness is irritating, frustrating, almost debilitating. But this is just the point. At one stage in the story, Sally, waiting for Jerry to make up his mind and no longer much at ease in her own house with Richard, decides to go and stay with her brother in Florida for a while. Then follows this exchange between Ruth and Jerry:[Ruth]: Why?[Jerry]: The bind was getting to be too much for her.[Ruth]: What bind? What is bind, exactly?[Jerry]: A bind is when all the alternatives are impossible. Life is a bind. It’s impossible to live forever, it’s impossible to die. It’s impossible for me to marry Sally, it’s impossible for me to live without her. You don't know what a bind is because what’s impossible doesn’t interest you. Your eyes just don’t see it.Jerry’s eyes see the bind all too acutely. He longs to be free of the bind, he feels the constriction in his lungs (he has astma) when the bind presses too much. But in the end, his conclusion that life is a bind, is inescapable. In the short but beautiful last chapter (called ‘Wyoming’, since that is where Jerry and Sally dreamed of building a new life together), Jerry alternately imagines how eloping to Wyoming might have been, in reality goes to the South of France with Ruth and his children and finally, goes on his own to the tropical beauty of St Croix. Here he muses: ‘The existence of this place satisfied him that there was a dimension in which he did go, as was right, at that party, or the next, and stand, timid and exultant, above the downcast eyes of her gracious, sorrowing face, and say to Sally, Marry me.’ A dimension outside of the bind, so to say, which is impossible to find in real life. Updike’s writing is sensitive, precise and insightful, and his dialogue as the couples woo, bicker and fight is impressive. I think I would normally rate this book with four stars, but in this particular instance I am adding one for sentimental value.

  • Bruce Beckham
    2019-05-15 13:34

    I’ve realised that John Updike is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, for me, he’s like Earl Grey, which I spend far too much of each day drinking. To date, I’m neither tea’d out, nor Updiked out.Marry Me is set in the mid-seventies, in a small coastal town somewhere outside of New York City. In a nutshell it is about two couples, Jerry & Ruth, and Richard & Sally. Jerry & Sally are having a heavy-duty affair; Ruth & Richard once had a lite version (unbeknown to their partners).Most of the novel (pp69-239) is given over to two chapters, in which first Ruth and then Richard ‘react’ to the revelation of Jerry & Sally’s relationship. Nothing much happens. But such is the skill of Updike that – if he’s your cup of tea – you just want to keep reading.When I struggle to analyse a book I fall back on my triple criteria of subject-story-style. As I say, there isn’t much of a story – but Updike’s style – elegantly crafted prosaic poetry – makes what there is seem quite fascinating. I don’t know how he does it.The subject, of course – the affairs – makes for voyeuristic reading, an experience perhaps vicarious, perhaps relived. He writes so convincingly, it makes me think he knows something about it.Contrastingly, if there is a weakness, it is in relation to the couples’ children, and the impact their existence ought to have upon parental actions and agonies. In fact they are treated as chattels, and perhaps this reflects a gap in Updike’s know-how. (If I could get moving on his autobiography, I might find the answer to this.)But an excellent read washed down with a few gallons of Earl Grey.

  • Rebecca F.
    2019-04-29 17:43

    Overall a decent representation of what Updike can do -- but certainly not his best. Much of the content in this book will be familiar to regular Updike readers -- marital problems, infidelity, inner conflict, obsession with questions of death and God. Bright spots are the many majestic metaphors done with classic Updike panache. He has such an incredible eye for connecting the physical world to the psychological/emotional in a unique and moving way. Main characters here resemble the major players in his other books: Jerry is derivative of Harry Angstrom (Rabbit, Run) and Piet Hanema (Couples), especially in his obsession with extra-marital affairs; Ruth, the wife who's lost her lustre, is quite like Janice (Rabbit); Sally, the other woman, is a mix of other "other women" Ruth (Rabbit, Run) and Mrs. Harrison, I can't remember her first name (Rabbit is Rich); Richard, the other woman's husband, resembles Freddy Thorne (Couples) and Ronnie Harrison (Rabbit at Rest) in his bitterness and virile machismo that's hiding a softer sense of warmth and integrity underneath. A really quick read, it didn't really move me, and was a lot of rehashing the same old themes. But Updike is still a literary pleasure.

  • Maia
    2019-04-25 12:31

    Between 3 and 3.5 stars for this, but settled for 3 because, despite the obvious strength of talent, Updike as always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth afterwards--and not an insightful 'wow!' kind of bad taste either.I've long had issues with Updike, even before college, and now he's finally dead (and nifty male reviewers, esp of his own generation or near it, can stop the accolades except from a distance) I really do wonder for how long and just how profoundly his reputation will remain as A Great American Writer. It'd be interesting to see what a reader, say, 30 or 40 years from now will really think of his work. Put it this way: he's no Hemingway.A detailed review will follow but for now, suffice it to say that the most grating aspect of Updike's writing is the obviously nerdy self-interested mysoginism, which page after page makes me want to jump back in time, kick him in te groin, and shake his bony shoulders. Enough.

  • Jen
    2019-05-22 09:22

    This book is depressing. The worst perspective on marriage I've ever read. Honestly, it is so far from what my relationships with men have been like that it didn't come across as real. But then, I've been faithful to my husband for 17 years. A great book to read if you are considering an adulterous affair, because you'll run away from that lover faster than I got this book out of the way (2 days). I would have never finished it if it weren't the book up for discussion this month. I'm interested to hear the other participants' opinions; it could tell alot about their life history.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-01 13:32

    This reads more like a play than a novel. And felt like a riff on the "No Exit" theme- hell is living with other people or living in a love triangle for the rest of your life. The whole book had an overwrought, over-analyzed, Woody Allen kind of indecisiveness. He wants his mistress, he wants his wife, he wants his mistress, he wants his wife. I don't think I've ever read a book that seemed so real and unreal at the same time. I kept thinking: Is this what marriage was really like in America when you got married in your early 20's in the 50's/60's?

  • Ármin Scipiades
    2019-04-29 16:13

    I read this for the first time in Hungarian, when I was a teenager. It confused the shit out of me. Figured I'd give it another go now, in the original language, more than fifteen years later, armed with life experiences and stuff! It confused the shit out of me.It's a jarring, depressing, exhausting, bleak, horrible book. But isn't it the task of art to show you just how bleak and horrible the life you're living really is? To show you uncomfortable truths, to make your eyes open up, to stir up things in your heart? But, of course, Updike is no art: Updike is popular literature always on the verge of becoming art, always shying back into the mediocrity of popular literature.But, oh boy, he does have insight. This book, too, resonates with me so deeply, even if its setting is a time and place completely foreign to me, which just goes to show how universal the petty emotions he paints up really are (okay, universal to middle-class and upwards, but they say that out in the novel quite openly). I identified with Jerry quite completely, with this pompous, selfish bastard who's stumbling through life as though sleepwalking. This is probably the intended way of reading this. I seriously wonder how women are reading this book. The last chapter is Updike at his finest: I'm surprised others didn't like it. But then, I liked the disjointed mythology parts in Centaur too.Oh and, brilliant wordsmanship.

  • Cathryn Conroy
    2019-05-23 16:35

    This book is titled "Marry Me: A Romance," but it should be titled "Marry Me: Anatomy of an Affair." It's 1962. Jerry and Ruth are married with three children. Richard and Sally are married with three children. They live rich, privileged, affluent lives in a rich, privileged and affluent Connecticut town. Jerry and Sally have an affair. The first two chapters detail that affair--mostly lots of sex in lots of places. And angst. Lots of angst, too. Then we see the affair through the eyes of Ruth. And then Richard. And then...well, no spoilers here. While it is tedious in many parts, author John Updike does a brilliant job of capturing each character's emotions--from the giddiness of new love (especially illicit love) to the hurt, anger and betrayal that results. Because of the extraordinary writing, the reader can sympathize with each character. Updike has long been known for exploring the emotional and sexual discord of 30-somethings living in the miasma of 1960s American suburbia. That was when fathers worked, mothers stayed home and boredom struck. Boredom (and money)=trouble. It's a quick read and an interesting trip to a place that no longer exists.

  • Kaiva Koenig
    2019-05-18 12:24

    I started out disliking this novel, the reading prodded along from one awfully dull page to another, the viewpoint character (Jerry) was so unpleasant I didn't want to know him. Until I got to the meat of the story, which is all in Ruth's very agreeable, normal POV! :-) Then I loved it. Updike created a wonderfully realistic contemporary romantic comedy, just perfect for readers who like their romance with a touch of cynical reality.

  • Anne
    2019-05-10 15:15

    An exploration of Mad Men era adultery and its aftermath. Really didn't know how it would end. Do the lovers break up? Do the marriages fail? Will there be any new relationships? Contemporary questions, for all eras. I liked it.

  • Nicole
    2019-05-09 13:18

    I love Updike, and "Marry Me", being the fourth novel of his that I have read, solidified that love even more. I love his darkness, his black sense of humor, the painful and soulless truth of being married in America. Right on, John.

  • Gemma Williams
    2019-05-12 10:32

    This is a story of adultery and betrayal featuring a quartet of rather horrible, selfish, self-obsessed hysterical neurotics, detailing the twists and turns of their hideously sticky and compromised relationships. It would be vile, but Updike really can write like a dream.

  • Rachel
    2019-05-22 16:42

    i wanted to read one of john updike's books while he was still alive. you know, in case i got a chance to chat with him about it.reading this book is my way of saying "crap, you are dead"

  • Svetlana
    2019-04-30 13:37

    Этот роман читала уже дважды. Про мужика, который бросил жену и ушел к любовнице. А жена его все хотела вернуть. (причем у жены уже был роман с мужем мужниной любовницы, причем уже давно). Короче, чем это все закончилось –муж женился на любовнице, и вроде бы они даже жили нормально. А может и не очень. Мораль мне непонятна. Я уже вообще не понимаю, каким должен быть хороший брак.

  • Hella
    2019-04-26 15:18

    Le schermaglie tra loro quattro, le indecisioni, gli insulti mascherati in un palcoscenico di perbenista provincia americana.La scrittura è intrigante, nel mio secondo tentativo mi ha catturata e non mi ha lasciata fino alla fine.Come prima prova, è stata superata.

  • Nikoleta
    2019-05-16 12:37

    "Рут заговори на френски с него и Джери се запита каква е тази странна жена до него, която може да държи цял един език затворен в себе си." - с. 214

  • Pauliina Lassila
    2019-04-24 15:33

    Suomeksi: Kunnes kuolema meidät erottaa. Kirja tarttui mukaan kirjaston vaihtohyllystä. Teos on vuodelta 1977 ja sijoittuu vuoteen 1962. Piiri pieni pyörii kahden pariskunnan kesken ja lopputulos oli ennalta-arvattava. Ihan mukava iltalukeminen kuitenkin.

  • Milena
    2019-04-27 16:18

    I first came across Marry Me many years ago when I was still in high school. I was intrigued by the title, but somehow forgot to find it and read it. I remembered it recently when I was searching for another book and read it in one go.It's about different times, a different world without electromagnetic smog, where people's perceptions aren't modified by instant communication and virtual thinking, but spoke on the phone, wrote letters and knew who is Camus and had time to read him. And it's a book with a different style, an old-fashioned "classical" narration with long and descriptive sentences, with the author carefully observing the smallest details and pondering them with poetic melancholy. It's a book crafted by a superb master.It's a story of an affair and its disastrous consequences for all parties, but it's a beautiful love story nonetheless, with deep, sweeping emotions when people fell in love and made love, and didn't date and had sex on the fourth date (as advised by Cosmo). I wish I could read it as a classical book, and not on the two times smaller screen of my Kobo...

  • David
    2019-05-08 16:13

    This is a great snapshot of a place and time, aka the '60s white middle class suburb. I had trouble finding any kind of empathy (or sympathy) for three out of the four characters, maybe even the fourth! (Richard-after all it was insulated that he beat Sally). Ruth does seem like the victim, but how could she be after she cheated on Jerry with Richard?!? I can't see how that was never mentioned to either Jerry or Sally.Jerry & Sally's romance bordered on teenage hysteria and made it hard to get through the first third of the book.The ambiguous ending , or "choose your own ending" was alternately refreshing and annoying. I choose to believe that Jerry would eventually come to his senses and go back to Ruth after getting off that island. Overall I would compare this to Revolutionary Road or We Don't live Here Anymore, but a little more pretentious in its language and writing.

  • Jozsef Nagy
    2019-05-15 09:25

    Jerry Conant szereti Sally Mathiast, – de Sally nem a felesége, Sally szereti Jerry Conantot, – de Jerry másnak a férje. Számtalanszor megírt téma: szerelmi háromszög, válás… A könyv azonban mást mond a szerelemről; azt, hogy az nem két ember magánügye, hogy van felelősség is, sőt hogy a szerelem maga nem egyértelmű érzés. Jerry is, Sally is tétován bolyong abban a morális félhomályban, amit a lelkiismerete, neveltetése ellen lázadó érzelmei borítanak rá; bolyong, de nem talál kiutat, a hagyományos kötöttség nem elég erős, hogy szerelmét lehűtse, a szerelem nem elég erős, hogy e félhomályt eloszlassa.Az élet nem fekete-fehér, mint a sakktábla, nincsenek szigorú szabályai – mindössze egy biztos: minden emberi kapcsolat, férj-feleség-szerető, szülő és gyermek kapcsolata egyaránt bonyolult, s mind fájdalmat rejt – a sérült lelkiismeret fájdalmát.

  • Радослава
    2019-05-23 13:36

    Купих си книгата ден преди първата годишнина от сватбата ми, докато търсех подарък за съпруга ми. Попаднах случайно на загланието и не можех да го подмина. Сега след като вече я прочетох, зная, че това не случайна среща, книгата си дойде в точното време и ме хвана в точното емоционално състояние. Не мога да кажа, че ми хареса, защото за този роман не може да се говори прехласнато и превъзнесено. Мога обаче да кажа, че трябва да се чете. Защото отваря въпроси, болни теми за семейното щастие и съвсем не борави с клишета. Даже и отговори не дава. Просто ти разрушква заблудата за семейно щастие, омотава те в някакви въпроси и ако си смел да си отговориш честно, те връща. Къде? Зависи колко си бил смел в питането и честен в отговарянето. "Ожени се за мен" трябва да се чете около годишнини и когато човек е овъртолен в споделена семейност и любовно щастие.

  • Dilyana Georgieva
    2019-05-20 12:16

    Колкото съм изненадана, толкова и не съм. Очаквах плавнота при Ъпдайк и я получих. Макар и може би това да не е най-представителната му книга. Учудена съм как обикновено толкова много диалог може да е малко дразнещ, но тук тече някак естествено и ненасилено. И все пак остава усещането за застиналост въпреки случването. През цялото време се люшкаш в решението на героя. Но краят определено осмисля всичко и придава нова нишка в значението на цялата книга. Дори смятам, че след като свършиш последното изречение, можеш да се върнеш към първото с нова перспектива. Цялостната картинка на завършека изглежда съвсем ясна и все пак ми остана желанието да разнищя, до доиздискутирам детайлите...