Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review - The Accidental Tourist: A Novel by Anne Tyler

Title: The Accidental Tourist: A Novel
Author: Anne Tylerx  
Year: 1985 
Page: 342 
Genre: Fiction

New to me author? Yes 
Read this author again? No 
Tearjerker? No 
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library (inter-library loan)

Summary (from
Scarred by grief after their 12-year-old son's senseless murder (he was shot by a holdup man in a Burger Bonanza), Macon and Sarah Leary are losing their marriage too. Macon is unable to cope when she leaves him, so he settles down ``safe among the people he'd started out with,'' moving back home with two divorced brothers and spinster sister Rose. Author of a series of guidebooks called ``Accidental Tourist'' for businessmen who hate to travel, Macon is Tyler's focus here, as she gently chronicles his journey from lonely self-absorption to an ``accidental'' new life with brassy Muriel, a dog trainer from the Meow Bow Animal Hospital, who renews and claims his heart. Not a character, including Macon's dog Edward, is untouched by delightful eccentricity in this charming story, full of surprises and wisdom. All of Tyler's novels are wonderful; thisher tenthis the best yet.

First Sentence:
They were supposed to stay at the beach a week, but neither of them had the heart for it and they decided to come back early.  

Why did I pick this book?
Book club read for May. Definitely wouldn't pick this on my own. But that's part of the reason I join the book club, so I'll read books I won't even know about otherwise!

My thoughts:
  • Argh, can I have my 3 days back please?
  • I almost gave up after a few chapters. If it weren't for the book club, I wouldn't have stuck to it. Now, it's not required that we finish the book for the meeting (I didn't finish one before), but it is easier to discuss the book when you do finish it, so I kept on reading... hoping for the best...
  • While the characters were a bit different to your average everyday people, I didn't care for them at all. The only character I was slightly interested in was Muriel's young son Alex, and I was glad that Macon (the protagonist) at least was a somewhat positive influence on him
  • I thought the story could have been a bit more interesting - I mean, Macon had an interesting job! He got to travel and try out hotels and restaurants! But the book really had no plot... it definitely was a character study and nothing really happened. You could sum up the plot in a couple of sentence. 
  • The ending also ended quite abruptly that made you think, where did that come from? How did he come up with that decision? It wasn't explained, unlike the rest of the book which was quite descriptive of everything else...
  • The cover isn't very attractive. But the quote I put below explain why there were wings on an armchair... 
  • Apparently there is a movie based on the book too. This is not a book I would've picked to make a movie on. Won't be watching it... I will be bored.
  • But there are lots of other good views online. So judge for yourself! You know I don't like slow books with no plot though :) Will be interesting to hear what the others say at the book club!


    "While armchair travelers dream of going places," Julian said. "traveling armchairs dream of staying put. I thought we'd use this on the cover." (p89)

    Rating: 1 Star

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading


    1. I know Anne Tyler is popular but honestly, I've never been able to get through her books.

    2. I've never read any of her books either. I don't think I would enjoy this book either. The unraveling of a marriage die to a death of a child isn't really my type of novel.

    3. @Jessica - glad to hear I'm not the only one! I haven't read her other books, but if they character-study books I don't think I'd like them either...

      @Jennifer - it seems like the percentage of a divorce based on a death of a child is quite high, which is double sad...