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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage audiobook

  • By: Ann Patchett
  • Narrator: Ann Patchett
  • Category: Essays, Literary Collections
  • Length: 11 hours 36 minutes
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Publish date: November 05, 2013
  • Language: English
  • (26416 ratings)
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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Audiobook Summary

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

“I had been so engaged by Ann Patchett’s multifaceted story, so lured in by her confiding voice, that I forgot I was on the job. […] As the best personal essays often do, Patchett’s is a two-way mirror, reflecting both the author and her readers.” — New York Times Book Review

Blending literature and memoir, New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto, examines her deepest commitments–to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband–creating a resonant portrait of a life in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett’s life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.

As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.

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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Audiobook Narrator

Ann Patchett is the narrator of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage audiobook that was written by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is the author of several novels, works of nonfiction, and children’s books. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the PEN/Faulkner, the Women’s Prize in the U.K., and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her novel The Dutch House was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. TIME magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the owner of Parnassus Books.

About the Author(s) of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Ann Patchett is the author of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Full Details

NarratorAnn Patchett
Length11 hours 36 minutes
AuthorAnn Patchett
Release dateNovember 05, 2013


The publisher of the This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is HarperAudio. includes the following subjects: The BISAC Subject Code is Essays, Literary Collections

Additional info

The publisher of the This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is HarperAudio. The imprint is HarperAudio. It is supplied by HarperAudio. The ISBN-13 is 9780062282873.

Global Availability

This book is only available in the United States.

Goodreads Reviews


April 09, 2022

This is the Story of a Crappy TitleOnce upon a time there was a brilliant writer named Ann. Ann wrote award-winning novels but also thought-provoking essay pieces for various publications to help hone her craft. The essay topics ranged from growing up in a Catholic school, to loving and losing a beloved dog, to owning an independent bookstore in Nashville. They had the power to mesmerize readers with their insights and also bring them to tears in more than one heartfelt moment. Then one day in 2013 some people had the idea to compile the pieces into a collection. They poured over the names of the various essays with the goal of slapping one on the book’s cover. Perfectly nice titles like “The Best Seat in the House,” “The Right to Read,” “Do Not Disturb,” and “Love Sustained” were passed over in lieu of one that would make it sound like a smug how-to manual shelved in the relationship self help section. Fortunately Ann had devoted fans that would read anything she wrote, and those devotees bought the book anyway. “Read this!” they shouted from the rooftops (rooftops of course being Goodreads and personal review blogs). And thus “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” found its happily ever after despite its Crappy Title. The end.Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/


July 27, 2015

This is the story of a happy reader. Ann Patchett is best known as a novelist (Bel Canto, State Of Wonder). But as she proves here and in her memoir Truth & Beauty , she’s also a brilliant non-fiction writer: sharply observant, warm, intelligent. She’s incapable of writing an awkward or dishonest sentence.The title of this book is named after one of the essays, about her long-simmering but in the end inevitable and absolutely correct decision to marry her husband Karl, after a disastrous early marriage (and divorce). A few other pieces touch on love and marriage. But the book’s range of topics is wide: creating art while holding down a day job; caring for a dog and trying to convince annoying strangers or friends that the dog is not a child substitute; caring for that same dog during its final days; test-driving a recreational vehicle while her relationship with Karl has hit a rough patch.Patchett's prose is simple yet elegant; her pieces draw on personal experience yet never seem self-indulgent or maudlin.In her hands, even a nuts and bolts assignment like her introduction to the Best American Short Stories anthology in 2006 becomes something special: in this case, a tribute to one of the great storytellers of our time, Eudora Welty, whom she once met when she was an aspiring writer of 16.In an article about the dreaded author’s book tour, amusingly titled “My Life In Sales,” filled with stories of ego, cynical publishers and humiliation, Patchett concludes with a scene about a young girl (another aspiring writer) who’s travelled hundreds of miles to visit her. The story will break your heart.The final paragraphs and sentences of her essays are stunning. “Tennessee” begins as a nostalgic trip down memory lane, filled with vivid details that set this unchanging landscape firmly in your mind. Near the end there’s a story about helping out an old man and a woman whose car has broken down. It’s like something out of The Grapes Of Wrath. Every word of “Dog Without End,” her essay about her beloved canine Rose, is brimming with love and affection. Although light, there’s sharp, finely detailed writing in her essays about the Metropolitan Opera’s simulcasts of operas to movie theatres around the world (“The Best Seat In The House”), and in a visit to Los Angeles’s famous Bel-Air Hotel to find solitude (“Do Not Disturb”). In the latter, Patchett gives us this observant line:As I pack up my room at the Hotel Bel-Air, I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.How true, how succinctly and beautifully put!“The Wall” is a model of the long-form personal essay. In the wake of the Rodney King riots and a few years after her own father has retired from the LAPD after 32 years, Patchett tries out for the force. She’s staying with her father, who divorced her mother years earlier. He’s excited about the prospect. As she takes us through each step, from interviews and essay writing to a gruelling physical challenge in the hot and humid L.A. sun, she brings a novelist’s eye to the experience. Nothing escapes her as she goes on a drive-along, looks into holding cells. In the end, she gives us this simple yet heartfelt passage:… in 2007, an editor for the Washington Post Magazine asked me for an essay about something I had done one summer, and so I said I would write a piece about the summer I tried out for the police academy. Sifting through the notes I had taken years before, I remembered the basic point behind my intentions, and all these years later that point has never changed: I am proud of my father. I am proud of his life’s work. For a brief time I saw how difficult it would be to be a police officer in the city of Los Angeles, how easy it would be to fail at the job, as so many have failed. My father succeeded. He served his city well. I wanted to make note of that.Fans of Truth & Beauty will gobble up two pieces about the controversy surrounding that book. The second piece should be required reading for anyone thinking about censorship and freedom of expression. “The Getaway Car” is a sensible yet heartfelt essay about the writer’s vocation. The only piece that didn’t wow me was an article she wrote about floods. It just seemed expendable. At the end of “Nonfiction, an Introduction,” Patchett talks about her apprenticeship with writing magazine articles and how, in collecting the pieces, she hasn’t wanted to change much of the writing.If I’m lucky, someday in the future I’ll see what I’ve written here and think how young I still was and how much more there was ahead. Until then I’ll keep writing things down, both the things I make up and the things that have happened. It is the way I’ve learned to see my life.Please keep writing, Ms. Patchett. You make us see your life – and by extension our own – through your genuine insights and incomparable prose.


December 31, 2016

The title is a tad misleading. This is a compilation of various articles the author has written over the years for various publications. The first few were about her experiences on becoming an author. I'm not an author, nor do I have plans to become one, but I enjoyed the conversational tone and the insights into a profession I know little about.The remaining essays are on a variety of subjects and the author can be quite funny and self-deprecating. Nor does she leave out the unflattering stories. Others are poignant and one in particular left me in tears. I was listening to the audio as I was driving and I had to turn it off so I could see where I was going.I do think this is best listened to or read as a chapter or two a day. Without breaks, memoirs starts to feel like just too much. But she loves dogs, nuns, books, and took such tender loving care of her grandmother in her later years that I can overlook the less than flattering chapters. I do admire her honesty.


May 11, 2015

This is a collection of mostly prior magazine articles that Ann Patchett had done during her lifetime. She tells us from the beginning. How fun... To collect your life essays... then gather them... (Work out the details), to create a book. Perfect for this established author. The title story is simply one story, ( a touching story), but not the overall theme. From the start, we read about Ann's years of working for Seventeen Magazine. She also did freelance work... And submitted essays to other magazines. While reading these essays... about Ann's life... what's most important to her, her process in becoming a writer... ( since early childhood), her sharing about her life: what she hates....(Christmas... I smiled... because I share the same feelings)...Her love for dogs, a time in Paris with Karl, her husband, her first marriage..(the divorce)...Why she wanted no children, her tenderness towards her aging grandmother, her relationship with her sister...,etc .....We get the opportunity to know Ann as a *person*. I enjoyed reading about Ann's life...(this book allowed us to see her vulnerability, her warmth, and her humor), yet I still prefer her fiction books.... I like Ann's creative storytelling... and writing skills to match.... which is why mostly I look forward to her next fiction book Bel Canto is still my favorite novel.... yet, I've enjoyed something in all of them. Being invited into Ann's life... ( when we already have loved her novels)....makes this book that much more special.


June 14, 2017

This is OFFICIALLY my favorite Ann Patchett book!!!!! (I put "OFFICIALLY" in BIG print thus making my statement really official!) I am actually surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. I am not a short story, essay, article type of gal. I like novels - novellas are fine but I'm not a short story or article reader. Having said that, Ann Patchett may have changed things for me because as I mentioned, I loved this book i.e. collection of articles/essays. I love how she blended the events of her life with literature. This book consists of essays/articles that have been published elsewhere. The essays can be read in any order the reader chooses. Previous books I have read by Patchett have earned 3 to 4 star ratings from me. This book has eclipsed the other books I have previously read. I love that this book deals with the real person- with her life. This book feels more "real"evicting words such as "honest" and "raw". We see her as a child, then at college, on a book tour, being married, her dog Rose, her bookstore, to name a few of the times she lets the reader into her life. Don't let the word "Marriage" fool you in the title...this book is about her two marriages but it is also about so much more. This book also deals with friendship, writing, family, loss, working, having a pet, etc. The result of this look back on her life is moving, entertaining, enlightening, and insightful (who knew she tried out for the LAPD police academy?). We not only get to see and digest her words, we get a glimpse into her life through her perspective.I really enjoyed getting to "know" this Author a little better. I wish I could thank her for allowing me to walk down her memory lane. Not only is it quite lovely to learn about her life, the reader gets to do so in such a wonderful way! Patchett has a gift. Her writing seems effortless. Her prose is beautifully, emotionally moving and actually puts the reader into the action. Her writing is succinct and thought provoking.See my reviews at www.openbookpost.com


January 25, 2015

More than halfway through this collection of essays I begin to think that one of the most important characteristics for a successful memoirist must be good humor. Patchett wrote most of this collection of nonfiction essays earlier in her career for different publications. She supplemented those with a couple longer, deeper pieces written later: “The Getaway Car” and “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” “Dog Without End,” and “The Mercies,” all stories about the great loves in her life. Together the essays comprise a history. We meet her dog, her grandmother, her husbands, her father. She recalls Lucy Grealy, the subject of her story of friendship called Truth and Beauty. We keep reading because she is a nice person and we like her. She writes well, but that isn’t all. She is irrepressible. She has character.I am finished with the book of essays now, and I have to say I am relieved. I am relieved that her title story, “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” is in fact, not only about her happy marriage, but also of her earlier failed marriage, a marriage that shook her—shook some sense into her. I used to be sad that such spectacular failures were necessary, but most of us have them hidden away in a closet somewhere, ready to be unearthed and examined again for any further shards of wisdom. Mine doesn’t hurt as much now, but there is usually still an involuntary tightening of my lips before I smile, with chagrin.Which makes me think again of Ann Patchett and her good humor. The stories she tells in this collection remind us that there are moments in a life we wish we could share with others. Patchett is not just sharing her story, she is showing us how it is done. Readers, real readers, are always going to be interested in writers. We yearn to know how they do what they do, even if it would never occur to us to do the same. But Patchett is so generous with what she knows and what she does that we can see how she does it. One thing that runs through the whole book, every essay, is that she does not take herself too seriously. She takes her craft seriously, but she tends to forgive herself and others when we don’t quite live up. Or she makes a funny joke about it.When she mentions her mother was beautiful, the kind of beautiful that made people stop her in the street to compliment her, I had to find a photo online. I feel like I haven’t seen beautiful, naturally beautiful, in such a very long time I don’t even trust myself to know it when I see it anymore. Her mother is beautiful, it’s true. She has the kind of effortless-looking beauty that doesn’t pain one to look upon. But it didn’t make her nicer or wiser than anyone else. None of us gets it all. Oh yes, Ann Patchett can write. This is a magnificent collection, and I recommend it heartily to everyone, anyone. It is for teens, it is for adults, it is for readers, it is for writers. It is the condensation of a life into vivid prose.

Sarah Beth

September 04, 2013

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from HarperCollins.I've read one of Ann Patchett's novels, Bel Canto, and her first memoir, Truth and Beauty, and know her to be someone capable of both smart and beautiful writing, so I was naturally excited for the chance to read her latest memoir, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. The title led me to believe that this would largely focus on her marital relationship, but instead this is a very personal look at the mainstays of Patchett's life, the people and things that make her who she is: her writing, her marriages, her family, her dog. Rather than a continuous work, it is a collection of short essays that were mostly published elsewhere first including in the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Vogue, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post Magazine, and others. Patchett's intro to the book entitled "Nonfiction, an Introduction" does a great job of tying all the essays of the novel together, and give background on her own life and her history of writing articles to make a living for, as she says, "The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living. My short stories and novels have always filled my life with meaning, but at least in the first decade of my career, they were no more capable of supporting me than my dog was" (1). So I suppose we have the slow take off of her fiction to thank for this wonderful collection of essays written over the years, that perfectly illustrate who Ann Patchett is and what she lives for.Although I'm not a writer myself, I especially loved the portions of this book to describe her process of writing and her own advice to other writers (i.e. don't go into debt to get a MFA). In the same way that I was captivated by Annie Dillard's description of her own writing process in The Writing Life, I loved hearing Patchett's version of events: "Imagine running over a butterfly with an SUV. Everything that was beautiful about this living thing - all the color, the light and movement - is gone. What I'm left with is the dry husk of my friend, the broken body chipped, dismantled, and poorly reassembled. Dead. That's my book" (25). I was also struck by her ability to distance herself from her books and recognize that, in the end, they are what the reader makes of them. "Chances are I can explain, in the course of a Q&A, my novel's dissatisfying ending or my character's cloudy motivations, but who's to say I'm right? Once the book is written, its value is for the reader to decide, not for me to explain" (168). But in addition to her writing revelations, I was enamored by the person Patchett appears to be, someone who cares for her grandmother until the end of her life, who reunited with the nun who taught her grade school and was her arch enemy and ends up caring for her in her old age, how she isn't afraid to also reveal her faults - the mistakes that led to the end of her first marriage, how she conned a little girl into giving her the puppy that became her beloved dog Rose. Patchett is wise about love - "Sometimes love does not have the most honorable beginnings, and the endings, the endings will break you in half. It's everything in between we live for" (284).I was impressed by Patchett's ability to convey herself and her life's passions into the written word. And to do so in a way that does not come across as self-indulgent or cliche. Instead she sounds like a flawed individual who is learning from her mistakes and wants to share both her triumphs and defeats with the reader in a very honest, direct way.

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