Book Review: Adele and Tom by Chella Courington

Adele And Tom: The Portrait Of A MarriageAdele And Tom: The Portrait Of A Marriage by Chella Courington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In her book, Adele and Tom, the author brings us all the way in to her head-space, sharing intimate details of a long-term marriage in “flash-moments.” Reading these short chapters, some only one page long, felt, to this reader, like sitting down at the kitchen table, flipping through a photo-album with the main character who, in first person, narrates various scenes depicted in randomly chosen order.

I did not sense a narrative arc here, and that felt purposeful, almost as if, in leaving out that element of story-telling, the author pointed straight toward one of the book’s central themes: long-term marriages don’t have a neat story-arc and are often inhabited by intense longing for more “something,” full of ambiguity and a strange kind of inexplicable discomfort.

I read this novella in one sitting and within a couple of hours but the solidarity I felt with the author/main character has stayed with me. My take away thought, “Huh. Will you look at that. A woman being honest about how long-term marriages really look and feel.” I suspect any woman who’s been married more than a few years will find this book, as I did, highly relatable.

If you need happy endings, don’t look here. If you can stand to read the truth, this is the book for you.

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