Earthly Possessions

Tyler, Anne. Earthly Possessions. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1977.

This is a super quick read. The fact that it was a made-for-television movie back in the 90s should tell you something: really good but without prolonged drama; couldn’t make it to the big screen. Here’s the quick and dirty of the plot: Charlotte Emory is at the bank, waiting to clean out her savings so she can run away from her married life. She’s the bored housewife of a boring preacher. While waiting to change her whole life, suddenly it is changed for her. She gets caught up in a robbery and is taken hostage. Since her captor is practically half her age she isn’t exactly afraid of him, or the gun he waves in her face. Almost willingly Charlotte finds herself on a road trip with Jake Simms, Jr – demolition derby racer, escapee from jail, and father to his teenage girlfriend’s unborn child. The three make an interesting pair. Tyler’s writing is sharp and funny. She gives us alternating time frames, bouncing between Charlotte’s escape in present day and the past – as if to explain how Charlotte’s life ended up so complicated.

Lines I liked, “I tripped over a mustard jar big enough to pickle a baby” (p 6). Who thinks like that? Another one, “That prodding black nubbin in the hand of a victim of impulse” (p 49).

Reason read: June is the most popular month to get married in…and divorced in, too. I have no idea why.

Author fact: Tyler graduated from Duke University at the age of nineteen. Are you doing the math? If there were four years spent at Duke she would have entered college at the age of fifteen.

Book trivia: Earthly Possessions was made into a television movie in 1999 and starred Susan Sarandon as the bored housewife. I can picture that completely.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Marriage Blues” (p 161).

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