Synopses & Reviews
In this moving sequel to her national bestseller A Year by the Sea
, Joan Anderson explores the challenges of rebuilding and renewing a marriage with her trademark candor, compassion, and insight.
With A Year by the Sea, Joan Anderson struck a chord in many tens of thousands of readers. Her brave decision to take a year for herself away from her marriage, her frank assessment of herself at midlife, and her openness in sharing her fears as well as her triumphs won her admirers and inspired women across the country to reconsider their options. In this new book, Anderson does for marriage what she did for women at midlife. Using the same very personal approach, she shows us her own rocky path to renewing a marriage gone stale, satisfying the demand from readers and reviewers to learn what comes next.
When Joan and her husband Robin decided to repair and renew their marriage after her eye-opening year of self-discovery, the outcome was far from certain. He had suddenly decided to retire and move to Cape Cod himself and embark on his own journey of midlife reinvention. After the initial shock of incorporating another person back into Joans daily life and her treasured cottage, they begin the process of "recycling"-using the original materials of their marriage to create a new partnership. Rereading the letters that she had written from Uganda during the early years of their marriage, she is reminded about the nervousness and joy with which she began their life together. Her sudden incapacitation with a broken ankle reveals an unexpected resourceful and tender side in her husband. A grimly comic and strained dinner party with three other couples reveals to both Joan and Robin some of the emotional pitfalls (and horrors) that can befall married couples.
In her year of solitude by the sea, Anderson learned that "there is no greater calling than to make a new creation out of the old self." In An Unfinished Marriage, she charts the new journey that she and her husband have begun together, seasoned by their years of marriage but newly awakened to the possibilities of their future together. A unique, tremendously moving and insightful entry into the literature of marriage, it will provide salutary shocks of recognition and fresh hope for all women and men negotiating their own marital passages.
From the Hardcover edition.
In this moving sequel to her national bestseller "A Year by the Sea, " Anderson explores the challenges of rebuilding and renewing a marriage with her trademark candor, compassion, and insight.
Now available in paperback, this uniquely insightful view of marriage by beloved and bestselling author Joan Anderson explores the challenges of rebuilding and renewing a marriage with her trademark candor, compassion, and insight.
About the Author
is a seasoned journalist who has also written numerous childrens novels, including 1787: The First Thanksgiving Feast
and The American Family Farm,
as well as the critically acclaimed adult nonfiction book Breaking the TV Habit
. A graduate of Yale University, Anderson lives with her husband on Cape Cod, where her “Weekend by the Sea” program for women seeking to experience a time of reflection is thriving. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show
, “CBS Weekend,” and numerous other broadcasts in connection with A Year by the Sea
From the Hardcover edition.
Reading Group Guide
1. Early in the book, Anderson refers to herself as a “recovering wife.” What do you believe she is recovering from? In this case, how is her recovery as a wife related to her husbands transformation?
2.Anderson refers several times to the state of her marriage once the youthful “hormones” have worn off. Do you feel that there is a chemical or biological component that brings people together in their youth? Or is this shorthand for a different set of processes?
3.One of the most important components of Andersons transformation in A Year by the Sea was discovering her capability to be financially independent, yet as Joan and Robin contemplate a shared future, they must make joint decisions about their money — where to spend it, where to earn it, and who owns it. How do the financial changes a couple undergoes throughout a lifetime change their larger relationship?
4.Joan writes wistfully about her marriage, “Who took the magic out of it?” In contrast to the magical romances of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White that we see in childhood, we are taught as adults that Prince Charming doesnt exist. But is there a kind of magic that brings people together? Romantic fantasy, like fairy tales and romance novels, is certainly seductive — but is it ultimately harmful or helpful?
5.What are the key components that Joan and Robin salvage and “recycle” that allow them to rebuild their marriage?
6.After twenty-five years, Joan and Robin feel a kinship with their summer friends, even though they recognize each others shortcomings. How can relationships with others be helpful in the process of redirecting a marriage?
7.At several points, Joan expresses a desire to clear the air or to discuss the unspoken tensions between herself and her husband, her friends, and her children. Do you feel that the sharing of confidences is always beneficial? Are we more hurt by what we say or by what we keep quiet?
8.Joans attempt to reenter her marriage with her husband came after a drastic year of change and renewal — a year in which she was uncertain whether her marriage would continue at all. Do you think we need to repair ourselves before we can work on our relationships? Would this kind of reunion have been possible without their drastic separation?
9.Discuss the idea of rescue. Do you feel most often like the rescued or the rescuer? Do you expect someone to rescue you? Do you allow yourself to be rescued?
10.How do children, even adult children, affect a marriage?
11.In A Year by the Sea, Anderson felt the influence of the sea and the seasons throughout her year of renewal. In An Unfinished Marriage, Joan and Robin look back at the history of their cottage and alter it to fit their plans. How does the place we live define us? How great an impact do our surroundings have on us?
12.If you were to be isolated for two weeks, who would you choose to be with? How would it be to be alone with your spouse?