This book started out interesting, grew rather tiring, you started feeling slightly melancholy and reflecting on the good things in your life and then just as it started to become emotionally warm and fuzzy, it stopped. From an academic standpoint, the voice and the character development were phenomenal. This book isn't exciting but it is one of those things that makes you scratch your head and be amazed that you really aren't the only one having these inane types of conversations and bizarre interpersonal relationships. A good read for a cold night and a hot cup of tea but not a good read if you are wanting to really entertain yourself. If this book were a Friday date night, it would be more of a glass of cognac at a quiet piano bar than a night of dinner and dancing in a nightclub. It has great value at the right time and place.
Unbelieveable? Maybe, but still a great ride.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
First off, let me say the movie version of this book, while well acted, chops the story up in ways that kills some of the best things about the book.This is one of those books that is tough to describe. I've read it several times now and find new things everytime. Beattie does an incredible job of creating these people who walk through their own little world, trying to deal with the hand that life has dealt them. They're just like us, selfish, unaware, worn out in places, but full of humanity. There are acts of kindness, warmth, vulnerability in these people the author has created. This is what makes this book, you follow these people along an episode of their lives and wonder where its going to go. I find that when I take a step back, I question where they end up, but while I'm in it, I don't.At the heart of the matter is a love story, an awkward, imperfect love story about a man who is obsessed. It drives him through his days, drives him into doing dumb things, and gets his friends and family to roll their eyes.An excellent read, the first or fourth time around.
Painfully real and hysterically funny
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
Ann Beattie's first novel captures the mundanity of everyday life and the exquisite pain of unrequited obsession perfectly. Our hero, Charles, takes trips to the supermarket where nothing in the entire store looks appetizing, and cuts work to take long walks in the cold. Every characterization and conversation plays itself out with sharp realism. Highly recommended.
The perfect novel
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
Simply wonderful. The protagonist makes peace with his stepfather with a gift of Turtle Wax. Multiply this detail a hundred times and you get the picture.
"Chilly Scenes of Winter?" A perfect book.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
In "Chilly Scenes of Winter," Beattie creates a crisp, objective (except for the subjective parts) snapshot of a life. Main character Charles (never Charlie!) yearns for what he doesn't have and believes he wants -- but maybe he doesn't. These are a few days in the life of Charles, his best friend Sam, sister Susan, love-of-his-life Laura, the ghost of Janis Joplin, and step-dad Pete (the dancing, Turtle Wax devotee) and Charles' crazy mother. And these days are at once funny,poignant, sardonic and absolutely riveting. Although it takes place in the mid 1970's, the references are a snap for any pop culture fan and the story is timeless. This is Beattie's first and best book. A must!
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