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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A brilliant new collection of stories from one of the most acclaimed and beloved writers of our time. Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again everywhere apparent in this brilliant new collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken, or by a simple twist of fate that turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into a new way of being or thinking. A poet, finding herself in alien territory at her first literary party, is rescued by a seasoned newspaper columnist, and is soon hurtling across the continent, young child in tow, toward a hoped-for but completely unplanned meeting. A young soldier, returning to his fiancée from the Second World War, steps off the train before his stop and onto the farm of another woman, beginning a life on the move. A wealthy young woman having an affair with the married law…

Dear Life: Stories

by Alice Munro

Overall Book Review:

A few years ago, I picked up Dear Life, having never read anything else by Alice Munro, and rarely, if ever, having had read a collection of short stories. I could hardly get through this book back then. It just didn’t hold my interest. But there was a article in the Wall Street Journal of an interview with Curtis Sittenfeld, an author whose books I adore greatly, and she spoke of how Alice Munro had inspired her writing. After reading the write-up I was convinced I should give Alice Munro one more try. I ended up listening to the audiobook version of Dear Life and to my surprise, I enjoyed this book! Sometimes I just give up too quickly if a book doesn’t hold my interest, so I am glad I gave this book another chance, as it turned out to be a collection of stories that were actually quite interesting.

Sometimes when I read a book of short stories I am left with the feeling that all the individual stories ended too soon. That was not the case with this book. I felt like all of the stories had a good solid ending that left no room for needing any extra explanation. An extra plus that came from reading this book is that a patron came into the library where I work the other day and asked if I or my co-worker had read anything by Alice Munro. I was able to tell her that I had, and that the book I read was actually quite good. This is a collection of stories that are deep and yet not too deep. They hit close to home, and the characters are likeable. I will definitely give Alice more chances in the future.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  5 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities; 2 scatological words; 1 anatomical term; 2 F-Word derivatives

Violence/Gore:  War casualties mentioned with no detail; death of a parent mentioned; a car crash is mentioned, one casualty; a baby is mentioned to have been strangled but no detail is given; a child is mentioned to be beaten for punishment.

Sex/Nudity:  Adults kiss; losing virginity is mentioned; adults are mentioned to have sex, no detail is given; prostitution is mentioned with no detail; an affair is mentioned to transpire between two married people.

Mature Subject Matter:


Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults smoke; adults drink.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.