Top Tier (4 to 5 stars)

The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler

5 stars

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Anne Tyler! Tyler’s imagination and observational skills are astounding. This novel mirrors life lately for so many of us. The prevailing “wait and see” mentality is a bit unsettling.

But hark! Tempus fugit: tik tok, tik tok…!

Macon tries to rigidly plan and control his life – he and his siblings are stuck in a groove, freezing out harsh reality. Their chaotic first years at the hands of their irresponsible, flighty mother had them all craving the monochrome, staid reality of their grandparents’ stagnant but totally predictable lifestyle.

But the Fates or Powers that Be did not allow Macon and his siblings to continue to tread water and “miss a chance at love” – as Macon’s sister, Rose, put it. Macon was going to be given the chance of living a richer, more satisfying life.

Like the rest of the world for the past two years during COVID lockdown, everything was on pause for the Learys for way too long! Many of us realize that we can’t go back to the way things were before COVID shook our foundations and made us examine what we truly needed and wanted for the remaining years of our lives.

There are so many elements of Macon and Muriel’s characters that I saw in myself. Muriel was unapologetically herself, but yet she kept declaring that she looked like the wrath of God (that always cracked me up!) Somehow Muriel found the courage to stay positive despite all of her struggles and financial uncertainty.

Macon saw Sarah, his estranged wife, as something familiar in a now unwelcoming, sometimes violent, landscape. Could they both really return to their old way of life after their year of separation and resume their ageless routines? Sarah professed to have missed their predictable life, but Macon was now faced with a dilemma: return to his static/familiar life or embrace the unknown?

No spoilers here, but I will say that I found the ending of this novel extremely satisfying. It takes courage to face the truth, pack up your old life and forge a new path. Yup, I took lots of notes – I got the message: LIFE and DISRUPTION are going to keep happening to us and eventually FORCE change upon us, no matter how hard we dig in our heels. We can only keep things at bay for so long, so we may as well enjoy the ride while we are being swept away on the current!

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