Read Updike before thinking about divorce?

John Updike’s fictionalized account of his first marriage, Too Far to Go (reissued with new material as The Maples Stories), often has been cited as a good book to read for people coping with the aftermath of divorce. But now someone’s recommending Updike for people considering divorce.

In an article (“10 Books to Read Before Getting Divorced”) written for the Barnes & Noble website, Jeff Somers recommends reading the Rabbit Angstrom novels.

“John Updike was a writer with myriad obsessions, and they all came together in the four-book, decades-in-the-writing saga of flawed but fascinating Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, who attempts to abandon his young family in book one and doesn’t make life any less complicated for himself as the decades rush on. What you end up with is, in large part, one of the most finely-detailed accounts of the ups and downs of a marriage in literary history. Considered as a whole, Rabbit’s race through life offers the sort of minute study of a relationship that will force you to reconsider you own.”

In other words, despite how rocky Rabbit and Janice’s marriage was, they stuck it out. Somehow, their marriage survived, and Somers suggests by including it on this list that a little perspective goes a long way.

The only other fiction on this list of mostly self-help books is Heartburn, by Nora Ephron.

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