Book Review: Essays in Ann Patchett’s This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage are personal, universal

patchettWhether Ann Patchett discourses about the merits of opera or recounts her adventures in a rented RV, her compelling new book, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (Harper, 320 pps.), hums with the pitch-perfect prose evident in her best-selling novels Bel Canto and the recent State of Wonder.

This 2013 compilation of previously published essays brings to the fore her varied career as a freelance writer. At the start of her career, articles for SEVENTEEN and bridal magazines helped fund her fiction. Over time, journalism became its own force, encouraging a work ethic that would bolster her creative writing and provide broadening experiences, such as her trek through the Peruvian rainforest for Gourmet.

(Click here to read more of Sarah Sacha Dollacker’s essay on

Sarah Sacha Dollacker writes about books. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and history from Duke University and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Her writing has appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and BookBrowse, among others. She is also the creator and moderator of, a books blog that was named one of the “101 Book Blogs You Need to Read” by and one of the “100 Best Blogs for School Librarians” by – See more at:

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