The Poignant and Compelling Sequel to the National Bestseller
A Year by the Sea
NOW IN PAPERBACK!
AN UNFINISHED MARRIAGE
Their ultimate success will hearten
fans of Anderson's unpretentious style... [A] perceptive view of
a midlife crisis." -People
"[An] intimate, highly anecdotal sequel." -O, The Oprah Magazine
"Anderson sheds the soulmate myths of the past and voices the emotions
that bind a man and woman together. She makes it clear that these
emotions and wisdom, patience, and practice make a lifetime commitment,
al long-term marriage, vital." -Booklist
"Encourages us all to take the breaks that we need to regain our
emotional balance...a fulfilling chronicle." -Philadelphia Inquirer
Perceptive, eloquent, and incredibly forthright
about her fears and imperfections, Joan Anderson moved and inspired
countless women with her chronicle of her retreat from marriage,
A Year by the Sea. Readers from coast to coast found comfort,
joy, and courage in Anderson's bold decision to spend twelve solitary
months at her family's spartan Cape Cod cottage, instead of following
her husband to his new job. While reveling in her revitalizing journey,
many have wondered what happened to Joan—and to her relationship
with her husband—next.
Joan Anderson continues her deeply personal and
widely resonant coming-of-age- in-middle-age story in the paperback
release of AN UNFINISHED MARRIAGE (Broadway Books; On Sale:
March 11, 2003; $22.95). With penetrating insight, unflinching honesty,
and a gift for seeing the possibility of wonder in everyday life,
Anderson traces her second spiritual and emotional odyssey: renewing
her marriage after a year devoted to learning how to be completely
independent, purposeful, and fulfilled alone.
Lamenting the lack of guidebooks for maintaining
a long-term loving relationship after sexual passion has faded into
fond memory, Anderson concludes: "There was no model to follow.
We were two unique souls who merged over thirty years ago and out
of that union appeared an original couple, impossible to replicate.
Out of our vulnerabilities a new way of being together needed to
Spanning eleven months of tumultuous transformation,
AN UNFINISHED MARRIAGE takes place in the same location in
which Anderson reclaimed her relationship with herself: a humble
cottage on Cape Cod. Seizing an opportunity for early retirement,
Joan's husband Robin vows to join his wife and make it his permanent
home as well. Both partners share a heartfelt commitment to repairing
their marriage. Before long, both partners also realize that they
have taken on a formidable challenge.
For Joan and for Robin, the first months of being
together again are fraught with clashes of will, vision, and ego.
Striving to respect her husband's autonomy without question, Joan
seethes in frustration as Robin moves the bulk of his former office
into her treasured cottage. Secretly yearning to be "frank, forthright,
and opinionated," she lets Robin have his space-and watches in anguish
as the distance grows between them. While Robin retreats in silence
and mounting depression, Joan rereads her letters and diaries from
their long-ago life as newlyweds, when they shared a mission and
a zest for adventure as Peace Corps workers in Africa. Soon, Joan
finds herself questioning whether the "just plain dashing" man she
married ever really existed.
AN UNFINISHED MARRIAGE brings a pivotal
breakthrough for Joan and Robin on a joint excursion-to the town
dump. While diligently sorting glass from plastic from tin, Anderson
is struck by the concentration it takes to recycle-an odd thought
that leads to an epiphany. "Have I been heading down the wrong path
in thinking we needed to discover something that only needs recycling?"
the author muses. "Perhaps if we spent equal amounts of time recycling
ourselves, we might resurrect something vital and new out of the
While charting the meticulous process of "recycling"
her marriage, Anderson reveals her many frustrations, sobering lessons,
unexpected pleasures, and wonderful revelations.
Her voyage includes:
- Receiving. When incapacitated with a broken ankle,
Joan is forced to give up control-and discovers an untapped resourceful
and tender side to her husband.
- Upheaval. Inspired by Robin's ambitious plans
and dramatic enthusiasm, Joan agrees to a sweeping, shattering
renovation of her beloved cottage-complete with the intrusion
of a television.
- Dinner with friends. A grimly comic dinner party
with three veteran couples drives home the emotional pitfalls
(and horrors) on the path to a long marriage-including boredom,
betrayals, and boorish behavior.
- New frontiers in extended family. Joan reflects
on the challenges of being a close, nurturing mother to distant
grown-up sons-and ponders the startling news of becoming an expectant
- Risk and retreat. Joan and Robin culminate their
mutual rebirth with two weeks in the wild-isolated from the outside
world and utterly dependent on one another in a primitive shack
surrounded by miles of towering sand dunes
At once intriguing and reassuring, AN UNFINISHED
MARRIAGE offers a unique perspective on the hard work and ultimate
meaning of "happily ever after." Writing with grace, wit, and candor,
Joan Anderson reflects the changing life of couples and reveals
what truly keeps a husband and wife together: intimacy and friendship.
About the Author
JOAN ANDERSON is a seasoned journalist and
a highly sought-after speaker on women's issues and the role of
media in our lives. In addition to her bestselling memoir, A
Year by the Sea, she has written numerous children's books, including
1787: The First Thanksgiving Feast and The American Family
Farm, as well as the critically acclaimed adult nonfiction book
Breaking the TV Habit. Joan recently contributed a foreward
to the Chicago Review Press's April 2003 release of Anne Morrow
Lindbergh's bestselling novel, Dearly Beloved. Featured twice
on the Oprah Show, as well as NBC-TV's Weekend TodayShow
and other national TV broadcasts in connection with A Year by
the Sea, she continues to inspire women from all over the country
to seek times of solitude and simple living through her popular
"Weekend by the Sea" retreat program. A graduate of Yale University,
a veteran of the Peace Corps, and a new grandmother, she lives on
Cape Cod with her husband of thirty-eight years, Robin.
AN UNFINISHED MARRIAGE
By Joan Anderson
Published by Broadway Books