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Listen to the Marriage

by John Jay Osborn

Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn X
Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2018
    208 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 23 member reviews
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  • Marion C. (Peabody, MA)


    Listen to the Marriage
    LISTEN TO THE MARRIAGE is an intriguing story about Gretchen and Steve whose strained marriage prompts Gretchen to move out with their two young children. She rents an apartment, furnishes it and puts the children in childcare after school, and feels short of cash. Gretchen is not sure she wants a divorce so they attend marriage therapy with Sandy to see if their marriage can be saved. There is a third chair, unoccupied, in the room and both Gretchen and Steve wonder whom that chair is for. The chair is an old antique that does not match the general furniture in the room and causes a little disruption between the couple. Sandy tells them that is the marriage chair and to listen to it. Osborn writes a note to the reader, "My hope is that LISTEN TO THE MARRIAGE may change some marriages for the better." I felt that with an open mind this novel can do that by listening to the metaphor of the empty chair it could help a marriage. Osborn has written other novels of which "The Paper Chase" was written when he was a full-time student at Harvard Law School. A pleasant read.
  • Roe P. (Massapequa Park, NY)


    Can you listen to your marriage?
    I enjoyed reading this quick read book..the whole book takes place in the office of a marriage counselor....It was interesting to hear how other marriages come together...but more...how they fall apart...While reading you can put yourself in their places and feel as if you are in the office with this love-torn couple. I found I felt empathy for both of them and wanted them to find happiness wherever that turned out to be...Quick and informative..a good book to read and also learn to communicate ....
  • Sandra G. (Loveland, CO)


    Short but thought-provoking
    With fewer than 200 pages, this book has only three characters. That is all that is needed to tell the story of a separated couple in counseling sessions trying to determine if divorce is inevitable. Their inability to discuss their feelings honestly has resulted in the disintegration of their marriage. Any reader who has been part of a dysfunctional relationship will relate to the emotional damage lack of communication can cause.
  • Dorinne D. (Wickenburg, AZ)


    How to rescue a marriage
    As a long time admirer of John Jay Osborn, I found it interesting that this book is the author's own story. It is an interesting examination of how a married couple manages to put their fractured marriage back together with the help of a marriage counselor. Most telling for me was the way the counselor helped them learn to communicate with each other - to express their thoughts more carefully and avoid emotional outbursts. This is a very readable story, one that can be read in less than a day.
  • Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)


    Short but mighty
    This slim novel is unusual as it takes place completely in a marital therapist's office. It's a compelling, realistic, and wise look at a marriage in trouble. I read it in one sitting due both to its brevity and quality.
  • Lorri S. (Pompton Lakes, NJ)


    I think I need therapy now
    I was hesitant, but I ended up really liking this examination of a single marriage, within a single room, because as unique as Gretchen and Steve's marriage is, that is how universal it is. I started out feeling like a voyeur and ended up in the same state as the therapist, hoping those two crazy kids make it.

    All of the "action" of the novel takes place outside of the immediate narrative, but all of the emotional "work" takes place in the marriage counselor's office. As a narrative conceit it works. Do you really need to see Bill and Gretchen on a date in order to see what kind of relationship it is? Do you really need to see Steve setting up a home for the children in order to see that he is trying to change? No, and that is because Osborn is a master craftsman, and can pack all of that into short, punchy chapters that make up the couple's therapy sessions. That we are privy to the therapist's internal dialogue, adds another layer of interest. We are not just learning about marriage, but about therapy too.

    This book had a very theatrical feel, not in a movie sense, but in the sense that I could easily see it as a single-setting, one act play. If you like that kind of feeling and also like stories where character study is paramount, I would highly recommend.
  • Wilhelmina H. (New Port Richey, FL)


    Peek Into Marriage Counseling
    Overall I enjoyed the book. It's quick read and the main characters deal with some common marital issues. I liked 'watching' the counseling sessions unfold, 'hearing' two people learning to really be open and talk to each other and the interactions with their counselor. Emphasis on the importance of communication in a relationship carries throughout the book. However, something about the tone occasionally put me a bit on edge.

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