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Atomic Marriage

Written by: Curtis Sittenfeld
Narrated by: Diane Lane
Length: 58 mins
3 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 8.71
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Publisher's Summary

From NYT best-selling author Curtis Sittenfeld, a sharp-witted and utterly entertaining story about the most complicated and compromising partnership there is - marriage.

All marriages are hard. Many of them fail. Brock Lewis, an evangelical businessman turned self-published author, has the answer. Follow his international best-selling book’s 12-point “Atomic Doctrine” - make eye contact with your spouse? Always! Use the bathroom in front of them? Never! - and you, too, can build a marriage that thrives.

What Hollywood power broker Heather Thiesen knows about marriage is that hers is sputtering, anything but romantic, and utterly exhausting. But she still aspires to turn Brock’s book into the blockbuster romantic comedy she knows it can be - now she just has to convince Brock.

Narrated with depth and warmth by Oscar nominee Diane Lane, what follows is a remarkable story about the life partners we choose, the secrets we keep, and the compromises we make by one of America’s funniest and most astute cultural commentators.

©2018 Curtis Sittenfeld (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Quick listen...

It was alright. It was a bit weird because my name is Heather and I happen to have a daughter named Maya... The MC Heather flirts with the idea of cheating on her husband...not exactly my cup of tea.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 2019-01-04

Enjoyable but lacking any real oomp at the end

In 'Atomic Marriage' we get a glimpse into the lives of two people - Heather, a Hollywood studio exec, and Brock Lewis, a southern pastor and author of a marriage self help book, also called 'Atomic Marriage'. The book has some rules on how to do marriage including daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tasks, as well as rules about do's and don't's around each other.. When a movie studio wants to turn his ultra successful self help book* into a movie about three married couples, all neighbours, who live out the rules in Lewis' book.The studio has decided that to get a better audience share, one of the couples should be gay. Lewis, a traditional southern preacher, is not down with that and it is Heather's job to change his mind.

There is a brief coda, that follows months after the main story, just tying up events and giving some level of closure. But otherwise this story is a single day and a bit in the life of these two people.

(*Side note: please can we stop turning non fiction, no narrative, self help books into movies. Trying to capture the rules, situations and ideas of a self help book through the experiences of a handful of people just doesn't work.)

The attempt to convince Lewis to agree to the movie is a vehicle for a peak into the life of a 'self help guru' (even when that title is not one they chose, but one trust upon them) and into the on-the-brink marriage of Heather. The meeting of these two changes the way Heather sees the author, and how she sees her marriage.

While this is a short story, so we can only expect so much from it in terms of details, there is only two characters ion the book and only one of them feels really fleshed out. We get to know Heather, her history, what she thinks, and how she feels, because we are given insight into her thoughts and memories. We only see Brock Lewis through her and her interactions so we never really get a good idea of who he is, beyond the single day of their meeting. Because of this I feel Lewis get's a bit of a short shift in the story, made to be more of a villain or hypocrite than he really is. Heather doesn't fair much better, in term of appearing as a good person, but we can see her whole thoughts and feelings so it comes across as a more reasoned person.

The whole story is told in 3rd person, present tense. It's a strange style that I don't often see. First person present tense, or third person past tense are common. This is not. Despite being third person, we only really get an insight into Heather's head. So what is gained from the third person view is that the narrator can set the scene and location by pointing out things that Heather may not actively notice. But other than that I'm not sure how much is gained by the point of view choice.

Narration is 3.5 / 5

Narration by Diane Lane is good, but nothing spectacular. She provides southern accent for Brock, although otherwise it's not a significantly different voice, not overly male sounding. The third person narrator and Heather's spoken voice are also differentiated. Lane is well paced, clear and engaging.

There is no sound effects or music or anything added. It's a straight reading of the sort story, which is generally the way I prefer it.

129 of 143 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 2019-01-28

More BS making southerners seem inferior to “refined” Hollywood types

Sittenfeld was trying to appear “open” to ideas from dumb southerners, but can we just get a break from hearing the same garbage over and over again? There are good people everywhere, even evangelical “hate mongers”. I can’t even describe how misinformed, ignorant, and close-minded this author is, which comes through in the words she writes. Does everything these days have to be so divisive?

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michele
  • 2019-01-09

A nice quick escape

I found this story to be surprising, entertaining, and even a little thought provoking. The performer was enjoyable. Easy listening . . . I even laughed out loud a time or two.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • 2019-01-04

Awful.

Glad it was free. Story went absolutely nowhere and subject matter was rather dumb. Don't mean to be insulting but I wish I had my 58 minutes back

151 of 171 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • T. Ryan
  • 2019-01-07

Ended way to soon!

It’s like watching only 1/2 of a movie... I wanted to see where it would lead

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Banjin Tsuki
  • Bridgeport, WV, US
  • 2019-02-12

More Conservative Christian stereotypes.

Yet another story capitalizing on the all too popular bashing of conservative Christians using typical anti-gay stereotypes. Thank God it was a free download.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Addicted Amazoner
  • Woodstock, GA USA
  • 2019-01-29

propaganda

Really mediocre plus it had too much unnecessary liberal propaganda. It would have been better without it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Caroline
  • 2019-01-28

Bland

Short, pointless, no characterization.
This isn't a book, it's not even a short story, it's like the first chapter of a boring romance novel, but it goes nowhere. The characters are uncompelling and uninteresting.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-01-25

simply horrible.

The best thing I can say about this book is thank goodness it was short. I kept waiting for some depth of character to come and rescue it from the garbage pail. Unfortunately that twist never comes. Don't waste your time, as short as it is, with this liberal, virtue signaling, trite, waste of an audible credit.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • SusanO
  • 2019-01-05

Yuck

Don't waste your time. Amazon says the author is "one of America’s funniest and most astute cultural commentators." Believe that with this item, and I tell you about a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. There's nothing astute and I doubt you'll find anything funny--unless you are amused by overdone Alabama accents. If it hadn't been free, I'd be asking for my money book. As it is, I'm sad for the waste of time.

33 of 39 people found this review helpful