Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Odds; Stewart O'Nan


Author:  Stewart O'Nan
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Viking
Edition: eGalley
Source: Net Galley 
Setting: Niagara Falls, Canada
Date Completed: 1/16/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

The Odds: A Love Story is a short but enjoyable novel of fewer than 200 pages.  It's the story of  Art and Marion Fowler, a couple married nearly 30 years, whose marriage is facing tough and desperate times. Both have lost their jobs, their home in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio is at risk of being foreclosed, credit card debt has mounted, and bankruptcy seems to be the next step.  The Fowler's have been stuck in a rut, and the mounting pressure has caused the couple to see divorce as a likely possibility.  

In a last ditch effort to save the marriage, Art convinces his wife to take what money they have left in their savings account, and  travel by bus for a Valentine's Day, for a second honeymoon to Niagara Falls. He has a plan which involves gambling their remaining savings in the casino's roulette wheel.  He's calculated "the odds", and is convinced they can hit it big,  hoping that they can save their marriage in the process.

The story moves back and forth in time over the couples 30 year marriage.  As the couple spends their time eating, drinking, and some sight-seeing, and at a concert,  the reader gets a glimpse at the tender times and troubling times of Art and Marion over the years.  The author goes deep into the inner and unsaid feelings of both Art and Marion, to let the reader know what is going on in their heads, including the grudges they have harbored against each other.  The things each has done and regretted, and all the many issues that lots of couples married that long may be faced to deal with at one time or another.

I loved the way the story was written. The beginning of each chapter features: "The Odds" of some event happening. For example, The Odds of a Married Couple Making Their 25th Anniversary: 1 in 6. I loved these headers, as they occasionally gave the reader a little prelude to what was to follow in each chapter.  The Odds: was a treat to read. It's the story of a marriage, with all of it's ups and downs.  It's not all doom and gloom; there is parts that made me laugh as well.  It's a story that might make you rethink your own relationship as well. I'm happy to have had the chance to read this one, and I think most readers will enjoy it.

41 comments:

  1. Oh yes!! I will have to carve out time for this one in Feb. After March I have to commitments other than to myself!

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  2. This is another author that I mean to try this year. I'm not counting how many authors I'm saying that about. LOL

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    1. Kay, I hear you. My TBR list increases daily from other bloggers.

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  3. This sounds interesting. I love those chapter headings.

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    1. The short chapters and heading with various odds were fun.

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  4. This is going to my list of have tos! thank you for the review.

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  5. Ooh, I'm going to have to read this. Great review, Diane!

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    1. Mary, I can see you enjoying this one. A fast and fun choice.

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  6. Sounds interesting. I'm adding it to my list.

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    1. Stewart O'Nan is an author who has never disappointed me.

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  7. This one sounds really intriguing and one I wouldn't mind trying. I like the odds chapter headings too. Great idea. Glad you enjoyed this one Diane.

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    1. Yes, learning about the various odds in a myriad of areas was fun.

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  8. I love the chapter headings too! What fun! I saw this offered on NetGalley but wasn't sure if it would be a good fit for me or not - sounds like a marvelous read and one I should look into! Thanks for the great review

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  9. Stacy, it's a very short novel, but enjoyable.

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  10. I've got this one pre-ordered (first time I've done that!) and can't wait to read it. Love the sound of those chapter headings, too.

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  11. This sounds very good. I'm glad to hear there was some humor in it. I sounds so depressing.

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  12. I'm looking forward to reading this book. I just heard about it yesterday on a list of most anticipated books of 2012!

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  13. A situation that I could see happen today. Like the idea of the chapter headings too.

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    1. Yes, the risk of losing everything nowadays is very realistic.

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  14. Stewart O'Nan is an author I "discovered" this last year, thanks to JoAnn. He's a masterful storytelleer. I look forward to this one.

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  15. I loved this one too!! My review posts tomorrow.

    This was my first O'Nan book and I delighted (yes, delighted) in his lovely, atmospheric prose. I felt as if I was right there with Art and Marion and all of their awkward moments. And the ending, although very abrupt, was perfect.

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    1. I liked getting inside of their heads -- great character development.

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  16. This does sound good!! Onto the wish list it goes!

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  17. Sounds delightful -- my kind of read. I love novels that explore marriage -- especially one that has spanned so much time!

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  18. I enjoyed this one too! It was such an unusual little novel, and I'm eager to read more O'Nan in the future.

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  19. I loved the one O'Nan book I read -- this looks a winner too.

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    1. It's rare to find a reader disappointed by his books.

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  20. I gave a little start when I saw the cover -- I love Niagara Falls and visit as often as I can! This definitely sounds like one I would enjoy, and its brevity appeals to me. I'm starting to really appreciate shorter works, especially when they pack a real punch.

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  21. You and Ti are determined to get me to read O'Nan, aren't you?

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  22. As I was about to say something about finally getting to something written by O'Nan, I see Softdrink's comment and have to laugh.

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  23. I didn't care too much for Last Night at the Lobster, but this sounds like one I might enjoy. I also want to read Emily, Alone, which I believe is also by O'Nan.

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  24. I have seen Jo Ann rave about O'Nan and here is another great review - I guess I am going to have to read one of his books one day soon!

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