October 24, 2006

The Man Who Owned Vermont

Category: Literature :: Permalink

Last week, I reread Bret Lott’s The Man Who Owned Vermont.  I first read it a few years back, before I was married, and I remembered it being fairly moving back then.  Now that I’m married, it’s even more powerful.

Guys, don’t let the fact that Lott’s more recent novel Jewel was in the Oprah Book Club fool you into thinking that he’s a “writer for women” and therefore not something you’d find worthwhile.  As a matter of fact, I suspect that a lot of guys would benefit from books they consider “written for women,” but even apart from that, this book is about guys.

It’s about ordinary guys: Lott doesn’t focus on celebrities or the rich, on high-paid lawyers or doctors; he writes about blue collar workers and in this case about an RC/Schweppes salesman and about guys going hunting.  It’s about the way guys hurt the women they claim to love.  It’s about the damage that guys can do to their marriages and what happens to them when they decide their marriages are over.

It’s a melancholy book, but it isn’t hopeless.  It’s well worth reading, and as I read it I was driven to repent of my sins and love my wife more.  Not a bad thing for a novel to accomplish.

Posted by John Barach @ 7:53 am | Discuss (3)

3 Responses to “The Man Who Owned Vermont

  1. Matt Says:

    Sora and I just read this book aloud, because of your recommendation.

    We both agreed that we didn’t think there was much hope for a happy marriage between Rick and Paige. They are not married for any common purpose larger than their own happiness, which is a sure recipe for dysfunction.

    But Lott really understands the dynamics of marital sin. He paints a pretty good picture of how to be a jerk in a marriage. The book made me more aware of how and when I’m doing the same things.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. John Says:

    Glad you liked it, Matt & Sora!

    I haven’t read much else by Lott — just some short stories. But I did appreciate this novel when I read it a few months back.

    Is there hope for a happy marriage between Rick and Paige? I don’t know. But I do think so. So much of that will depend on the choices that they make down the road.

    But the reason I said the book is not without hope is that I do think Rick has understood more of who he is and how he’s been treating Paige. And that, at least, is a good start.

  3. Kata Iwannhn » Books I Enjoyed in 2006 Says:

    […] * Bret Lott, The Man Who Owned Vermont.  I’ve blogged about this one. […]

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