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A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman
A Year by the Sea Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman
Author: Joan Anderson
Now available in paperback, the entrancing story of how one woman's journey of self-discovery gave her the courage to persevere in re-creating her life. — Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously repla...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780767905930
ISBN-10: 0767905938
Publication Date: 8/15/2000
Pages: 208
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 155 ratings
Publisher: Broadway
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

kateford avatar reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 26
I must be the only reviewer who found this book absolutely irritating. The thought behind it -- excellent. I was actually jealous at the writer's ability to make a decision to take a year away from her marriage for reflection, and that she had the resources to do so. I relished the opportunity to curl up with her for a year, feeling sad, or happy, joyous or disappointed, as she wrote about her experience.

Instead, I found my forcefully slamming the book down at times, and at other times, heaving deep sighs of irritation and annoyance. I thought Joan was a whiner who didn't appreciate the abundance of riches she had available to her, to even think about this experiment, let alone carry it out.

Poor me, my marriage has grown stagnant. My children are grown. I'm lonely. I'm overweight. Join the club, sister. But, guess where you and most of your readers part company? Many of us are still slaving away at the 9-5 jobs which put food on the table and pay the rent or mortgage. We don't have options. We don't have Cape Cod getaway houses, multiple vehicles, royalty checks arriving, a savings account we can empty to make the leap, and a year of free time to write about our disappointments.

I don't begrudge her what she had. I just wish she would have had more tact, class and dignity not to write from a place where she felt she had to constantly lament her life, when she had more abundance -- an embarrassment of riches, really -- in that little cottage and the option to retreat to it, than legions of sad and lonely married women have.

I also have to hand it her to husband, estranged during this time, who took a few steps to make her grow up and stop whining. For instance, her cottage belonged to her family before she married and it came down through "her side of the family", not his. Long after she'd separated from her husband and moved to her cottage, and he'd moved to another state to start over a new career as well, the cottage needed a major repair. What did she do? Called him for financial help. Another PBS review states he "refused to help" and I think this was totally justified. The husband pointed out, and I think fairly so, that this was her house, her problem. He had bills, as well. Two mortgages to make (his new house, the old house), etc. It was her decision to take a year off and create this financially precarious situation, and she can't have it both ways -- the independence of living alone, and the expectation that her estranged husband would fix her house for her the minute something went wrong.

She then wrung her hands and lamented about what she had to do --- gasp --- GET A JOB and earn extra money digging clams and such, to pay for the repairs. Welcome to our world, Joan, the world populated by single, divorced women everywhere -- and with small children, working two jobs to make ends meet.

I also felt she used too much poetic rambling. She uses 10 words when she could use 5 and there was just such a sense of "Look at me, I'm a writer. I can write about a rainstorm and make it sound as if I'm watching it in technicolor."

I appreciate nature and all its glory, but the best way to cook fresh ingredients is to let them shine through with simple recipes. Ditto nature and her beautiful displays. You don't need to ramp up the poetry to help describe Mother Nature's beauty. We GET it.

I still envy her ability to take herself away to reflect, and I think she made some wonderful observations which many women, me included, will benefit from, gut good gosh, she was so annoying.
reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on
Helpful Score: 6
A good read for your middle aged "wish I would have" set, however
Sometimes a writer uses just too many adjectives..............
Ideas were explained to death, which left nothing for the reader to imagine.
reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I agree with the long negative review listed here, omigod this woman had to get a job and take care of herself during her one year sabbatical from life and marriage. It is a good read though just not exactly what I expected. Myself being a single self-employed woman I really resonated with the subjects of getting back to nature and how solitude and forcing yourself out of your comfort zone really can make you grow in ways you never expected. But unfortunately I don't think this author has ever really had to struggle for money or free time in the way that most American women do on a daily basis. It is a pleasant enough book but from a white collar yuppie who finds herself in her 50's. Thank god I am not even forty and I have already learned most of these lessons. Check this one out from the library, there are things to learn from it but my guess is alot of women are already ahead of Joan's learning curve.
reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
An absolutely wonderful book about a woman's adventure and finding solace in a world after a "failed" marriage. She finds herself and what she really wants out of her life by spending time alone. A book every woman should read, married or not. Very insightful about what we all need to learn to love ourselves.
reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on
Helpful Score: 3
It's basically Eat, Pray, Love for the non-traveling American. Most frustrating is the meaningful metaphor the author finds in every single moment, image, event and word. The constant metaphors bogged down the story.
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justreadingabook avatar reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on + 1705 more book reviews
Interesting story about a gal who wants to rediscover herself and separates from her husband for a year to to just that.
Yes, it was a little annoying that she was having a bit of a pity party for herself when she does have the option of actually separating and having a home on Cape Cod to stay at.
Glad she found herself, a job and is back with hubby.
reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on + 10 more book reviews
A good narrative. Who wouldn't enjoy a year to figure things out? I love that it all happens at the sea. Poetic and philosophical it still fits in many practical and wise quotes, thoughts, lines of poetry, and spirituality. Taken one month at a time as the author does, the reader could journal, ruminate, and pray over the nuggets of wisdom found here.
reviewed A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman on + 19 more book reviews
wonderful read