go to link To ask other readers questions about Ordinary People , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order.
Oct 20, Julie rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorite-books. She wasn't joking. I don't get it. Why are you asking God to bring you back as a horse? I don't want to come back as one, next time. Horses know exactly what to do and they have more fun. She's right.
Ordinary People is a American drama film that marked the directorial debut of actor Robert Redford. The film stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore. Timothy Hutton and Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People () Timothy Hutton and Robert Redford in Ordinary People () Elizabeth McGovern in Ordinary.
A horse eats, it drinks, it sleeps, it plays, it procreates, it eliminates, it dies. The horse's trajectory is ruled by nature. It does what a horse does. The end. But, humans. Humans have strayed so far from the caves, our code for being human has become lost to us. Gone are the days of the finger point to the vagina, the penis, the fire, the meat, the water, the baby, the sky, the ground.
I've pointed my finger at Viggo Mortensen's penis in an earlier review, and nothing happened. It's like all the magic's gone. But, I digress. Now, depending on culture, religion, geography, and social and economic status, the code can be completely different for each person, and chances are, the human code for YOU is close to impossible anyway, and you feel as though you're failing every day.
Nobody's role is simple, these days. Not even a kid's. It used to mean minding your manners, respecting those who were bigger than you, treating each day as a surprise package, waiting to be opened. Everybody try their emotional and physical damndest. Strive, strive. Correct all defects. Don't show weakness. The code for humans is so complicated now, it seems based on a pursuit of perfection we sought for ourselves, but had no realistic basis.
We have holy texts that guide us to be good, but none that I'm aware of that ask us to be God. But we ain't Divine, people. And most of us are doing a lousy job of being perfect, but an excellent job of being miserable. And no make-up or yoga pants or juice cleanse or private college or grad school or Paleo diet or test scores or attractive spouse or clever children or 2-car garage or 4, square foot home or Mercedes Benz or colored hair or bank account or successful career or skinny ass or perpetual smile is ever going to make us PERFECT.
And as far as I'm concerned. I'm headed to mine right now. I'm trading in my overpriced yoga pants for leopard skins, and Viggo M's ass better be waiting for me. My daughter says she'll carry me on her back. View all 64 comments. Feb 21, Julie Christine rated it it was amazing Shelves: read , classic , usa-contemporary , best-of It is one thing to read a book written by a contemporary author, set in the not-too-distant past; it is another entirely to read one written in and completely of its time.
To read Ordinary People is to step through the looking glass into the sweetly familiar terrain of mids. But beneath the surface details is a book of timeless themes and incomparable elegance. As a fan of the movie, I could hear the voices of the actors as I read the dialogue: Mary Tyler Moore's controlled high-pitche It is one thing to read a book written by a contemporary author, set in the not-too-distant past; it is another entirely to read one written in and completely of its time. As a fan of the movie, I could hear the voices of the actors as I read the dialogue: Mary Tyler Moore's controlled high-pitched fury, Donald Sutherland's velvet sorrow, Judd Hirsch's nasal sarcasm.
But Judith Guest's brilliant, unaffected writing brings life to the characters in a more personal and profound way. You become a participant, not a passive observer, in the inner lives of a family as it falls apart, slowly, wretchedly, inevitably. I was just eleven years old when Ordinary People appeared in cinematic form in the autumn of , but I remember it as a seminal cultural event of the era, hand-in-hand with Kramer vs. Kramer , released at the end of It was the year my parents divorced, my oldest brother joined the Marines, the American hostage crisis in Iran dominated the headlines, we waited hours in line at the Cinerama to see The Empire Strikes Back , Reagan took office and John Lennon was murdered - my political and socio-cultural self awakened at the start of a new decade to my formative years and to a world about to enter hyper-speed.
I can't imagine Ordinary People is still being read in high school English classes, but more's the pity. The clothing and music have changed, but the universal nature of adolescence - the sense of isolation, the discovery of love and the longing to be accepted coupled with the struggle to assert one's individuality - remains. Anyone who has suffered depression, whether as a teen or as an adult, will walk in step with Conrad Jarrett as he struggles to return from a shadow life to one with dimension and hope.
And what a gift to have one's conflict and confusion validated by Guest's honest, aching, clean prose. View all 23 comments. Feb 12, Fabian rated it it was ok. Here--the underrated work of the artist otherwise known as the screenwriter in its glory. This is bizarrely lame--the subjects become known superficially, their problems are mundane. Not a wise choice, people. But, apparently, vanilla can be swiftly transformed into gold Oscar-wise. View all 3 comments.
Jan 21, Anne-Marie rated it it was amazing Shelves: your-mind-is-bad , top-shelf. Books like Ordinary People are why I read. This is the first book I've read on the subject of depression that isn't written as a memoir, from a clinical stand point, or with the intention of "self-help". With that said, Ordinary People was the most concise version of depression I've ever seen. Judith Guest has to have had first-hand experience with depression or else she needs to get out of my head.
There is so much comfort in seeing your own inexplicable emotions laid out before you page after p Books like Ordinary People are why I read. There is so much comfort in seeing your own inexplicable emotions laid out before you page after page. And Berger, if only everyone could have a doctor like him!
Some of Berger's wisdom that really stood out for me: "Depression is not sobbing and crying and giving vent, it is plain and simple reduction of feeling. You can't feel pain, you aren't gonna feel anything else either. Jul 19, Juju rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. This book was first recommended to me by my high school English teacher. I had just read Lord of the Flies, and she could tell I needed something to restore my faith in humanity.
This book is incredible! It is a real, unflinchingly honest look at life and all of the horrible things that happen. It is also a reminder of the reasons that life is still worth living in spite of those horrible things. Apr 03, Norah Una Sumner rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: everyone. Shelves: great-male-characters , loss , romance , contemporary , adult , family-theme , great-female-characters , 5-star-read , philosophy , young-adult.
Some of them are so far from pathetic, so far from meaningless as to be beyond reason, maybe beyond forgiveness. Judith Guest's writing style was very surprising to me at the beginning because she narrates in present tense very risky! But the more you read the more you get attached to Cal and Conrad and the more you want them to make everything work and be happy. I liked them both very much,but I also like Jeannine and Berger. Beth,however,is a mystery to me I didn't like her but I did hoped that she and Cal would overcome their issues.
Apart from that,I am very satisfied with the ending and the fact that Conrad went to see Lazenby in the end. I was hoping through the whole book that they would become friends again not that they ever stopped being friends,but you know what I mean. It is good, believe me.
Shelves: fiction , novel , zz-5star , z , mental-illness , reviewed , readbooks-female-author-or-illust. Very psychologically astute book about a family and what happens to the parents and younger son after the older son dies in an accident. Good character development and it's well written. I really felt for the surviving son and I really liked his psychiatrist as well.
And this is one of the few times I can say that, even though I read the book first, I enjoyed the movie as well. Jun 13, Ingrid rated it liked it. I liked this book. I hated the mom. And there it was, sitting on of the shorter shelves, with its bland cover and bland title. Ordinary People. I know nothing about this story, and never intended to read this book; however, something urged me to check it out, take it home, and read it.
My first attempt to read this book was unsuccessful. I felt emotionally shut off from everything. I put it down for a few weeks. Not as good as her actual story, but good enough. They stay the same, and are always the same. It was almost as if I could feel my soul crush under the emotional weight of this book, as if I could feel my entire body being submerged into the sorrows of each and every character; their sorrows became my sorrows, their happiness, my happiness.
I was an ordinary person living an ordinary life reading about ordinary people living their ordinary lives, and the experience was absolutely, enchantingly, extraordinary. This is a novel of complex simplicity and extreme beauty; the story grows on itself, never forgetting the emotions of everyday people in our everyday world, and successfully implementing that concept of unique banality into the all the characters present in the novel. Many people read fantasy and magical-abstract fiction to completely escape the reality, the truth of today. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I always find myself slipping into a reverie of reality, I always find myself craving a fiction of truth.
As you can obviously see, I am not that good at writing actual reviews of the books I so deeply love. Instead, I write out my stories, I write out my un-edited, plain, and just for the heck of it ordinary thoughts. Apr 20, Nathan rated it it was ok Shelves: ugly-covers , two-and-a-half-stars , ya-coming-of-age-etc.
Last night, I watched the movie based on Ordinary People and it's one of those situations where it's leaps and bounds above its source material. It highlights all the good parts, while cutting out the bits and that are contrived and silly. Redford deserved his Oscar for best director for pulling a great movie out of an alright book. Was nobody else bothered by the parents in this book? Cal is perfect, the great orphan who pulled himself up from the muck to achieve greatness.
He still has depth, Last night, I watched the movie based on Ordinary People and it's one of those situations where it's leaps and bounds above its source material. He still has depth, despite his cloying bits, and throughout the whole novel, he gets to show his real human thoughts and struggles. Beth does not have anything below the surface in the book.
She is only an evil harpy who dares to have a life outside of her family. All women in the novel are either awful shrews or the second incarnation of the Virgin Mary.
Mary Tyler Moore, by the sheer virtue of the fact that she can act like nobody's business is able to give humanity to Beth that Guest never did. She is visibly repressing everything, fighting along the way.
It's much more moving than the pieces in the novel that get devoted to her. The Conrad part of the book really was great, even though he grew up with a pretty two-dimensional mother. Guest explores ways to keep humanity when dealing with a person with mental illness, and she has some pretty stellar moments along the way. His life is funny and normal and complex, despite the fact that he has problems. Often times in lit, people with depression cease to be really people, and it's refreshing that Guest is able to avoid doing so.
The movie also portrayed Conrad incredibly well, and in both it's clear that his life is the central focus. Guest's prose also bothered me a little throughout the whole book. It seems like nothing was really deliberate. Haphazard sentence length with really no flow, and sometimes awkward word choice dominates her important message. It's a shame too, because every now and again she has a moment that is powerful and deeply felt, but it takes some digging to get to it.
Some of them are so far from pathetic, so far from meaningless as to be beyond reason" but it took a while for something original to come through instead of moments where Guest clearly thinks she is being insightful, but is really just repeating another platitude. So, mixed feelings here.
Some great moments, some overwritten and odd ones. Watch the movie instead. It's much more well thought and skips over a good deal of the parts that were poorly done. View 1 comment. Jun 27, J. This book, for me, represents the pinnacle of a 'literary' book that captures real life so effectively that it is entirely banal.
Granted, making something both realistic and interesting is one of the greatest challenges any author faces. Whether through dialogue, plot structure, or motivation, it is always more difficult to write a book that seems at once 'real', but does not fall into the 'truth is stranger than fiction' valley of attempted realism.
Modern authors of this vein i. Salinger b This book, for me, represents the pinnacle of a 'literary' book that captures real life so effectively that it is entirely banal. Salinger become more an act of dadaist 'difference for difference's sake' than any actually sort of conceptual exploration.
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Film Expand the sub-menu. Berger allows Conrad to stop blaming himself for Buck's death and accept his mother's frailties. This article is about the film. As buttoned-up as her character is, it was the role that revealed just how much more the actor had inside. Super glad that when I was nineteen the cover and synopsis intrigued me.
And as has been noted many times, simply acting differently does not make one a revolutionary. Oft times, it's just a sign of self-centered contrariness. View all 9 comments. All I know is that this is one of the latter. In this book, members of a family are struggling with their sense of guilt or failed responsibility in the aftermath of tragedy view spoiler [ Con over surviving when his stronger brother drowned and Cal over somehow failing his son when he attempted suicide. View 2 comments. Mar 14, Aj Sterkel rated it really liked it Shelves: adult.
Ordinary People alternates points-of-view between a father and a son. The father, Cal, is a successful attorney who is attempting to hold his disintegrating family together. This book is a modern classic that was first published in I can see why this book is a classic and why people love it. It was frighteningly easy to see my teenage self in Conrad.
A lot of his thoughts were my thoughts when I was eighteen. He has a wonderful sense of humor. He cares about people. He sets goals for himself and works hard to achieve them. He actually feels like a real person and not just a stereotype of a depressed teen. I also appreciate that his father takes an interest in his life and makes an effort to understand him. Conrad is an interesting character, but I wish I could say that about the other characters in the book.
This is a short novel with a lot of minor characters. There were a few times when I struggled to remember who was who. The writing style also caused a few issues for me.
The book is written stream-of-consciousness style. Some sections have very little punctuation. I get it. Talk about something else now. Despite those issues, I really liked Ordinary People. I know that I will reread it in the future. There are probably a lot of subtle things that I missed on the first read.
And, I need to track down a copy of the movie. May 16, Katelyn Beaty rated it liked it Shelves: grief , coming-of-age , family-life. Judith Guest's Ordinary People explores a topic so familiar to us that I'm not sure she succeeds at breaking any molds. But due to my ignorance, perhaps she's one of the writers who set the mold in the first place.
If this is true, then we have Guest to thank for telling the story of the private grief of three members of one family, all trying to deal with the loss of another member in disparate ways. So disparate is their grief that it drives the members apart from one another, instead of bring Judith Guest's Ordinary People explores a topic so familiar to us that I'm not sure she succeeds at breaking any molds.
So disparate is their grief that it drives the members apart from one another, instead of bringing them together when they need each other most. Ordinary People is primarily told from the viewpoint of Conrad, an awkward and reserved teenager trying to cope with the loss of his older brother. Though not many details are given, we gather that Conrad's isolation and guilt is severe enough to land him in rehabilitation to keep from attempting suicide.
His father, Cal, a naively easygoing accountant, is terribly concerned about his son and makes earnest attempts to "reach out," though he ends up stifling Conrad more than freeing him. The mother, Beth, is one of those characters you have both compassion and hatred toward. So private and complex is her grief that she copes by taking a limitless number of holidays and vacations, all the while blaming her family for "changing" and becoming so "somber.
While the themes are a bit cliched, we also need these stories, to remind us of the depths of human fragility, brokenness, and deep longing for connection. Nov 28, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing Shelves: family , dysfunctional-family , death , fiction , mental-disorder. Conrad is grief-struck after his brother is killed in a boating accident, and tries to commit suicide. After finally getting out of the hospital where he was subjected to shock therapy and drugs, he wants to talk about his brother, but while his father agrees that he still needs to talk about Buck, his mother won't hear of it, and would rather pretend that everything is normal than speak to her son about his grief.
This book is really great, even better than the film. It was sad though, the Conrad is grief-struck after his brother is killed in a boating accident, and tries to commit suicide. It was sad though, the ending was certainly unexpected. Sep 20, Abigail rated it liked it. For the first couple chapters of this book, I was rather confused and repelled by Guest's writing style. Conrad and Calvin's struggles, though revealed at painstakingly slow rates, made me have to read more and more and more. When the true conflict is actually revealed, there was a new appreciation for the writing style.
In his off hours, he wrote stories in his basement — one of which a friend sent to lit agent Sam Adams. He got the young scribe a TV writing job, and Sargent wrote the script. On Christmas Eve , Sargent got an unexpected call. Sargent delivered the rewrite four days later and never went another day as an unemployed writer. His final script was for The Amazing Spider Man , which he finished at age Herb Sargent died in Alvin Sargent was married to Joan Camden from , and he later was married to producer and Stand Up to Cancer co-founder Laura Ziskin until her death in A memorial service will be held in Los Angeles, but no date has been announced.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to Stand Up to Cancer, which Laura Ziskin co-founded in Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy. All Rights reserved. You will be redirected back to your article in seconds. Read the full story. Read More About: Alvin Sargent. Powered by WordPress. Close the menu.