Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Complicated Marriage--Janice Van Horne

What I'm Reading: Right now I'm reading A Complicated Marriage, by Janice Van Horne. When I accepted a copy of this book from TLC book tours, I wasn't thinking of it as a celebrity memoir, though the name Clement Greenburg was familiar to me. My husband got his Master's degree in Art History, and art critic Greenburg's name was tossed about in the types of conversations that Art History graduate students and professors have at parties.

The truth is, if I'd thought, "Celebrity memoir," I would never have read the book. I usually hate those. The name dropping! It drives me nuts. And the incessant chronological rundown of every detail of the person's life, as if, now that they're famous, their memories of drinking Tang  in the back yard and taking bike rides to the 7-11 as a kid are fascinating.

Luckily for me, A Complicated Marriage is different from the typical celebrity memoir, even though Van Horne spends plenty of time detailing the whirlwind of a social life that she and Clem led in the artsy world of Manhattan. Maybe it's because she is so humble, or maybe because she herself doesn't seem especially impressed with the likes of Jackson Pollock, but the name dropping doesn't bug me. And, Van Horne starts her narrative where the story starts (with herself meeting Clem) rather than droning on about her childhood. I'm loving the way she gives enough detail to offer readers a snapshot of a moment in time. Reading this book is like spending time browsing through old photos with friend or relative, listening to them recount stories of their life. I haven't gotten to the "complicated" part of the marriage yet--though it's foreshadowed, big time. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.


  1. This sounds really good, but aren't all marriages complicated?

    1. Good point! They had an open marriage (which she wasn't necessarily thrilled about), so I think it got more complicated than some do.

  2. I hope you continue to enjoy this one! Thanks for being on the tour.