Ann Patchett is one of America’s best essayists and fiction writers writing today. Readers know her best for Bel Canto and State of Wonder. She has written 6 novels and 3 works of nonfiction. Patchett is the winner of the Pen/Faulkner award, England’s Orange Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year. What surprised me most about this collection of 23 essays is how much I could see them being enjoyed by both men or women. It’s a given that each is well-written due to Patchett’s long writing apprenticeship leading to work at the New York Times. Her personal essays, however, transcend the personal and biographical, and could be touchstones for any of us as we reflect on our life’s journey. While many of the essays in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage focus on the writer’s life, the struggles therein are easily relateable to other professions. Ann’s circuitous route to the ‘happy marriage’ in the title essay will provide encouragement to readers with their own relationship challenges. I recommend this book as a gift to others, it would be great as well for family book discussions, at a reunion perhaps, and for discussion in book groups.