Thursday, June 10, 2010

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Summary (taken from inside book flap)"Mary Beth Latham has built her life around her family, around caring for her three teenage children and preserving the rituals of their daily life.  When one of her sons becomes depressed, Mary Beth focuses on him, only to be blindsided by a shocking act of violence.  What happens afterward is a testament to the power of a woman's love and determination, and to the invisible lines of hope and healing that connect one human being to another.  Ultimately, as rendered in Anna Quindlen's mesmerizing prose, Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the things we fear the most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, and about living a life we never dreamed we'd have to live, but find ourselves brave enough to try."

And here's what I thought: This book was completely amazing.  Anna Quindlen writes in such a way that I get completely lost in her stories, and get caught up in the lives of her characters.   I picked this book up over the weekend and just gulped it down, staying up way past my bedtime to keep reading, and then picking it up again first thing the next morning.    Quindlen's storytelling is so seamless, that even though I had read the book flap, and thought I was preparing myself for what was going to happen, when the "shocking act" finally appeared, I was completely caught off guard.   And no, I'm not telling you what happens.   Suffice to say, I didn't see it coming, and it was worse than anything I had come up with up to that point in the book.

I found myself completely warming to Mary Beth, and feeling like I was really getting to know her through the story.  I like that she's capable, and a good mother, and that her family's not perfect.  Quindlen writes this family as real-life, lumps and bumps and all.  I don't know if I feel like I really identified with Mary Beth and her family, though --- she's nothing like any mother I knew when I was growing up.  However, my parents were pretty strict (and hey, I'm an adult now --- things are different for kids now).    I found this family fascinating, though -- the dynamic between Mary Beth and her children, and for her kids with each other, seems to be written as completely realistic --- I got caught up in this family and what was happening to them.

This was a great read.  I've never been let down by Anna Quindlen, and this book was no exception. 


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