16 September 2010

Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen




I requested to review Anna Quindlen's Every Last One for the Crazy Book Tours with a little bit of hesitation -- I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book since I was one of the few people who wasn't the biggest fan for Quindlen's very popular book, Rise and Shine.  I know, I know.  I was one of "them."

Last weekend, I was on another flight coming back from Boston and I had just finished 
Raven Stole the Moon.  I closed that book on the flight and thank goodness, I had Every Last One in my carry-on bag.  Most of you all know that I cannot stand being on a plane when I've finished a book and then I'm stuck in the air with nothing to do but deal with all the "Bobs" out there.

In this recent Quindlen release, Mary Beth Latham is married with 3 children and lives in the suburbs.  Her husband is an optometrist and Mary Beth owns her own landscaping business, and although a bit flawed, life is, for the most part, good.  Ruby, her oldest daughter is going to go off to college soon, and her twin boys have just entered high school -- Alex is incredibly athletic and popular, and Max is musically-inclined and a loner.  Their house in the neighborhood is beautiful.  They have two cars.  They have a dog.  Life is...fine.

I opened up 
Every Last One and the first 100 pages threw me a bit for a loop -- I was drawn into it, but I just couldn't figure out why.  Mary Beth's voice was so removed, almost like she was looking at her life through a camera and filming it -- distant, sad, disconnected.  Usually something like this would frustrate me, but I couldn't stop reading it.

And then the last half of the book happened, and I will not give one hint away.  It's good.  It's really, really good.  I couldn't read certain pages without tearing up or my throat closing over, and I shuddered and gasped at everything.  I cannot in good conscience give a thing away.

Anna Quindlen has written with such an effortless manner to leave you completely stunned.  With cunning ease, she has drawn you into the lives of one family in one town.  And how quickly any one of us could be them.

Do not pass by this one.  Pick it up.  Drink it in.  Hug your family.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick

18 comments:

  1. I love Anna Quindlen but had troubles with Rise and Shine too, I guess I was one of "them" as well. I'm so glad you enjoyed this because I've heard very mixed reviews, I've passed it up before but may not be so quick to judge next time. Thanks for your review!

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  2. The only Quindlen book I've read so far is Blessings, and it sounds like I had the opposite experience from yours with Every Last One--I thought Blessings had a great first half which then petered out and disappointed me.

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  3. Glad u enjoyed this book. I didn't car for it -- the mother irked me for some reason.

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  4. I haven't read Anna Quindlen in a few years, but I'd like to give this one a try. One True Thing, Object Lessons, and Black and Blue were hits for me, but Blessings was a bit of a disappointment.

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  5. @ Whitney -- I count myself in fortunate company if you are one of "them" as well. :) I'd be interested to hear what you think -- I was a bit surprised that I liked it so much!

    @ Kathy -- I've not read Blessings, but it seems like Quindlen is a hit or miss, huh?

    @ Bibliophile by the Sea -- I can see why the mother may have been annoying or unsettling. I was frustrated quite a bit, too!

    @ JoAnn -- I'm wondering if I should try Rise and Shine again? I'm not sure!

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  6. I really liked this as well. At first, I was like ummmm okay and it was easy to see where it waas going but ughhh..

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  7. You know, I've kind of skimmed everyone's review of this book but your review intrigued me. I've never read Anna Quindlen but I might check this one out.

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  8. @ pnkflipflops -- Yep, I was moving along in the first part, and kept wondering where I was going to be going, and what was the point, and then POW! :)

    @ Amanda -- Let me know what you think when you read it, I'd love to get your perspective on it, too! It was definitely one that made you sit up and take notice, you know?

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  9. I'm a huge fan of Quindlen's work, and have been ever since the days she was a newspaper columnist. Her tales of being a young mom in the 1980's absolutely saved my sanity.

    I this this was one her best novels to date. It was totally compelling. I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

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  10. I'm a huge fan of Quindlen's work, and have been ever since the days she was a newspaper columnist. Her tales of being a young mom in the 1980's absolutely saved my sanity.

    I this this was one her best novels to date. It was totally compelling. I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

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  11. i must read this. love your hints.... i'm intrigued.

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  12. I planned on reading this book and then I just changed my mind. No idea why. Now though I am thinking I should change my mind again and read it!

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  13. @ Becca -- I can definitely see from her writing that she has a knack for being very authentic in truly conveying how people are in their lives. I wish I enjoyed Rise and Shine more, but I absolutely can say that I enjoyed this one immensely. I agree that this was absolutely compelling!

    @ dreamday -- Do check it out! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as well!

    @ Stephanie -- Absolutely pick this one up! It only appears as though it's a quiet book that can be picked up at anytime, but it's not -- it's one to pick up right away and absorb!

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  14. I have never read Anna Quindlen but have heard many good reports of her. I really must add her to the list! Thank you for the lovely review.

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  15. I'm psyched to read this novel, I have a copy on my bookshelves, but have yet to pick it up. Thanks for the review :)

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  16. Litlove -- This is a wonderful and sad story; make sure you have the tissues nearby!

    reederreads -- Oh, yes, do pick it up! I think you would enjoy it, but as I mentioned to litlove, do make sure you have something to help you with your tears! :)

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  17. Very, very good review! You know I felt much the same way about the book. So amazingly written!

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  18. ham1299 -- Thanks for stopping by! Yes, it was absolutely amazing, I did not expect it!

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