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One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

One True Thing (1994)

by Anna Quindlen

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
One True Thing could have easily been maudlin and sentimental, but it wasn't. The story of Ellen Gulden finding herself through the crucible of caring for her mother with terminal cancer, dealing with the emotionally unavailable father she once adored, and being accused of giving her mother a killing dose of morphine was emotional, yet tenderly written. For me the books' main theme was about thinking one knows one true thing and then finding out that thing isn't true at all. Very thought provoking. ( )
  AuntieClio | Nov 22, 2013 |
This is the best, the most carefully written, of all Quindlen's books I've read so far. ( )
  TheJeanette | Oct 18, 2013 |
I'm not really sure why I wanted to read this book. The movie trailer has been putting me off from reading it for years. I never had any interest in reading it, or seeing the movie... but then it showed up in my library's ebook collection, so I checked it out. And then didn't put my ereader down except for essentials like sleeping and cooking dinner for a day and a half.

These days, stories about adults who return home to take care of their ill parents are fairly common, but I've never read one as heart-wrenching as this one. For such a quiet novel, there are a million things going on all at once, and all of them keep driving the story forward. I just loved it. I'm going to have to buy a copy so I can read it once a year. ( )
  VintageReader | Aug 19, 2013 |
I have to say that I had started watching the 1998 movie that came on television the other night when Mareena reminded me that I had the book hidden somewhere around the house. I decided to dig it out and read it because I love sad books. When a homemaker mother gets cancer, her daughter quits her top dog job to take care of her. The husband is a college professor who is remote and leaves the care of his wife to his daughter.

I enjoyed this book; it was well-written and an easy read. It was very interesting as I love books about the dynamics of families. I give it an A+! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Feb 6, 2012 |
Ellie Gulden had a fairly normal life. The very gifted and successful daughter of an English professor and a dutiful housewife, she and her two brothers wanted for very little, other than more attention from their constantly occupied father and always busy mother. Their home is a welcoming place filled with their mother Kate’s craftwork and the smells of her wonderful cooking and baking.
As a stark contrast we are introduced to Ellie as she is in jail, accused of killing her mother who had terminal cancer.
When Kate was diagnosed, and it became clear that she did not have long to live, Ellie’s father George requests that she leave her successful career in the city, her flat and her boyfriend to move herself back home to care for her mother. It is delivered as a “fait accompli” and leaves Ellie with little choice, even though she has never had a great relationship with her mother. She wonders how she will cope.
However, during the next five months, Ellie and Kate form a relationship they never thought possible. The pair start a two woman club called the Gulden Girls’ Book and Cook Club and rediscover old classic books which enable Kate to tell Ellie the things she never told her growing up. The charismatic George, on the other hand, seems to do everything he can to avoid helping his wife, believing that this should be done by a woman. Ellie struggles to understand why he is so distant and believes him to have been frequently unfaithful to his wife. As if Kate did not know?
As Kate’s health worsens, so Ellie becomes closer to her and when the end does come, Ellie suspects that George has overdosed her mother’s morphine. But it is Ellie who is arrested and we are left in disbelief as she “covers” for her father.
This novel is profoundly sad and uncompromising. It deals with illness and death, love and loss in devastating detail. I found it compelling and deeply emotional. It is a story I will not forget easily.
“Death is so strange, so mysterious, so sad, that we want to blame someone for it. And it was easy to blame me.”
This book was made available to me, prior to publication, for an honest review. ( )
  teresa1953 | Sep 7, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anna Quindlenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Prudence M. Quindlen
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Jail is not as bad as you might imagine.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A successful writer returns home to care for her dying mother. It is a gripping, heart-wrenching, and ultimately uplifting story.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812976185, Paperback)

One True Thing is a film starring Meryl Streep as the cancer-stricken homemaker mother, Renee Zellweger as the daughter who quits her top-dog job to care for her, and William Hurt as the chilly professor who lets the women in the family do the heavy emotional lifting dying requires. But the real star of the project remains former New York Times everyday-life columnist Anna Quindlen, who quit her top-dog job to write novels (and who took time off from college to nurse her own dying mother).

Quindlen hit a nerve with One True Thing, which captures an experience seldom dealt with in popular culture. (One exception: the sensitive 1996 film with Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio of the play Marvin's Room.) Though the heroine of One True Thing, Ellen Gulden, is a golden girl with two brothers who'll lose her career the instant she steps off the fast track, society concurs with her dad, who says, "It seems to me another woman is what's wanted here."

The book is a mother-daughter tale that should please fans of, say, The Joy Luck Club. It's not flashy, but it has a deep feel for the way children often discover, just before it's too late, who their parents really are. "Our parents are never people to us," Ellen writes, "they're always character traits.... There is only room in the lifeboat of your life for one, and you always choose yourself, and turn your parents into whatever it takes to keep you afloat." The mercy-killing subplot isn't gripping, but the palpable sense of deepening family intimacy certainly is. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A New York psychiatrist recounts her mother's death for which she was arrested. At the time, Dr. Ellen Gulden was accused of killing her mother with an overdose of morphine, a charge in part based on a high school essay in which she advocated euthanasia.… (more)

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