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Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
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Every Last One

by Anna Quindlen

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Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
Every Last One was a little slow to start, but a few chapters in, I was swept up in the easy, meandering flow of the narrator's voice. All the scenes, the conversations, the memories were so vivid I felt like I was walking beside Mary Beth, listening to her life in my mind.

Mild SPOILER ALERT***
The suspense became almost unbearable, and although it took a long time coming, once the climactic event was drawing near, I could feel it with an overwhelming sense of dread, and then ... it was worse than I'd anticipated. Her life in the aftermath of what happened was gut-wrenching and real in many ways. And then, it wasn't. There were some points in her recovery that didn't ring true. It may have been the absolute devastation and then the sudden change and speed of her healing, or maybe that there was just too much left unsaid, no acknowledgement of her flaws.

I'm not a reader who needs heroines and "likable" characters, in fact, I'm a writer who writes from the viewpoints of "unlikable" characters, but the only thing I didn't like about the book was Mary Beth's unabated smugness. She came off as superior in her view of herself as a mother and her judgments of other women were relentless and, at times, harsh. At the same time, her forgiveness of characters that most would find it impossible to forgive didn't line up with her judgmental approach.

All of this leaves me very conflicted about the book. I liked it a lot in that I was so gripped, so enraptured by both the story and the writing, and yet I was angry at some of the things Mary Beth said and thought. In the end, that might be what makes it a really good book -- I'm still thinking about it, and still angry at that smug superiority.

( )
  CathrynGrant | Nov 21, 2014 |
OK, I admit it. I'm a sucker for this sort of writing. Anna Quindlen is very good at manipulating my emotions, but my recent experience has taught me that I'm pretty emotionally gullible! I'm therefore not so sure that it will appeal to other more sensible people than me. I was half way through listening to Quindlen reading her own memoir when I decided to give up audiobooks, but she talked about her own life in the same way as she narrates this story. I can see that her target audience is American middle class mothers (the main character in this book has a soccer-playing son! You can't get targeting more direct than that, can you?), but I'm not sure why I sit so well in that demographic. I cried in all the right places, but I've been doing a bit of crying lately and it doesn't take much to trigger that response. ( )
  oldblack | Jun 22, 2014 |
I've enjoyed Anna Quindlen's other works, so I went ahead and started this one without even glancing at the blurb on the inside cover. I think if Quindlen wanted readers to anticipate what was going to happen, she would given more explicit clues in the novel, not just the jacket cover.

I'm glad I went in without knowing anything, but think the book would be enjoyable either way.

The characters are rich and the narrative is insightful. Without giving too much away, the first half of the book deals with the everyday life of a family of five. It rings true.

Everything changes in the second half, leaving the characters to struggle to find their way back to "everyday life."

"Every Last One," has a lot to say about parenting and families, but another theme I appreciated was is the nature of friendships between women as we move through the stages of life.

A very compelling read. ( )
  keneumey | Jun 4, 2014 |
Wow. ( )
  librarymary09 | May 24, 2014 |
Wow. ( )
  librarymary09 | May 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
From reading the summary of this book, I knew that something 'horrible' happens so to be honest, I was waiting for it and started each chapter with a slight anticipation. This likely skewed the beginning of the book for me because I found the pages until 'the event' too descriptive and too... boring, for lack of better word. Once the 'shocking act of violence' took place, the book did a 180 degree turn for me. I began to turn each page with a new vigor and couldn't wait to read what would happen next.

As a parent, this was a hard read. The images of the children in the book had the face of my son and as a result, I spent a good part of the book with tears in my eyes. Have you ever tried to read a book with tears in your eyes? It's not very easy. However, I have to say that if a book can make you cry, it has to be well written. To be able to relate to it on such a personal level is a sure sign that the autor, Anna Quindlen, researched her topic well and knew how to relate to her readers.

Overall, I feel that this book should be added to the 'to be read' list for most women but especially mothers. It really does make you look at your life and appreciate what you have while you have it right in front of you. Taking each day as it comes and not looking too far in the future!
 
This is Quindlen's sixth novel, and she knows how to build the armature of a story. Yet even as the Lathams become tenderly real to us, Quindlen fails to develop the necessary narrative urgency.
 
Each of Quindlen's characters -- kids, friends, neighbors and relatives -- seems real, and each could conceivably be the victim or perpetrator of the domestic dramas that lie ahead.
 
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For my children, who saved my life
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This is my life: The alarm goes off at five-thirty with the murmuring of a public-radio announcer, telling me that there has been a coup in Chad, a tornado in Texas. My husband stirs briefly next to me, turns over, blinks, and falls back to sleep for another hour. My robe lies at the foot of the bed, printed cotton in the summer, tufted chenille for the cold. The coffeemaker comes on in the kitchen below as I leave the bathroom, go downstairs in bare feet, pause to put away a pair of boots left splayed in the downstairs back hallway and to lift the newspaper from the back step. The umber quarry tiles in the kitchen were a bad choice; they are always cold. I let the dog out of her kennel and put a cup of kibble in her bowl. I hate the early mornings, the suspended animation of the world outside, the veil of black and then the oppressive gray of the horizon along the hills outside the French doors. But it is the only time I can rest without sleeping, think without deciding, speak and hear my own voice. It is the only time I can be alone. Slightly less than an hour each weekday when no one makes demands.
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Book description
Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener, or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. And so, when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, and is blindsided by a shocking act of violence.
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Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener, or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. And so, when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, and is blindsided by a shocking act of violence.… (more)

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