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Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Every Last One

by Anna Quindlen

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1,2811076,134 (3.97)70

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Narrated by Mary Beth, mother of three teenage children. Events in the early part of the book lead up to one shocking event halfway through (that came a as complete surprise) and the second half deals with the aftermath and how the narrator copes. ( )
  AHouseOfBooks | Jan 27, 2016 |
I really liked this book. Such compelling writing. Such real characters. This book made me cry. ( )
  cjservis | Jan 17, 2016 |

Mary Beth Latham is a wonderful mother. She juggles the demands of her landscaping business with the demands of her family – three teenagers and her ophthalmologist husband – with apparent ease. She remains available to her friends and in tune with her children’s growing independence. When one of her sons shows signs of depression, she focuses on him, but this blinds her to what else is happening in their circle of acquaintances. One horrible unforeseen event will change everything, and force Mary Beth to reassess the dreams she has always had – for herself and for her family.

Quindlen’s novel is about hope and healing, about the power of love and determination, and about facing the worst thing we can imagine, and finding a way not just to survive but to thrive.

I enjoyed the novel. I was drawn into the Latham family’s life. But I saw the crisis coming and didn’t understand how Mary Beth (not to mention her husband) could be so oblivious. Maybe it’s because I do not have children, that I cannot understand how she could be so focused on one problem that she failed to see the bigger picture. I did like the way Quindlen handled the aftermath; there are no easy answers in this situation and she didn’t try to tie everything up with a nice neat bow. There is hope for the future, though it is still uncertain. That is realistic, and I appreciate how the novel ends.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
This was so hard to read - so sad - but definitely worth it. I felt like I got to know the characters and shared their grief and occasionally, their joy. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
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.

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 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (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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