I read Anna Quindlen's Every Last One 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.
I agree with some other reviews that the back of the book was somewhat of a spoiler, luckily for me I didnt read it before I read the book. This was a great and moving story. Well written and very emotional, classic Anna Quindlen.
What I loved most about this book is Anna's keen ability to draw you in with her writing. She is so very gifted. I had post-it notes on pages where there was a word I needed the definition of; so reading this book really increased my vocabulary!
I love this book so much I got the audio version as well!
All of Anna's books are tremendous.
I really enjoyed this book about a suburban mom of teenagers because Quindlen nailed the experience exactly. "Snowfall is one of the best things that can happen to a family. The centrifugal force of daily life that flings us in different directions will be stilled."
As other readers have commented, I wish I had not heard about the big "bad thing" that happens in the novel because it interfered with my reading experience. (Is this going to be the chapter when the "bad thing" happens?) Nevertheless, I liked the writing, the voice, and the ultimate message of the story. I'm one of the people who needed tissues.
I was pretty far into this book, when I thought to myself, I have no idea who some of these characters she's writing about are. That usually means I'm losing interest & skimming along. Then all of a sudden I was sucked in. And then 'the big thing' happened. I'll just say that the rest of my afternoon was spent in my reading corner, mostly crying. Some of the parts of the story were to me a little needless, out of place & unrealistic. But at the end of the story, I was glad to have read it & it certainly makes one more appreciative of every person in their life & every minute with them.