Book Reviews of One True Thing

One True Thing
One True Thing
Author: Anna Quindlen
ISBN-13: 9780440221036
ISBN-10: 044022103X
Publication Date: 9/1995
Pages: 400
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 138 ratings
Publisher: Dell
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

25 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 5
a difficult story. may i never have to face what the main charachter did.
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Helpful Score: 5
Wonderful book about the reconnecting of a daughter as she cares for her dying mother. Funny, sad and impossible to put down.
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Helpful Score: 4
This was a great book--very, very sad but I could not put it down . A must read
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Helpful Score: 4
Wonderful story about a family coping with a mother's illness.
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Helpful Score: 2
Very good reading, even the second time when I know the plot.
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Helpful Score: 2
Sometimes this book was difficult to understand and I would have to reread a paragraph or two to grasp it. Having just lost my mother and experienced her death first hand parts of this book brought that all back and made me weep yet again, but I fully understood the deep feelings expressed by Ellen.
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Helpful Score: 2
Her best novel, in my opinion. Do not miss this book! I love the ending. My only complaint is that the sex scene in the middle of the book is not necessary, and prevents it from being taught in a middle school class, because otherwise it would be a great book to have a class read together
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Helpful Score: 1
Okay. A little depressing.
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Helpful Score: 1
Editorial Reviews
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.

From Publishers Weekly
Quindlen's story of a woman accused of helping her mortally ill mother die spent seven weeks on PW's bestseller list
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Very moving and can relate to anyone that has taken care of and suffered the loss of a loved one. It's very true, doesn't sugar coat the family life of someone that's terminally ill. A great read and actually very inspiring.
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This is a novel of life, love and everyday acts of mercy. It is fiercely compassionate and frank...conveys a world so out of kilter and so like our own, that its readers are likely to feel both exhilarated and unnerved by its accuracy.

This is a remarkable book. She writes about family with all the humanity. wit and pain of going home. This is a strikingly honest and transforming book.
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Better than the movie. A good mother/daughter story.
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What a great book ! I so felt for Ellen. She tried to do what was best in a tough situation and pulled it off with great grace and skill. This book really digs into what families are like and how people react in the face of adversity and what it takes to just do what needs to be done. Two thumbs up !!
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A pretty good book, filled with tough decisions and tough love.
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pretty interesting book; deals with cancer and mother/daughter relationships as well as parents relating with adult children. sad story
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A story about a family dealing with terminal illness.
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I loved this book. I cried from the beginning to the end.
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It catches your attention with the love that exists between mother and daughter. I've reread it twice.
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A young woman returns home to care for her dying mother and ends up being tried for her murder.
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Another author who's style of writing seems a little tedious for myself.
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Overall, a decent book that makes you think. The writing is shakey at times.
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Another great raed from Anna Quindlen. Compelling and emotional.
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very good read
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I was completely blown away by this book. I have always appreciated Oates' short stories but until this book her only novel I had read was We Were the Mulvaneys and frankly, though I liked it, I was not blown away by it.
You Must Remember This has so many back burner stories and characterizations along with the main storyline & the main characters that at the beginning of the book I anticipated a lot of confusion. But Oates writes with such brilliance that there is never a problem of that. I found her writing to be absolutely masterful.
She takes something which most authors would present as a dirty little secret and makes it something very believable and at times even beautiful.
It is the 1950s and the Stevick family, Hannah and Lyle, have a son (Warren) going to fight in Korea, 3 daughters; Geraldine, who will soon be marry and begin a family, Lizzie, who will become the family rebel, finish school and move out...and go to live in a flat with two of her girlfriends, and the youngest, Enid, has a fascination with death & soon with her Uncle Felix.
The book is about all of these people and the people in their lives. Mr. Stevick is a businessman with a store of used and unpainted furnishings. Mrs. Stevick is a homemaker who becomes a dressmaker as her children leave the home. Mr. Stevick's brother, the children's Uncle Felix, is a boxer. There is a story within the novel about pugilism which I found quite interesting. The youngest daughter's obsession with death and dying runs through the entire book and is written in quite a different manner than I have ever read before though I have read a lot of books on suicide.
I found the entire novel to be fascinating. I don't know that all would warm to it. But for those who enjoy a quirky, twisty, turny story about a family I think this one will fit the bill. And it is to those I very highly recommend this book by Oates.
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Is this what life is really like, think about it.