Monday, 14 February 2011

May I recommend?

I love to read. I have an eclectic taste, though I will admit to rarely reading non-fiction. So, may I recommend?

I have just finished Every Last One by Anna Quindlen, an American author of whom I had not heard. I googled her here. The apparently straightforward telling of the story, by mother Mary Beth, reminded me of Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin but it all feels much more ordinary.
It begins with a description of family life, and Mary Beth remarks “-every day is like this. Average. Ordinary. More or less.” The prose style is direct and insightful and I loved it!
Of her circle of friends: “Even when we’re honest with one another, we tread carefully; the quickest way to lose a friend is to suggest that she is a bad mother, or to suggest her children have problems, which amounts to the same thing.”
Of her teenage daughter: “she has outside manners and inside manners, company manners and home manners. Or lack of manners. –Only with her father is she always the polite and thoughtful Ruby she presents to the world.”
A lesson to us all: “Here is what I know about dressing like your teenage daughter: She will always look better than you.”
And a warning: “Sometimes I feel as though the entire point of a woman’s life is to fall in love with people who will leave her. The only variation I can see is the ones who fight the love, and the ones who fight the leaving.”


I raced through the book, but with dread! The blurb mentions an ‘unimaginable fate’ and ‘finding the bravery to live as we never dreamed we would have to’. I will not spoil the plot by commenting further; but I am bound to say that we should remember to live in the now and not be too surprised if things don’t work out as we planned: there are so many possible futures.


Anna Quindlen is a columnist but she has written other novels. I shall be looking for them in the library.

1 comment:

projectforty said...

sounds good - it's always great to get a recommendation - I've just read Jonathan Franzen's 'Freedom' - another tale of family life of the distinctly dysfunctional variety. Loved it.