Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spotlight on: Every Last One


Dear blog, you've been neglected. The bookishness around here has been kind of lacking lately due to lack of time, food poisoning, and dull books. Just as I was a few months back, I've been setting books aside right and left. I'll read half the book and think 'Whatever. I'm so done with this.' and never go back. It's freeing, but leaves me little to say here.

This all leads me to a book that I plowed through last week, Every Last One: A Novelby Anna Quindlen. I even cried during the last 20 pages. I have to be honest here, I was already feeling weepy having just watched the film My Sister's Keeper (why oh why did they change the ending??) but still, I rarely cry at books. I go way back with Anna Quindlen, back to another film, One True Thing and the book it was based on by Quindlen. I cried then too. Over the years I'm pretty sure I've read all of Quindlen's novels, her essays in Newsweek and her excellent non-fiction book about her love of reading. Until now, none of her novels have resonated with me in the way One True Thing did.

Every Last One is the story of Mary Beth and her family, husband Glen, daughter Ruby, and twin sons Max and Alex. Mary Beth lives the good-kind-of-ordinary life. It's stable and centered on her family, a little bit dull and ordinary though this family has had their problems and they are serious ones. Thus the first half of the novel passes, as we get to know this family, yet all the time we wait because we know that Something is going to happen. Something does happen and it's utterly horrifying and life-changing. The rest of the novel deals with the aftermath and how Mary Beth finds a way to go on. Brilliant writing aside, Quindlen is able to evoke human emotions in a very true and honest way. Every Last One is a devastating but excellent read.

53 comments:

Ti said...

Sorry that you have been plagued by food poisoning and dull books. What a horrid combination for you to endure.

Quindlen is one of those authors that I enjoyed quite a bit when I was younger but I haven't picked up any of her more recent works. Glad you enjoyed this one.

bermudaonion said...

Food poisoning is the worst! Glad you're over that nasty stuff.

The book sounds absolutely amazing!

Vanessa said...

Hello from across the pond in sunny Spain.
Have been following your blog for some time, and finally decided to comment.
Well, I've never read an Anna Quindlen book, and you have certainly wet my appetite with your suspense-filled review. It's going on my Amazon list now.

Do pop over to my blog (if you desire) and see what book I am "begging" all my girlfriends/cyber-friends to read.

http://van-vinos.blogspot.com/

Cheryl said...

I have gotten food poisoning before and it is awful. Sorry that you had to go through that. I saw this book somewhere else too and thought it sounded good!

Staci said...

I'm on board to read this one for sure!!! Sound like a truly satisfying read!

jennysbooks said...

Food poisoning is awful. My friends' parents, both cancer survivors, got terrible food poisoning lately, and they both said it was worse than chemo.

I don't know why I've never read Anna Quindlen. I suspect it is discrimination against the letter Q.

JoAnn said...

Food poisoning is just awful - glad you're better now!

I loved One True Thing, really liked Object Lessons, liked Black and Blue, then was meh on Blessings... and didn't read her newer books. This is the third great review I've seen of Every Last One. It's time for me to get back to Anna Quindlen's novels!

Kay said...

Tara, how miserable. I hate having stomach issues. I know sometimes it is hard to concentrate on books. Just not the right time or the right book. Hugs to you.

I'm looking forward to reading this one. Sounds compelling if sad.

Diane said...

Sorry about your stomach bug....ugh

I am anxious to read this book; this month I hope.

Les said...

I couldn't agree more. I loved this book. Tragedy and all. I was moved beyond belief. I was stunned and heartbroken and sobbed (at 3 a.m.), but I still loved it. Yes, there's devastation, but there's also hope and healing. As much as is possible...

育偉倫航 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
christa @ mental foodie said...

Sorry you hadn't been feeling well!

I like sad books, so will add this to TBR!

Bybee said...

I had food poisoning twice...I gave it to myself both times. Shudder.

They changed the ending to My Sister's Keeper????

Booksnyc said...

I love Quindlen's novels - the last one I read was "Rise and Shine". I have seen great reviews of her newest one and am looking forward to reading it.

雅玲 said...

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avisannschild said...

I've also been a bit disappointed in Quindlen's books since One True Thing (which I loved), so I might have to give her another chance and pick this one up!

皮皮 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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Gentle Reader said...

I love Quindlen's non-fiction, and I was devastated after reading One True Thing, so I haven't read any of her other fiction yet! Maybe I'll pick this one up!

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Iliana said...

Hi Tara- I've missed seeing your posts. Just wanted to drop in and say hi. Hope you guys are having a great summer!

吳婷婷 said...

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overflowingbookshelf said...

Just wanted you to know I've been really missing your posts. Hope you're doing well!

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StuckInABook said...

Hope all is well, Tara - was thinking of you today x

melanie said...

Hi Tara - Just wanted to say I miss you and hope you are well!

Paula said...

I discovered Quinlan this year and adore her books, two reviews to be puclished this month on Every Last One. It's a keeper.

LisaMM said...

HI Tara! Just wanted to check in to see if you were back to blogging yet. I neglected my blog for a couple of months but am back at it now. Sometimes you just need a break.

Hope all is well!

daphne sy said...

Quindlin for me is good. . .but the book other than to say that tragedy of an outrageous, almost unbelievable, dimension strikes at the heart of the family. The events leading to this catastrophe, and then its painful aftermath, make for a spellbinding tale.

ANA QUINDLIN

Cath said...

Just wanted to say, Tara, that I hope all is well.

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Ti said...

Just stopping by to see if you are still blogging anywhere. I was going through my reader and just wanted to make sure I didn't miss something and that everything was okay.