Saturday, February 5, 2011

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Book:  Every Last One 

Author:  Anna Quindlen 

Grade:   B 

Recommended To:  People who like to cry? 

Warning:  This book is very sad.  I cried at least 4 times while reading this book.  And, I teared up countless more.  This is not a book to be read in a public place if you are concerned about making a fool of yourself.

Anna Quindlin is probably one of the most gifted writers of her generation.  She creates masterpiece works that delve deep into the lives and minds of her characters and wrap you up so tightly that you can't help sobbing when they sob, laughing when they laugh, and smiling when they smile.   See:  Black and Blue and Rise and Shine.  Two very powerful stories by Quindlen.

Every Last One is her newest novel and I had it on my wish list for the longest time until I can across an Advance Reader Copy at the Brown Elephant!  Oh Joy!  I snapped that book up like it was my lost child.  This book follows a perfectly average family that is struck by a tragedy so completely heart-wrenching and shocking that I had to read the passages over again to make sure I was reading it correctly.   The book is narrated through the voice of the mother and the second half of the novel follows her struggle to put her and her son's life back together.

I love how Quindlen writes.  Unlike Jonathan Franzen, an allegedly good American writer, she doesn't talk down to her characters with big language.  She uses a very strong vocabulary to describe events and conversations, but writes about characters that you can imagine actually use those "big words."

I wonder how Quindlen can write such consistently intense novels.  The last book I read of hers was Black and Blue, a work of fiction about a woman who escapes domestic violence and moves to Florida with her son.  She then struggles with being a single mother and her son's serious attachment to his father.  If the books themselves leave me so drained after merely reading them, I can't imagine what process Quindlen must go through to write such powerful fiction.

The reason I gave this book a B was mostly because it was so overwhelmingly sad.  Books like this  leave you thinking about them for days and weeks afterward.  This is not throwaway fiction, but I was unprepared for just how many times I was going to cry while reading it.  You really need to be in the right frame of mind to pick up Every Last One. 

Happy Reading!

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