Monday, October 31, 2011

Every Last One - Anna Quindlen

This book was a little too creepy for me to recommend.  Mary Beth is the mother of three teenagers.  Her precocious daughter is a senior in high school - a fabulous writer with her eye set firmly on the future.  Her son Alex is a popular athlete, but his twin brother is reserved and on the verge of a clinical depression diagnosis.  The family appears fairly normal, though when her daughter breaks up with a long-time boyfriend who seems a little too obsessed for his own good, you know things are going to get bad quickly.  The dramatic act doesn't happen until about half-way through the book - and while I anticipated it, it seems too extreme.  And then there were some strange elements thrown in but never fully explored - in particular a past affair by Mary Beth and the mental illness issues surrounding the mother of the former boyfriend.  Perhaps like real life, it just seemed like there was too much going on - and nothing really fit together.  Of course part of the point of the book is the seeming randomness of life, while still maintaining the illusion that everything is preventable and knowable, that in the most tragic of circumstnaces, when no one is at fault, we are still all a bit to blame.  In general, I like Quindlen's writing - she is a good story-teller, and while her subject matter is often difficult, she's still an easy read.  This one may have hit too close to home in terms of the work I do - made me overly critical.  It did make me think -and was a reminder to me to appreciate my son and pay attention to him more closely.  But, ultimatley, it was quite a downer and not exactly what I'm looking for in my books these days.

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