Book Review: Every Last One

Author: Anna Quindlen

Publisher: Random House, 2011

My Rating: A

I wanted to read this book because of the author. I read her newspaper and magazine columns for years and I feel as if I know her. I also think she knows me. Her writing tells me that she has either been inside my head or has had very similar experiences to mine.

Every Last One is the story of Mary Beth, a wife, mother of three teenagers and the owner of a landscape gardening business. Her life is pretty ordinary, similar to my life twenty-five years ago. I identify completely with her concerns about her children.

When your children are babies, you worry about their physical well-being. As they begin to grow you add new types of worries. By the time they are teenagers it’s every worry you’ve ever experienced plus a whole host of new concerns that revolve around that whole big world they’re now moving in. But now you can no longer hover over them and protect them every minute. Mary Beth is going through all this and, in my opinion, handling it very well.

And then – Mary Beth experiences a violent tragedy that is so catastrophic that it’s worse than a parent’s worst nightmare. It’s so devastating that, for a while, Mary Beth is nearly catatonic. Eventually and somehow Mary Beth climbs out of the darkness. As the publisher says, she is able to use “the invisible line of hope and healing that connects one human being with another. Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the the things we fear most.”

Anna Quindlen’s writing is every bit as good as it was in her Pulitzer winning columns, her other novels and her non-fiction works. She’s an excellent observer of human nature in addition to her rich imagination. Ms. Quindlen’s website has a video of an interview she did on CBS. It’s excellent. It helped me understand how she could have written such an amazing novel. She also had this to say to readers and potential readers of Every Last One:

It’s always wonderful to be able to introduce the imaginary people of a story to the real people who read books. That’s what publication is to me: readers, meet Mary Beth Latham, her husband Glen, and their three terrific teenage children, Ruby, Max and Alex. Every Last One was not an easy book to write; inside its pages, and my imagination, bad things happen to good people. But I hope you can live in it as completely as I did, and to learn as much about motherhood, marriage, and the connections among us all that make us human.

I highly recommend this novel. It will go straight to your heart. The publisher has generously offered one copy to be given away to one of my readers. (US only.) I’m also willing to pass along my copy of the book. I really want you to read this book. Leave a comment and let me know of your interest. I’ll announce two winners on Wednesdy, March 30th.

Thanks so much to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for my copy of the book. If you’d like to read more reviews of Every Last One the tour schedule is here: TLC Book Tours

Check your library for a copy of this book. It’s also available on Amazon.

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17 Responses to Book Review: Every Last One

  1. Kay says:

    Margot, loved the review. I was touched by this book earlier this year. I hope many more people will read it. No need to enter me in the drawing. LOL

  2. JoAnn says:

    It’s been years since I’ve read Quindlen, but I’d love to read this book.

  3. My husband read this and really liked it, so that impressed me! :–)

  4. Annie says:

    It seems to be a really good book, but hard one !

  5. Barbara says:

    Please enter me, Margot. I read her column for years and always loved her sensible take on issues.

  6. kaye says:

    I love how the books you read always become a part of you. This sounds like a good one.

  7. Mystica says:

    If you are allowing overseas readers for your copy, please count me in! Thank you for sharing.

  8. izzybella says:

    Like Joann it’s been quite a while since I’ve read Anna Quindlen. Don’t enter me-I’ll find it at the library, but this sounds like an intriguing read. And sad. I’ll keep my kleenex handy…

  9. This sounds heart wrenching, but in a good way. I can’t wait to read it – no need to enter me.

  10. Such a powerful book! While I read Anna Quindlen’s columns for years (and so love what you said – that you know her, and you feel she knows you!), I wasn’t “wow”‘d by the other novel of hers I read (BLESSINGS). EVERY LAST ONE made me a believer in her unquestionable strength as a novelist.

    The structure of the novel – 1st person, events being shared with the reader AS they happen to Mary Beth … so powerful!

  11. Lisa Munley says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Margot! Thank you so much for being on the tour. I can’t wait to read this one.

  12. Margot this is a great review. I have read all of Ms Q’s previous books, and actually saw this one on the LIbrary shelf and didn’t pick it up. It seemed too sad to me at the moment — I guess I was just in a bit of a down mood and it looked like a little too much. I hope I find it again. (This is NOT meant to be an entry in your contest — and Thank you again SO much for the one I did win.)

    As you’ve probably surmised, we’ve been away from computer land for a week, so I’m having a blast catching up.

  13. Staci says:

    I’m so reading this one! Your review was amazing and now I just have to put this one on my TBR list for 2011!

  14. stacybuckeye says:

    This has been on my wish list and I would love to win this one, but I just won something from you so I won’t enter. As a new parent it almost sounds like it might scare me to pieces!

  15. I read this last year…hits you like a ton of bricks! Love her writing.

  16. Tami says:

    This sounds interesting, but very intense. I would love to have one of your available copies. I remember when this arrived at the library, but I must have been involved in something else because I didn’t even give it a second look. Thanks for pointing out a good one I might otherwise have missed.

  17. Pingback: Anna Quindlen, author of EVERY LAST ONE, on tour March/April 2011 | TLC Book Tours

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