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.