Connie's Reviews > One True Thing

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen
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's review
Jul 31, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: medicine, law, summer-2012, contemporary-fiction
Read from July 31 to August 07, 2012

The book starts with a prologue with Ellen Gulden sitting in jail, accused of mercy-killing her mother, Katherine. Then, it goes back a few months to the heartbreak of Katherine's cancer diagnosis. Ellen's father pressures her into quitting her journalism job, and coming home to care for her mother. Katherine is a warm woman and a perfect homemaker, while Ellen has always been very cerebral and cool like her father. As Katherine's health declines, she makes use of this last opportunity to share things with her daughter. In turn, Ellen begins to realize the wonderful gifts that Katherine possesses, and how she was the hub around which the family revolved. While she lived, the family had made Katherine who they needed her to be, their one true thing.

The book portrayed how different people react when they find out a loved one has a terminal illness. Ellen's boyfriend, Jonathan, seemed a bit stereotypical, but the other characters seemed very real. One True Thing takes the reader through a roller coaster ride of emotions as they follow Ellen through her mother's illness, family dynamics, a legal battle, and a change in her view of what she wants out of life.

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