Katherine's Reviews > We Had It So Good

We Had It So Good by Linda Grant
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May 05, 2011

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bookshelves: fiction

“Stephen felt that he had come from a country so brand-new that if you peeled off the layers of the present, you would only find more present” (13).
“This was what the petits fours on board the SS United States had been preparing them for: really small things. They were much too big for Oxford, for staircases they could take two steps at a time, ceilings too low, rooms too cramped, and professors who lacked a certain zest” (13).
“Everyone is smiling, urging her to have a nice day, the first time she has heard this expression. It was a void statement. How could a supermarket checkout girl know what lay in store for you? Maybe you’d just had a cancer diagnosis, or lost all your money, or were on your way to a funeral. Yet the desire for others to be happy was slotted into a brief commercial transaction. Was unhappiness a rebellion against that great wall of social bliss?” (85).
“This is having your cake and eating it, and what a strange cake. A cake with salt instead of sugar” (191).
"She simply wanted to be in that place where she could find an unusual range of human expressions, instead of the flat complacency of people who were miserable in all the usual, banal ways" (260).
"'I had him cremated and put his ashes on the compost heap'" (271).
"Stephen supposed they had died before the internet, perhaps they could be located ino ne of the squares of an AIDS quilt" (280).
“The pain was hers, inside her. He didn’t understand why she didn’t take HRT, the wonder drug, but she said it scared her. Eventually he talked her into it, it starts with the pill and it ends with HRT, she thought, a life bracketed by artificial hormones” (283).
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