Arlene's Reviews > Every Last One

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
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's review
Dec 23, 2011

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Read in December, 2011

Quindlen's novel is about hope and healing, about the power of love and determination, and about facing the worst thing we can imagine, and finding a way not just to survive but to thrive.

Mary Beth Latham is a wonderful mother. She juggles the demands of her landscaping business with the demands of her family - three teenagers and her ophthalmologist husband - with apparent ease. She remains available to her friends and in tune with her children's growing independence. When one of her sons shows signs of depression, she focuses on him, but this blinds her to what else is happening in their circle of acquaintances. One horrible unforeseen event will change everything, and force Mary Beth to reassess the dreams she has always had - for herself and for her family.

I enjoyed the novel. I was drawn into the Latham family's life. But I saw the crisis coming and didn't understand how Mary Beth (not to mention her husband) could be so oblivious. Maybe it's because I do not have children, that I cannot understand how she could be so focused on one problem that she failed to see the bigger picture. I did like the way Quindlen handled the aftermath; there are no easy answers in this situation and she didn't try to tie everything up with a nice neat bow. There is hope for the future, though it is still uncertain. That is realistic, and I appreciate how the novel ends.

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