Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

From the Hardcover editionEvery Last One by Anna Quindlen
Published by Random House

Mary Beth has the life she’s always dreamed of. She still loves her husband, and she deeply enjoys being a mom to their three teenagers, Ruby, the eldest, and their twin sons, Alex and Max. When one of her sons becomes depressed, Mary Beth uses every tool at her dispense to help him the best she possibly can. But Mary Beth’s perfect life is shattered to the core when an act of violence blindsides her and changes everything.

This is a difficult book to summarize because there is a huge event smack dab in the middle of the novel that changes its direction completely. I don’t want to give anything away, because I was blindsided by what happened (although I knew something happened, just had no idea what) and that is important, I believe, for this book. So don’t read any spoiler-y reviews if you plan to read the novel yourself!

I like Anna Quindlen. I have read almost all of her novels at this point, and they all have one thing in common: great characterization. I love how she writes flawed people who the reader still can’t help but root for. That was definitely true in this case – Mary Beth could be any one of us, and in fact I think a lot of mothers will see themselves in her. Heck, I saw myself in certain aspects of her personality and I am not a mother! Her marriage is realistic, her children seem like regular teenagers with all their teen drama but the good stuff that comes with having teenagers at home, and she is just plain likable.

I can definitely recommend Every Last One, but it will make you cry. I would say that this is probably one of Quindlen’s better novels and I can absolutely suggest you read it.

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13 thoughts on “Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

  1. I’ve never read her, but have heard so much about her, and about this book. I knew that there was a BAD EVENT but I don’t know what it is. You know, I’m going to see if this one is at the library in audio form…

  2. I won this book a few months ago, and was just looking at it the other day. It seems like it’s a powerful read, and one that I would enjoy. I am glad that you found it so resonant, and will be adding it to my short stack after reading your excellent review!

  3. Oh how I loved this book for those beautiful characters. And I am glad you are not telling what the event is – not knowing about it is essential, I think, because it lets you be completely inside the main character’s head. I literally SOBBED while reading this book. Any writer who can do that, is a great writer indeed.

  4. I consumed this book whole, in one sitting. The ‘surprise’ for lack of a better word hit me like a punch in the gut. Thanks for not giving it away because it would ruin it for other readers. I knew something bad would happen, but I didn’t think it was going to be THAT.

  5. This one really struck home with me. I so connected with Mary Beth. Can’t say that I would have reacted in the same way and sometimes I wanted to shake her but I know that grief is handled differently by everyone.

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