Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
I'll admit, I've never read a Quindlen novel, despite hearing nothing but positive reviews about her novels, so when my friend Nat recommended this one, I thought I would give it a whirl.
By reading the blurb describing the book, you know that there are twin boys - one of whom is manic depressive - and a daughter and husband in Mary Beth's life, and that something "catastrophic" is going to happen. That's it - from there, you jump into page one and start reading.
So, for the first two thirds of the novel, the reader is simply braced for disaster and heartache in this otherwise normal family. Will it be the son going mad? Adultery? A pregnancy? A suicide? What? You keep reading, getting more and more tense, until....
I won't give away the major event of the book, but suffice to say I didn't see it coming, and that Quindlen's handling of Mary Beth's orbit - both before and after - is wonderful. Great writing, tense story, but a well written one. I won't say I *enjoyed* it necessarily, but only because it's not a book to enjoy, but rather one to appreciate it, and that I did.
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