Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Review: Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

One of these days I'm really going to get my tour dates straight and actually post when I'm supposed to.  I promise.  TLC Tours was awesome enough to send me a copy of Anna Quindlen's Every Last One for review.  First of all, I really like anything by Anna Quindlen, so I was excited for the opportunity to read this one.  I'd actually had it on hold at the library when it first came out, and I didn't get by to pick it up in time and they sent it on to the next person (shocking that I'd be so absent-minded I know). 

Anyway, this is the story of an average family of five - a mother, father, teen daughter about to leave for college, and twin sons just starting high school.  One son is outgoing and popular, the other is struggling with depression.  Halfway through the book the family is victimized by a horrible act of violence.  The first half of the book introduces us to the family and their dynamics.  The second half shows us how they deal with the aftermath. 

While I'm not looking for Anna Quindlen to be the next Pulitzer or Booker Prize winner, I really like her writing style.  It's very women's lit, which for some may translate to slow, but not in my opinion.  I enjoy books about families and their dynamics and how they relate to each other.  Anna Quindlen does a great job of portraying various family dynamics in all of her stories, and this one is no exception.  I had no problems with the writing and found myself completely caught up in the story.

I'm not going to lie to you guys.  The "shocking act of violence" is one of the main things that intrigued me about this story.  It's a spoiler, so I won't say what it is, but it IS shocking.  I didn't read any reviews with spoilers, and one of my main interests in this book was what could possibly be so shocking.  I feel like we're kind of numb to most acts of violence in books and film.  So when I read a blog review from someone who said they couldn't finish the book, I was honestly intrigued.  I realize that may not say a lot about my ability to avoid sensationalism, but I was interested.  I wanted to know what happened.  It's the main plot moment that propels the story, but I was interested throughout the entire book in the family itself. 

There is a point of action in the middle and then a lot more introspection, so don't expect this to be an action-packed read.  Also, for those of you who are wondering, the violence itself is not described in detail.  This is not blood and gore, it's not a horror novel or a thriller, so while the reader knows what has happened, it's presented in a non-graphic way.  However, what happens is disturbing.  So if you're easily upset, I'd say probably avoid it.  But if you're interested in a Jodi Picoult-esque (although in my opinion superior to Picoult), ripped from the headlines, lots of internal dialogue read, this is a great one. 

PS: it made me want to hug my husband and say a lot more "I love yous".  It really made me think about my marriage and how I want it to be 20 years down the road - but it does it in an incredibly subtle way.  There is no preaching or moralizing, and I never felt like the story was about a fading marriage, but that aspect certainly plays a role and motivated me to keep that from happening in my marriage.

If you want to read more reviews, check out the tour page on the TLC website:

Or you can check out Quindlen's website:
You can find a full listing of her books there as well.  I highly recommend checking her out.  I've enjoyed everything I've read and make a point of picking up her books whenever I can find them on sale.


  1. I read this over the summer. I remember that until the 'event' happened I was about to be done with it because it was a little 'eh' to me. But I very much enjoyed it by the end.

  2. I absolutely LOVED this book. I went into it not knowing anything at all about it, meaning I wasn't even aware that said "shocking act of violence" was going to happen. I was so drawn into this story, before and after the twist. I can't wait to read more of Quindlen's work.

  3. I want to read this book but I promptly went and looked up spoilers. I'm an inpatient kind of a person. P.S. I just finished the name of the wind based of your review I loved it! An unexpected surprise since I didn't think I would.