My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Mary Beth and Glen Latham have the typical middle class life – he a successful optometrist, she a landscape designer; 3 children: 17 yr old Ruby, who is a brilliant writer and on the cusp of college and 14 yr old fraternal twins, Max and Alex –wildly opposite and in constant conflict. Life’s trials seem overwhelming – Ruby is ready to dump an clingy boyfriend, but the family is reluctant to let him go because he has become a family friend; the discord between the boys seems to grow exponentially the more Alex succeeds on the soccer field, throwing Max into deeper depression and jealousy. Then IT happens – the unimaginable that makes all the other difficulties seem like Christmas presents.
Anna Quindlen’s novel, Every Last One, is the proverbial family drama – life has its predictable ups and downs and then WHAM something completely unexpected rocks your world.
Her writing is brilliant and emotional. I was even caught teary eyed through several of the chapters.
I loved the relationships she created within this family – all very authentic and grounded. The Lathams are a family you would like as neighbors and friends. And their children would be ones you would welcome into your home and glad that they had become friends to your own children. She created beautiful family traditions – a Halloween party that was visited by all, family sledding at the first major snowfall. All of this lends itself to the horrible “punch in the gut” you get later.
However, the arc of this novel was fairly predictable – I knew nothing of this novel going into it – but soon after starting it I thought, “Oh, something big is going to happen, I’m just not sure what.” And sure enough – it does. Not quite how I predicted, but fairly close. Following “IT”, the downward arc is equally predictable, but in a satisfying way.
Every Last One is a novel full of heart ache and tragedy. But it also is a story of love and survival.
Book source: public library
To hear more from the author about her book, check out the related video -- I think she does a good job of describing the book without offering "spoilers!"
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