Sometimes I feel as though the entire point of a woman’s life is to fall in love with people who will leave her. The only variation I can see is the ones who fight the love, and the ones who fight the leaving. It’s too late for me to be the first, and I’m trying not to be the second.
I discovered Anna Quindlen back in my stay-at-home mothering days. At that time, she was writing Living Out Loud, her column for the New York Times, and reading it I felt as if I had found a wonderful friend, someone who understood me in my isolation and someone who was living the life I really, really, wanted to live, giving me hope that it was indeed possible to be a mother and a woman with a brain.
That feeling hasn’t changed in the course of the past three decades, and when I started reading Every Last One, her most recent novel, it was like coming home to a place you hadn’t been in years, but one that was still a perfect fit.
Mary Beth Latham is a mother of three teenagers, wife of a successful ophthalmologist, and owner of a landscape design business. Her life seems blessed by the ordinary – a functional family that loves and supports one another. But there are cracks in this lovely eggshell of a life, cracks which become huge fissures that are eventually ripped wide open. It’s in the aftermath of this tragedy that Quindlen shows us what Mary Beth is truly made of.
It’s a wonderful book, peopled with characters whose hearts are wide open, yearning, and learning to live in a suddenly altered world. I loved every page of it…every last one.