|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Published: 1994Length: 320 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Start date: Sometime in 2008; reread in July 2010
Finished date: Sometime in 2008; July 2010
Where from: Library first time; Chapters-Indigo second time
Why Read: Really liked the movie; wanted to reread it from my own copy
Summary: A successful New York magazine editor is called home to small town Massachusetts by her largely absent father to help care for her slowly debilitating cancer-stricken mother, recounting the time spent increasingly caring for her and simultaneously learning hard truths about each other until her death as she is accused of prematurely causing it.
I am always amazed at how an author can turn familiar themes—family relationships both close & dysfunctional, mother-daughter differences, intellectual pursuits & limits, the slow suffering of disease, the mourning of a parent’s death—and brings them together in surprisingly new ways. Quindlen indeed weaves these chestnut yarns with a lingering question raised from the beginning: did the cold, career-minded daughter Ellen end the life of her sweet, homey, cancer-stricken mother Kate, or was it the actions of the absent, intellectually dry father George?
Ellen is pulled away from her successful magazine editing job in New York to her small town Massachusetts home by her seemingly unwilling father to provide what is initially assistance, growing to full-blown nursing care, for her strong-willed but weakening mother. Her relationship towards her mother being oppositional-defiant since she left home leaves Ellen to learn insightful truths about her mother that she failed to read into or ask about earlier. You may dislike some characters at first, but they soon grow on you, allowing you to rethink how anyone can change when life throws you a major curveball.
Rank: (A+)- A must-read!