Saturday, June 12, 2010

75 - Every Last One; Anna Quindlen



















A few friends had mentioned that they thought Every Last One: A Novel was an excellent, so I decided to give it a try.  I wish I had passed; here's why:

It's a story about a mother, Mary Beth Latham, who is totally devoted to her (3) teenage children.  Even her husband Glen, an Opthamologist, feels she is to involved in the daily lives of twins Alex and Max, polar opposites. Alex excels in sports and is very outgoing, and Max is quiet and obviously depressed. Daughter Ruby. has suffered an eating disorder, and has just broken up with her boyfriend.

The first half of the book is ALL about the kids and their every activity.....incredibly boring.  Then on New Year's Eve something horrible happens, and those left, must sort out
and try to understand WHY it happened, and how to continue with life as it is now.

I don't want to sound cold-hearted but I am sure I will. As you read or listen to the audio book (I did both), you know early on that something bad is going to happen in this novel, but it was not what I expected, and more likely than not other readers will have guessed wrong as well.  Some reviewers said, "get out the tissues", and I couldn't understand that. I just never really felt any emotion reading this book, probably because I did not care for Mary Beth, the protagonist. On top of that, the first half leads up to the incident, and the last half is spent dealing with the incident. If I had it to do over, I would have not read this book.

Have you read it? What were your thoughts? 

BTW: I would avoid the audio book completely. The reader, Hope Davis, has this monotone affect; it was the same depressing tone, both before the horrible event and after. Fortunately, I had the ARC as well, so I could switch off when her voice became too annoying. Sorry readers I CANNOT recommend this book. (Rating - 2/5)
(ARC and audio book)

21 comments:

  1. I am so sad that this one isn't living up to expectations. This is on my TBR pile as well and normally I love Quindlen's work. Bummer.

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  2. OK, Diane, now I'm really curious about the "event" and the book itself. I've read good reviews, not-so-good reviews and so-so reviews about this book. I think it is interesting that it seems to provoke an emotional response in all that read it - whether it be good or bad. I think I will read it soon as I have it on my Kindle. I'll let you know. :-)

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  3. thank you so much for this review - this book has been recommended for me and I haven't had a chance to read this and now I will pass.

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  4. Sorry this didn't work for you. A friend of mine told me it was "very good but depressing" - so I'm expecting it to have a dark side to it.

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  5. When this first hit the blogosphere, everyone seemed to love it but now I'm reading more reviews like yours and I'm glad I held off on reading it. I'll probably skip it altogether.

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  6. I am sorry this out didn't work for you, Diane. I haven't yet read a book by Quindlen, although I have one (not this one) which my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas one year that I need to read. Hopefully that one will be worth reading.

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  7. Oh boy, I have this to read, but now I think I'll pass. I do like Quindlen though. How disappointing. Ugh

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  8. I was going to read this too, but now I'll probably skip it. I've picked it up a couple of times, but for some reason I had a feeling it wasn't going to be very good. Thanks for confirming that for me.

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  9. I've been lukewarm about Quindlen since Black and Blue.

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  10. I just read the reviews for this in the latest issue of Bookmarks Magazine, and for the most part, they were all glowing. I am so glad to have read your perspective though. Now I feel when I read it will not have unrealistic expectations.

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  11. I've been reading good reviews about this one too so I was curious about it; now it sounds like I shouldn't bother.

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  12. I liked the book--but I do feel sometimes that Quindlen's characters are unsympathetic. I can't really explain why this is except that I have never identified with or sympathized with any of her protagonists. I did need tissues for this book, though--but I'm an easy cry. ;)

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  13. I'm very annoyed at Anna Quindlen right now ... and I probably won't read this book. I thought her last one (Rise & Shine) was awful. I think she lost her mojo somewhere.

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  14. Well, I won't be running out to read this one. I have liked some of her other books but I truly want to focus on 4/5 star books this year.

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  15. Oh no! This sounds like a terribly boring and pedantic book and it's one that I will not be reading. I am sorry to hear that it was such an unpleasant read for you. Hopefully your next book is better!

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  16. Thanks for your honest review on this one. I, too, on occasion write reviews of books I didn't like & it is a hard thing to do.

    Unfortunately, I've accepted an ARC of this one also & it is on my list...we'll see.

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  17. Thanks for the heads up. I like to be aware of the tendency to be dark before I read a book. This has gotten a lot of buzz in library circles up here, so at least I'll be warned that this is not a book to read when I get into one of my 'reading funks.'

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  18. Sorry to see you didn't like this one. I really enjoy Quindlen's writing and do have this one in the stacks. I hope I enjoy it more.

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  19. Oh dear. I just put this on my wishlist recently because of the excellent reviews I'd seen. Thanks for the dose of reality to lessen my expectations :)

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  20. Thanks for the honest review, but I'm sorry to hear that as the book is on my shelf.

    One of the reasons I don't listen to audio books is that if the narrator's voice grates on me, it can ruin the whole book. At least you had a hard copy on hand, though I guess it didn't help much in your case.

    --Anna

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  21. I've been struggling to review this one after not really enjoying it, and I started poking around to see who else has read it. I'm so glad to find someone who agrees with me. I think I liked it more than you did, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one left out in a sea of people raving about it.

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