Thursday 6 September 2018

Every Last One

Finished September 2
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

This novel begins with a typical day in Mary Beth Latham's world. She wakes up before anyone else, has a coffee and some time alone before waking her three children and seeing them and her husband off, then going off to her own landscaping business. Her daughter Ruby is in her junior year of high school, and has a unique sense of style and great self-confidence. She loves to write, and is booked into a summer writing class at a college. Her two sons, fraternal twins, Alex and Max are in their last year of middle school. Alex is a star athlete with decent grades and a small group of friends. Max is a loner, with an interest in music and comics. Both boys are booked into summer camps suited to their interest. Mary Beth's husband Glen is an opthamologist with a quiet manner and a strong sense of order. Their marriage has gotten to a comfortable familiar stage where they each do their own thing, and follow a routine.
Ruby is getting ready for prom, and plans to do it in her own way. But she is also looking at changes in her life and one of them is moving on without her current boyfriend. Kiernan lived next door for a few years when the kids were small, then moved away. When his family moved back to town, they lived on a different street, but Kiernan seemed to latch onto their family, and spent a lot of time at their house. He gradually became Ruby's boyfriend, but he seems to be rubbing her the wrong way lately, and a split-up is due soon.
Ruby had an eating disorder a couple of years ago, and Mary Beth still worries about her a bit, but her main worry now is her son Max, who seems to be too much alone, and not very happy. When Max's stay at camp is cut short, she worries more, and does what she can to help.
But when violence and tragedy come into Mary Beth's life, it is from a direction she wasn't looking, and she must find a way to move forward, rebuilding her life.
This is a book of how someone recovers from an unthinkable event, and we see how various characters struggle with their own role, however small, in what happened. As always, I love how Quindlen puts a story together, and I read this in one sitting.

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