October 10, 2008

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

This is another book that I chose for its size. The author's name also sounded familiar in a good way, though none of her titles sounded familiar to me. Still don't.

This is also another that I probably wouldn't have picked up if I'd actually read the back, which would have told me: "This is a depressing weepy estrogen fest. Put it back now before you yearn for chocolate."

I'm glad I didn't read the back, because it turned out to be a great book.

Ellen is a driven Harvard graduate with a promising career in journalism. She was a real daddy's girl growing up, and thought of her mother, who was a homemaker, as an unintelligent sap. If she was intelligent what was she doing embroidering cushions and decopaging picture frames? Ellen was basically one with no respect for the SAHM.

Then her mom was diagnosed with cancer. Her father insisted that she quit her job and move home to take care of her. Ellen could see many flaws in this idea: why couldn't he do it? Why couldn't he hire a nurse? But as always she felt the need to please her father, so she did what he asked.

And spent the next several months learning how to make a home from her dying mother, who turns out to maybe not be as dimwitted as she'd always thought.

When her mother dies no one one surprised, until an autopsy finds excessive levels of morphine in her bloodstream. As the primary caregiver, Ellen is accused of murder.

Most of the book is about Ellen getting to know and appreciate her mother, and what it's like to care for someone who is dying of a terrible disease. The murder aspect is not a major aspect of the plot but a device to teach Ellen a thing or two. I tell you this because I personally tend to be turned off by anything having to do with murder or courtroom dramas. Blah.

It was indeed sad, but also enlightening, and very well written. I will definitely look for more from Quindlen. And perhaps add the film to my Netflix queue.


  1. Good to see you reviewing again.

    This book sounds interesting, that's for sure.

  2. I've never actually read any of her books, but I do enjoy her column that she writes in Newsweek. I've been curious...thanks for reviewing this one!

  3. The title of this book is very intriguing and the review makes it sound like something I would like to read.

  4. The review makes no mention of the father's infideities which leads to the mother's revelation of her one true thing............just wondering why this was left out.

  5. I just finished this book -- picked it up at the library for the same reason the reviewer read it -- the author's name sounded familiar, but I didn't know why. Thanks to Jacki for clearing up that mystery.

    I also enjoyed this book very much -- especially having just written an article about hospice. I really appreciate the portrayal of the hospice nurse. If families only realized that it's not hospice that causes death -- they inform and support the family while giving value to the days that are left.


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...