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Good, but something bothered me ...
on May 6, 2012
Several other reviewers nailed something bothersome or annoying that I couldn't quite pinpoint until I got halfway through this essay collection. Anna Quindlen wants all of us to relate to her -- and there was a time when she was the voice of women of her generation. Yet there's no escaping the obvious fact that she enjoys a life of privilege and accomplishment (not to mention a country house). Her viewpoints are clearly colored and shaped by this fact. I don't have a problem with her well-deserved achievements or privileges; I admire her very much. But she loses me when she tries to make it seem as if her readers are equally privileged buddies chatting in her living room. She left me baffled, too, after the odd Botox discussion.
I related to her more when she and I were busy young mothers ("Living Out Loud" is still my favorite). When I first read about her own mother's early death, I was deeply moved. Of course, this is one of Quindlen's defining stories, but we've all read it several times in her other non-fiction books.
The most interesting essay in this collection was the one about losing her religion. This piece took courage to write, and I imagine she is already taking the heat from devout Catholics. The book is worth a read, especially if you're a Quindlen fan, but it's not her best yet.