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Object Lessons (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 23, 1997


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Object Lessons (Ballantine Reader's Circle) + Blessings: A Novel (Random House Readers Circle) + One True Thing: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449001016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449001011
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this absorbing coming-of-age novel, a Literary Guild selection in cloth that spent 10 weeks on PW 's bestseller list, New York Times columnist Quindlen skillfully conveys the fierce ethnic pride of Irish and Italian communities.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- This first novel is an insightful family chronicle, an informed commentary on the '60s, and the coming-of-age depiction of a mother and daughter. As 13-year-old Maggie struggles with her identity within the boisterous Scanlan clan, her mother also finds her own place within the patriarchal family that has never accepted her. Both women experience rites of passage during the fateful summer that a housing development is being built behind their home, infringing on their emotional and physical spaces. A fast-paced plot involves small fires set in the development by Maggie's friends and romantic tension between her mother and a man from her past. Readers will appreciate Maggie's dilemmas as she grapples with peer pressure and sexual bewilderment, and as she begins to understand her mother, whose discontent oddly parallels her own. --Jackie Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Springfield, VA-
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I think this might be my favorite Anna Quindlen book.
Learning New Ways
At first i couldn't really understand what was going on, but as i continued i seemed to really enjoy it more.
Kristen
I felt as though there were way too many characters in the book to really become attached to any of them.
"adasbooks"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Every now and again, we may come across an author whose writing style really touches us. And, every now and again, we may come across a story that stirs in us some indescribable, inexplicable, deep emotion within the core of our very soul. I believe I have found that author and that book. Anna Quindlen would be that author, and Object Lessons would be that book.
The first book I had read by Anna Quindlen was Black and Blue, which I had borrowed from my sister. Black and Blue was a highly captivating book because there was a lot going on with the plot of the book, but it was a bit sad at the same time. Black and Blue dealt with an abused woman who ran away with her son, and changed her identity so her husband wouldn't find her. As a result, that book was a bit on the darker side. Object Lessons has a total different feel to it. In this book, it's about an Irish-Italian family named the Scanlan's. This book centers mostly around Tommy Scanlan, and his Italian wife, Connie, and their 12-year-old daughter, Maggie. The couple has three other boys who are mentioned, but only in passing. The other three children are just background characters. Many a time, there's too many characters in a book, and in this case, it's very obvious that Anna Quindlen had an objective to focus on only a few main characters.
Tommy had married Connie when she became pregnant, and his Irish family -- his father, John Scanlan, in particular -- didn't approve. Since then, Connie had felt like an outsider with the other wives, and more than put out by her controlling father-in-law. John Scanlan was one of those larger-than-life characters, as he made a drama about most everything, and felt he had to control his sons, and only daughter, Margaret.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "rahrae" on September 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read One True Thing and Black and Blue, I knew I could rely on Quindlen to teach me new things about myself and my family--that she does, quite well. However, Object Lessons is much more weighed down by direct narrative than the other two books--at times, I found myself wishing the characters would talk to each other and quit thinking so much. I also found Maggie's age implausible--even the most precocious 12 and 13 year olds do not possess her incredible depth.
Connie's relationship with Tommy and subsequent realizations about what marriage is are the most powerful points in the book, and I credit Quindlen with another "perfect" ending--she is one author who does not leave her readers confused or disappointed on the final page.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K L Keaton on July 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the best book I have read in a long time. Many of my friends complained that it moved too slowly, but I attribute that slowness to the development of the characters. Although Maggie is the main character, I think of her as a catalyst to telling the "real" story: that of the metamorphasis of her family. Everyone comes to the point in their lives when they realize that their family is the the epitome of perfection, and this is the point in time when Maggie realizes this for her family, her friends, and herself. This is one of the few modern books I will keep in my personal library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book has literally changed my perspective on life. I had to read this as a summer reading right before my junior year in high school and not only was this book fascinating, the characters that Anna Quindlen portrays are so true to life as are the situations. If ever you want to just curl up and read a book, this is the one. Literally, I tell all of my friends about this book. I can relate so much to Maggie's character and her journey through adolescence and maturity...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this after reading 'Black & Blue' and 'One True Thing'. I identified with these characters and found the storyline engaging. I would have to disagree with the reviewer who said it takes place in the summer of 1963. How could it when there is a reference to the fact that John Kennedy is dead? I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert Reardon on August 6, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to, I really did! But I just can't bring myself to do it. I read "One True Thing" and "Black and Blue" and loved them both. My copy of "Object Lessons" mentions B&B on it, which should have been a dead givaway that this was a weak fledgling effort first novel by the author, which it was. Oh, it had it's moments, but they were few and far between. Overall the feeling was just sadness bordering on depression, the kind of novels that were in abundance in the 70's. Perhaps that's when she wrote it. I would not recommend it to anyone.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "adasbooks" on July 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read Anna Quindlen's essays in Newsweek with passion and devotion. In picking up one of her books, I expected to see the same richness of language and depth of expression and thought that draws me to her exposition.
Unfortunatly, I was disappointed. One of the best things that a novelist can do for his/her book is to pare down the number of characters and then give them each many dimensions and depth...make them real, make them matter.
I felt as though there were way too many characters in the book to really become attached to any of them. 12 year old Maggie occupies most of the story, but her conflicts are not well examined. Why does she care so much about losing her ditzy friend? Why is she drawn to fire? What is her *feeling* about fire? Why does she cling to a grandfather that alienates her mother? Why does her ex-best friend's much adored older sister favor her so much and vice versa? Either the character has limited feelings, or the depth of her emotion is only slightly alluded to on the page. There are about five or six other characters that are given significant portions, but at a scant 261 pages, the reader doesn't get to know or love them well. You wonder what makes Monica so mean, why Connie considers cheating, why Tommy won't partner with his brother, why Celeste is in the book at all.
I felt that the end dragged on, and was riddled with cliches. Every other line seems to begin with, "And she knew..." ...[the voice in her head] was her grandfather's voice. ...that 20 years from now she would still hear all those voices ...that as long as they stayed there sheould be able to do all the things she had to do ...that even a week from now things would be different.
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