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The Usual Rules: A Novel Paperback – February 18, 2004
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon's editors chose their list of the one hundred young adult books to read, whether you're fourteen or forty...Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
My memoir, At Home in the World, published in 1998, engendered a fair amount of controversy at the time of its publication --still does, in some quarters, because I chose to write about events in my life that involved a famous and revered older author, J.D. Salinger, who had decreed that I should never speak of him. This past September a new edition of At Home in the World was brought out, with a new introduction (and for the first time, I recorded the audio book of that one.) It's a story I hope will speak to many , but particularly to women.
In recent years, I've published four more novels--The Usual Rules , The Cloud Chamber, Labor Day, The Good Daughters and my latest, After Her. (A number of my older books , including a collection of my newspaper columns and my first novel, Baby Love, are available on e-book now too), as well as a number of essays that can be found in various collections. (Read over the titles--aging, divorce, anorexia, miscarriage, disastrous midlife dating--and you may get a picture of my life, I suppose, though a number of the more cheerful aspects --more enjoyable to live through, but less good as material--would be missing.
Labor Day has been made into a film, directed by Jason Reitman , and starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. If you like the novel, I think you'll be happy with the film. I certainly am.
You can learn more about my work, and my tour schedule (also my writing workshops on Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala) on my website, www.joycemaynard.com
Top Customer Reviews
Anyone who reads this book will have a hard time forgetting Wendy putting up fliers with her mother's picture on them, her regrets for all the ugly remarks she ever made to her mother, and most of all, her beautiful and haunting memories of time spent with her family.
Wendy's biological father has been pretty much of a no-show in her life thus far, but when he learns Janet is missing he turns up and takes Wendy back to California with him and away from the only family she has ever known.
What follows is the story of a strong young girl, a survivor of the highest order. Truly remarkable are the secondary characters that fill this story. Joyce Maynard has done a wonderful job of giving us three-dimensional characters we come to love and appreciate, people who help Wendy and reveal a lot about the basic goodness and terrible failings of human nature. A young mother wrestling with giving up her baby, a middle-aged woman reunited with the child she gave up twenty years ago, a book store owner dealing with his autistic child, a drifter in search of his brother, a good friend who spills the secret about Janet's best friend, and a young clarinet player experiencing first love are some of the memorable characters that people this story. But it is Wendy's two fathers, Josh in New York and Garrett in California, that are pivotal to the story.Read more ›
The usual rules are that a mother goes to work and comes home. That is the rule, unless the day is September 11, 2001, and the mother works in the World Trade Center. On that day, the usual rules ceased to apply for 13 year-old Wendy.
From there, this story tears at both our hearts and our hopes. Wendy reluctantly leaves her much-love brother and step-father to travel to an unfamiliar father and an inner strength she doesn't know she possesses. This is both the story of a girl growing up and a girl growing old beyond her years.
As she did in her widely syndicated column and her bestselling "To Die For" and "At Home in the World," Maynard embraces subjects that are too painful, too hearbreaking for less sturdy writers to touch. In taking on the World Trade Center tragedy, Maynard artfully convinces us that we are more than the hand fate deals us. There is in all of us, an ability to cope with unimagined hardships and unbearable sadness.
Reviews at times trivialize Maynard's writing, saying that she deals with "little themes," unimportant subjects. But, as the attackers of September 11 taught us, it is those small subjects which ultimately create the most lasting and signficant outcomes.
Wendy's story of what happens after the darkest day in all of our lives is the stuff that great novels are made of.Read more ›
I know this was a novel but it feels like a true story. Joyce Maynard has taken a tragic event in history and made it deeply personal. In addition to feeling the personal sadness for anyone who lost a love one on 9/11/01 this book is also a coming of age book for young people. I highly reccommend this book as a way to open dialog for blended families.
Old fans of Joyce Maynard will enjoy this book and those less familiar with her will want to read eveything she ever wrote.
This may be Joyce's best book yet. It's for mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends who build their own families, and anyone who has watched a green shoot poke up from the ashpit of loss. I think that covers just about everyone.
The characters were so well drawn and fully dimensional that I felt that I knew them, or at least someone like them. This would be a great book club choice or a wonderful piece to be read by a mother and daughter together so as to better understand the issues facing them both. I ordered a second copy to give my mom for mother's day. Hope you all enjoy this lovely novel as much as I did.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't know what really to expect with this book being about a girl that lost a parent in the 9/11 towers and it did really make me think of it in a different more personal way. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Carolee Ramos
Very well written; solid but just too much repetition. Got a little better when Dad showed up.Published 7 months ago by Sue Pilgrim
This was a moving journey through the devastating effects of the events of 9/11 on the youngest victims. Read morePublished 12 months ago by ME
A good young adult novel. Easier to plow through than The Goldfinch, which is another book with a main character who loses a parent from 9/11. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Elana
The author does an outstanding job of walking the reader through the impact on a family losing the mother in thevstory on 9/11.... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Kindle Customer
I've read and enjoyed other Maynard novels but this story really moved me. 9/11 is a day none of us will forget; this story gives another side which I can only imagine hits home... Read morePublished 20 months ago by D. M. Huhn
A definite must-read. Ms. Maynard's characters and storytelling leaves a reader begging for more. I read this in one night.Published 23 months ago by Steph