- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812981669
- ISBN-13: 978-0812981667
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 657 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir of a Woman's Life Paperback – April 23, 2013
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“[Quindlen] serves up generous portions of her wise, commonsensical, irresistibly quotable take on life. . . . What Nora Ephron does for body image and Anne Lamott for spiritual neuroses, Quindlen achieves on the home front.”—NPR
“Classic Quindlen, at times witty, at times wise, and always of her time.”—The Miami Herald
“[A] pithy, get-real memoir.”—Booklist
Praise for Anna Quindlen
“A reporter by training, a storyteller at heart, [Quindlen’s] writing is personal, humorous, and thought-provoking.”—The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Quindlen is an astonishingly graceful writer.”—San Francisco Examiner
“Thank goodness for Anna Quindlen. [She] is smart. And compassionate. And witty. And wise.”—Detroit Free-Press
“[Quindlen is] America’s resident sane person.”—The New York Times
About the Author
Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at The New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear. She is the author of six novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, and Every Last One.
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All that said, she is still a good writer. Her works are compelling reads, even if you cannot relate to what she is writing about. But please, Ms. Quindlen, don't pretend to be one of us who are really in the trenches of life and have to muddle through without all the privileges your well-earned riches can afford.
Unlike her novels, I find this book to be a yawn and not worthy of her talents. Could it be she was looking for a way to recycle her previous columns or unwritten essays?
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.
Anna Quindlen's mother died when she was in her early 40's and Anna was only 19. This (obviously) affected Anna's life in many ways, not the least of which she became mindful and aware of death and loss at such an early age. Once she reached the age at which her mother died, she viewed every day beyond that as a gift of sorts.
I really enjoyed this book, and there were chapters that had me shaking my head in agreement and understanding. I am younger than she is (not by much), but her observations about friendship, health, family and ultimately death are all things I have experienced and thought about as well. I find that as I have gotten older I have sought out books like this - maybe because it's human nature to want to feel that what we are experiencing and thinking is not all that unique to us but shared by others. It's both comforting and enlightening and although we are not hardwired to be thankful every moment of every day, books like this remind us to make the life we have now as rewarding as possible.
There was one passage in the book where the author talks about her mother dying in her 40's and how she (the author) had felt at the time, that her mother had lived a full life. Now she realizes her mother really only lived half her life. This made me smile in recognition, because I had a best friend die at the age of 16 from leukemia. There were three of us and we were called the Three Musketeers. When Beverly died, my other best friend and I actually had a conversation where we said "At least Beverly lived a full life." Because she had gotten her driver's license! But so are the thoughts of youth.
As Ms. Quindlen points out, these years of our lives truly can be the best - if we stay in good health and focus on what we have. I think she's right.