I think the first time I ever read anything by Anna Quindlen was when she was writing for "Newsweek". She and I don't share the same political views, but I found myself always looking for her column since she took the high road in my opinion and talked about her stance on issues without resorting to the ugliness that passes for political discussion today. She challenged me to think about things from her perspective and I was able to do so because of her approach --- she seemed to think that people with opposing viewpoint just thought differently than she did rather than thinking they were all a bunch of uneducated, stupid idiots that she trampled on over while letting them know how wrong they were. I had (and still have) the utmost respect for her, whether or not I always agreed. When she ventured into fiction I snapped those up as well and loved each and every novel she wrote.
When I found out this memoir was coming out, I knew I had to read it but it far exceeded my hopes and expectations. A group of essays that assess her life up to this point as well as a look to the future, Ms. Quindlen has written material that will speak to many people, particularly women, regardless of age. I am ten years younger than she is and don't share all the same experiences, but I enjoyed each essay and I continue to be impressed with her ability to communicate complex societal issues, inner contemplation, and family relationships with equal measure. She truly has a gift that I envy.
I thought there was a chance this could be a very depressing book as so often personal reflections on aging are --- that isn't this book at all. It came across as a very heart-felt, introspective look on the events in her life, the time period in which she lived, and anticipation of how she sees the future years unfolding. She writes with grace, style, and brutal honesty about her experiences.
I finished the book in only two days and have already recommended it to at least six different women in my life. I absolutely loved it and wish I could give it more than 5-stars.
ETA on 11/8/12: My book group selected this book for November on my recommendation. I re-read the entire book and have to say I enjoyed it just as much the second time through. I ended up texting another friend recommending it --- she bought it just a couple of days ago and is raving about it as well.
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