This past weekend I finished reading Every Last One by Anna Quindlen. I loved two of her previous books, One True Thing and Black and Blue, so I decided to give this one a go too. What I had forgotten in the many years since I read those other two is that Ms. Quindlen is a master of making you feel the terrible emotions that people go through when they experience a tragedy.
I can't say too much without giving away the heart of this book, but here is a brief summary: Mary Beth Latham is married and has three children. The first half of the book weaves an intricate portrait of the ins and outs of their family life. It is pretty ordinary. Then something absolutely horrible happens. I was pretty blindsided because I had purposely stayed away from reviews of this book so that I wouldn't know what it was. Simply put, there is a Before and an After for Mary Beth and the rest of the book follows her as she attempts to give meaning to the After.
I cried. And then I cried some more. If you've read Isabel Allende's Paula or Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and liked them, then you might also like this portrait of grief and loss.