Author:  Anna Quindlen            blessings
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Adult Fiction
Source:  Purchased



Goodreads:  Blessings, the bestselling novel by the author of Black and Blue, One True Thing, Object Lessons, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life, begins when, late at night, a teenage couple drives up to the estate owned by Lydia Blessing and leaves a box.

In this instant, the world of the estate called Blessings is changed forever. The story of Skip Cuddy, the Blessings caretaker, who finds a baby asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep her, and of matriarch Lydia Blessing, who, for her own reasons, decides to help him, Blessings explores how the secrets of the past affect decisions and lives in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community. This is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and personal change by the Pulitzer Prize winning writer about whom The Washington Post Book World said, Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family.

Ope’s Opinion:  I have had the privilege of hearing Anna Quindlen speak.  I have read her non-fiction books.  Now I have read her fiction. I think her fiction is my least favorite.  I felt like her sentences ran on too long for me to keep up with what she was talking about ( maybe it was me ).

I did like the basic story Anna Quindlen was telling.  Her idea for this book was an awesome one. I just kept getting lost in the descriptive details.  It just moved too slowly for me.

The back story was necessary to understand why each person reacted the way they did, but it seemed to be most of the book.  I wish this part had been a bit shorter.

I think I will look for a non-fiction from Quindlen for my next read of hers.


Rating: Three Chairs – I like the book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.
3 chairs





Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

Author: Anna Quindlen                                   red book
Publisher:  Random House
Pages:  182
Genre:  Memoir
Source: Random House Open House

Goodreads:  In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead—and celebrating it all—as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.

As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about
Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”

Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. Sometimes I will see a photo of an actress in an unflattering dress or a blouse too young for her or with a heavy-handed makeup job, and I mutter, ‘She must not have any girlfriends.’ ”

Stuff: “Here’s what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it’s taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch. My doctor says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, she doesn’t believe our memories flag because of a drop in estrogen but because of how crowded it is in the drawers of our minds. Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, the appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not only full, they’re overflowing.”

Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”

Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”

From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.

Ope’s Opinions:  This was so much fun to read!!  She is an awesome writer.  As I am near her age, I enjoyed her perspective on parenting, marriage, and the world around us.

No matter what age you are, you could read and relate to the subjects Anna Quindlen writes about. She has a way of writing that makes you see things from her point of view and yet feel like she sees it from your point of view.  

This memoir may be about Anna Quindlen, but it reflects the lives of many women her age.
Rating:  Four Chairs – I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.