Monday, April 30, 2012

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

A mother. A daughter. A shattering choice.

From Anna Quindlen, bestselling author of Black and Blue, comes a novel of life, love and everyday acts of mercy. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts on One True Thing ~~

The story starts with the daughter in jail, accused of killing her mom, who was dying of cancer. Wham! There you go, off and running and hit hard. This is the final sentence of the prologue ~ 'the truth is that I did not kill my mother. I only wished I had.' But the rest of the book keeps you wondering, did she? Or didn't she? And if she didn't, who did? Or did her mother just simply die of cancer?

Ellen puts her job and her love life on hold to go home to take care of her mother, who is dying from cancer. She really doesn't want to be there and isn't sure why her father or her two brothers are not pitching in to help. As her father puts it, as a way to explain why it is her responsibility, 'It seems to me another woman is what's wanted here.' So she does what is expected of her.

As with other books that I have read by Ms. Quindlen, this one takes a serious subject and turns it into a beautiful, thought provoking story. This book is a great selection for book clubs to read and discuss. There are such great characters in this story, that you will either love (the hospice worker - loved her!) or not like, hate is too strong of word here, I think (the father). And such controversy surrounding the events that take place in this home.

Here are a couple of lines that I think were just amazing. 

'When you mother's gone, you've lost your past. It's so much more than love. Even when there is no love, it's so much more than anything else in your life. I did love my mother, but I didn't know how much until she was gone."


'We made her simpler after she was dead. No, that's not true either. We'd made her simpler all her life, simpler than her real self. We'd made her what we needed her to be. We'd made her ours, our one true thing.'

I just love it when I figure out how the title fits into the story!

About the author 

Anna Quindlen is the author of three bestselling novels, Object Lessons, One True Thing and Black and Blue, and three non-fiction books, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud and A Short Guide to a Happy Life. Her New York Times column 'Public and Private' won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. She is currently a columnist for Newsweek and lives with her husband and children in New York. 


  1. With a beginning like that, how could anyone not want to read it?


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