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4.0 out of 5 stars7
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 2 May 2013
This book was well out of my comfort zone.

I always feel awkward when it comes to memoirs, because who am I to judge someone's past when they've offered it up so? It's even more difficult with this one because I feel I'm too young to properly understand it, although she does go back to her earlier days. There are some beautiful moments, and things that I do fully understand, but I feel like it's directed at a certain, slightly older, audience and so alienates younger readers.

Written in a very adult style, if perhaps a little old-fashioned, this memoir nevertheless has a strong message to portray. I'm too young to fully appreciate this book (22), but I know it's something that my mother would enjoy reading (40-something).

This book is filled with life-lessons. It delivers important messages about love and life, and mocks marriage a little - not in any serious way, rather in a fond way.

I particularly liked the message about friends - that they are the go-to people, the coping mechanism for us all. She pointed out some things that should have been obvious, but that we all probably take for granted.
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on 23 November 2014
Beautifully written, will resonate with many women and is full of humour and insight.
Anna Quindlan has done it again! Highly recommended.
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on 17 February 2014
A book which made me think and wonder about myself and how I see and react towards life. Definitely wort a read!!!
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"But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things--" -- Titus 2:1-3 (NKJV)

In the past, I've enjoyed the encouragement in Ms. Anna Quindlen's writing. In this case, I was looking instead to gain understanding. Having seen a number of women undergo big psychological changes at around age sixty, I was interested in Ms. Quindlen's experiences and observations. I hoped that I might gain insights into some of what my sixtyish wife is thinking about. I was gratified to find that much illumination was provided. Thank you!

The book also contains (not surprisingly) some stylish writing, a treat regardless of why a reader chooses this book. Here's an example from page one:

"It's odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn't know who I was. Then I invented someone and became her. Then I began to like what I invented. And finally I was what I was again.

"It turned out I wasn't alone in that particular progression."

These seven sentences made this book a must-read for me.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the themes touched on my life as well, such as her take on having "stuff." "The nicest thing you can say to me bout my home is that it's homey, and people say that all the time. I like it. And at a certain point, I can't say when, I realized I didn't really give a damn about any of it."

Her comments on marriage are especially insightful to husbands. She doesn't find men's non-female qualities nearly as annoying as I would have thought. She also finds things to like: "He holds a grudge against anyone who does me wrong. He may not remember our social schedule or the names of some of our kids' friends, but he never forgets who wrote the bad review of my last book. And woe betide that individual if they ever meet him at a cocktail party. I like that man. Actually, I love that man."

Having watched females enjoy being with each other for many decades, I naturally wondered if the nature and benefits of such company changed with age. Nope!

Her comments on the women's movement and the expectations she grew up with were helpful to me. I know that they are often on my wife's mind, as well.

If there's a disappointment about the book, it will be that much of the content isn't as revealing as it might be, or as comforting as it could be. Stylish writers are good at attracting our attention with one hand while stuffing a rabbit into a hat with the other. This problem could have only been overcome by editing out many of her observations . . . which would have left a slim volume being too thin to be satisfying.

If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Anna Quindlen fan, do read the book. But don't expect to be given as much optimism and comfort as usual.
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on 22 November 2015
good book with good condition.
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on 9 June 2013
I picked this up quite by chance one day in the local public library, filling in time as one does. It had a look of promise about it - successful novelist, self help book writer, and respected New York based journalist who has won the Pulitzer Prize - lots going for it. Without being earth shattering or extraordinarily brilliant as one would expect from a writer with such credentials, this is a most comfortable read. Sort of curl up on the couch with your slippers and bowl of hot soup type of read.

As it states on the cover this is a memoir. Not an autobiography, or stand-on-the-soapbox-aging-baby-boomer rave. Ms Quindlen is a commentator, using elements of her personal and public lives, to reflect on matters which have been particularly relevant for women of her generation - she is now 60 years old. With themes ranging from being a mum, being a working mum, being a wife, being a daughter, a friend, body image, getting older, this is a book full of reflections and a fair amount of wisdom. The author nursed and lost her mother at a young age. There is a certain sadness in much of the book because of this, and it may well have been the defining event in her life. As a result there is a certain 'take time to smell the roses' thread running through. And there is nothing wrong with that in a book either.

It has had mixed reviews in book circles, but I actually found it just a really nice book to read. Here is a woman who was at the vanguard of women 'having it all', who helped lay the foundations for those of us who followed along in her footsteps. Some things went well, some didn't, and she is quite open in her musings.
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on 18 January 2013
I was disappointed with this book from an author I admire and have read. It is not a novel but an anthology of thoughts on many subjects, from home, home styles, fashion, children, husband and so on. Very interesting when the stories are being told but boring on her esoteric thoughts - women's rights, work and so on.
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