Book Review: Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Every Last One by Anna QuindlenRating: 4.5/5
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 328
First published: 2010
Genre: contemporary fiction

This book was one of three books that I won in a giveaway by Windmill Books. They did an author chat event on Twitter with author Jonathan Lee (of Who Is Mr Satoshi?) and I was declared the winner of a set of books. Even better, I was allowed to choose from their entire catalogue!

Every Last One: What it is about

This book follows a few years in the life of Mary Beth Latham. She’s married to Glen and has 14-year old twin sons (non-identical) Alex and Max and a 17-year old daughter, Ruby.

Her house is always full of people, especially Alex’ and Ruby’s friends are around a lot of the time. Max doesn’t have many friends, and his parents are worried about him as he retreats further away from every one. He’s seeing a therapist and that seems to help him along. Ruby is busy with school and her friends, and breaks up with her boyfriend Kiernan, who she has known since they were both quite small. Kiernan finds it hard to accept they are no longer a couple but still visits often, as he is a friend of the family and likes to hang out with the brothers.

Mary Beth has a successful landscaping company and although she has some worries about the illegal Mexicans she hires, all is well.

Then something tragic happens that changes everything. The remaining half of the book is about how Mary Beth copes (and sometimes not copes) with the new situation.

Every Last One: What I thought

I loved reading this book. It really appealed to me. I am also the mother of teenage boys, and I liked how Mary Beth’s house was a place where the children’s friends came together, stayed for meals and had a good time.

The tragic event happens quite suddenly, around halfway the book. For me, it happened a bit too late, in the sense that I started to get slightly bored with the book, as there wasn’t a lot happening. The tragic event was shocking and it put a whole new perspective on the story.

The whole book was written very convincingly. I was especially impressed by the second half of the book, where Mary Beth had to deal with the new situation and the way she did this was for me completely realistic. There were lots of great insights, and I was impressed how well the writer could put herself in the mind of Mary Beth. Totally convincing!

It was a bit emotional as well (though certainly not a tear jerker). A very good book.

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

25 Responses to Book Review: Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

  1. Mystica says:

    I read this a while ago and also found it very good.

  2. You changed your look — I had to look at the URL to know I was at the right place! Great review — although I really hate child-tragedy reading. It almost always leaves me sad.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Glad you didn’t run off, Col, when you didn’t see the familiar brown blog.

      This book is more about a family tragedy rather than a child tragedy per sé. It is a sad story, though.

  3. This book seems to be every where at the moment! I didn’t have any interest in in at first, but the hype is beginning to get to me. I think I’ll have to try it soon.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jackie, the book isn’t new so it can’t be a big hype. 🙂

      The book might be a little light-weight for you (compared to all the Bookers and Oranges) but only a little. I thought the author’s insights were very well done.

  4. I read this book last year sometime and loved it also. I bawled my eyes out and made a commitment to myself that I would give Anna Quindlen’s other books another try since Every Last One was so powerful.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Coffee, I haven’t tried any other books by Quindlen but I definitely am planning to. It sounds like you didn’t like her other books quite that much.

  5. This book sounds really good, I’ll have to keep a look out for it 🙂

  6. Tesney Ap says:

    What a nice review, Judith 🙂 It looks like a fun read 🙂

  7. lindyloumacinitaly says:

    I like the sound of this one but as you mention it is a slow start I am still debating if I should add it to my wishlist.

    • Leeswammes says:

      LindyLou, I think you’d like the book. The first bit is very good, but then after a while I started to wonder if anything would actually happen. Then it did, with a bang!

  8. I have read one of her books ‘One True Thing’ and I remember it was compelling and great, seems like she writes in a thought provoking style. Thaks for the reminder of this author and congrats on winning the book!

  9. RFW says:

    I read this last year when it first came out here in U.S. I like Anna Quindlan’s characters and those pithy remarks. From this book – “…We sit with people, and we tell them things, and we make up their lives in our heads, and we really know nothing about them…”
    By the way, I remember going through a lot of tissues reading this book.

  10. I read this one too and really enjoyed it. I have to say Judith, loving the blog look!

  11. This certainly was an emotional read!

  12. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I haven’t read this though I have read other by Quindlen which I have enjoyed and this sounds good also

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