NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “[Anna Quindlen] writes passionately . . . painstakingly uncovering all the intensity, suspicion and primitive love that bonds mothers and daughters.”—The Boston Globe
Ellen Gulden is enjoying her career as a successful magazine writer in New York City when she learns that her mother, Kate, is dying of cancer. Ellen’s father insists that she quit her job and return home to become a caregiver. A high-powered career woman, Ellen has never felt she had much in common with her mother, a homemaker and the heart of their family. Yet as Ellen begins to spend time with Kate, she discovers many surprising truths, not only about herself, but also about the woman she thought she knew so well.
Later, when Ellen is accused of the mercy killing of her mother, she must not only defend her own life but make a difficult choice—either accept responsibility for an act she did not commit or divulge the name of the person she believes committed a painful act of love.
Praise for One True Thing
“A triumph.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“We leave One True Thing stimulated and challenged, more thoughtful than when we began.”—Los Angeles Times
“Like a brush with mortality, One True Thing leaves the reader feeling grateful, wide awake, lucky to be alive.”—Michael Chabon
“It calls you back for another read. . . . This is a book of catharsis.”—The Denver Post
“Fiercely compassionate and frank.” —Elle
Quindlen (Object Lessons) again examines delicate family dynamics with this resonating tale of a matriarch's illness and the tempest of emotion that swirls around her deterioration and death. Manhattan psychiatrist Ellen Gulden recalls the dark time nearly a decade ago when she was accused of administering a fatal dosage of morphine to her mother, who was suffering with terminal cancer. Back then, intelligent, overachieving Ellen was forced by her domineering father to abandon a promising magazine career and assume the role of companion and caretaker at her family's suburban home. While tending her failing mother, Ellen discovered some harsh truths about herself, her parents and the relationships they had developed over the years. Following Kate Gulden's autopsy, circumstantial evidence-as far-reaching as a high-school essay she wrote championing euthanasia-accumulated against Ellen, and she was arrested. Now cleared of charges and estranged from her father, Ellen speculates on what really happened during the final hours of Kate's life. Quindlen's talent for weaving a believable reality from her characters' complex sentiments shines here, and her portraits are full-bodied and carefully drawn. Unfortunately, Ellen's digressions are often too broad in scope, incorporating peripheral characters and aiming to discuss several themes (i.e., friendship, sex, the cost of ambition) at once; these introspections occasionally slow the narrative, especially in the novel's second half. These stylistic points aside, Quindlen's story sustains an emotional momentum, and she addresses difficult issues with compassion.
Customer ReviewsSee All
One True Thing will Keep You Guessing
The one True thing about this book is that it has an air of mystery all the way through. The reader is not quite sure what to believe so it forces you to guess as you read. It was hard to put down.