One true thing

Anna Quindlen

Book - 1994

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FICTION/Quindlen, Anna
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Subjects
Published
New York : Random House c1994.
Language
English
Physical Description
289 p.
ISBN
0812976185
067940712X
Main Author
Anna Quindlen (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

In this second novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ellen is pressured to return home to care for her terminally ill mother and then arrested for her mother's death. Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The second novel by this Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist follows the psychological travails of Ellen Gulden, who against all personal inclinations returns home to care for her dying mother, Kate, and eventually finds herself accused of mercy-killing. Ellen, an intelligent though not particularly warm person, has spent her life earning her professor father's approval. After achieving high school valedictorian and Harvard honors, she aspires to advance her New York career. At her father's insistence, however, she leaves her job and takes on the role of nurse and homemaker. Through long hours as companion to Kate, she discovers the real value of her mother's life. As in Object Lessons (LJ 3/1/91), Quindlen's gifts for characterization and clear description provide insight into families and the human heart. Recommended for all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/94.]-Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C. Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Quindlen's story of a woman accused of helping her mortally ill mother die spent seven weeks on PW's bestseller list (Sept.) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. (Sept.) Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A New York psychiatrist recounts her mother's death for which she was arrested. At the time, Dr. Ellen Gulden was accused of killing her mother with an overdose of morphine, a charge in part based on a high school essay in which she advocated euthanasia.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

After caring for her mother during her final, painful battle with cancer, Ellen Gulden discovers many surprising things about her mother's life and finds herself accused of murdering her mother in a mercy killing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

After caring for her mother during her final, painful battle with terminal cancer, Ellen Gulden discovers many surprising things about her mother's life and finds herself accused of murdering her mother in a mercy killing. By the author of Object Lessons. Reader's Guide included. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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

Review by Publisher Summary 5

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