Mary Beth Lantham is an average mother of three teenaged kids and the wife of a respected ophthalmologist. She also owns her own landscaping business, where she carefully designs gardens for people in her town. Her biggest concerns entail getting her daughter Ruby through her Senior year of high school and helping her twin sons Alex and Max transition into high school, while dealing with Max’s depression. That is, until an unexpected tragedy changes her life forever, leaving her to pick up the pieces after her carefully constructed life shatters.
I personally disliked this book. The first half was mundane. It’s filled with details about Mary Beth’s perfect life and her inability to deal with anything that detracts from that. She ignored Ruby’s eating disorder until it was almost too late. She was in denial that Max was depressed, even though teachers repeatedly told her something was wrong. She also ignores the fact that her daughter has a stalker. Yes, her 17 year old daughter is being stalked by an ex boyfriend who constantly sends her pictures that he took of her and she doesn’t think to do anything about it. When the stalker is not being welcomed into the home by Mary Beth, he sneaks into Ruby’s room. Unfortunately, she refuses to believe that Ruby is being stalked, even when the evidence is laid out in front of her. So, she’s already not likable since you’ll be yelling at the book for her to do something. Or maybe that’s just me. Her inaction winds up being her downfall.
Seemingly to make up for the tediousness, Quindlen makes the second half overly tragic. The event comes out of nowhere, and was completely avoidable. Once again Mary Beth can’t deal with it, while she ignores the fact that her own family is affected until it is almost too late. I can go on, but I don’t want to give too much away, other than the fact that it’s not well-written.
Review Submitted by: Marissa Parlock
Rating: Not Recommended.