A few words about book's author
ANNA QUINDLEN is the author of five bestselling novels (Rise and Shine, Blessings, Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue), and six nonfiction books (Being Perfect, Loud & Clear, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud, How Reading Changed My Life). She has also written two childrens books (The Tree That Came to Stay, Happily Ever After). Her New York Times column Public and Private won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Her column now appears every other week in Newsweek.
From the Hardcover edition.
Anna Quindlen could have settled onto a nice, lofty career plateau in the early 1990s, when she had won a Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times column; but she took an unconventional turn, and achieved a richer result. Quindlen, the third woman to hold a place among the Times Op-Ed columnists, had already published two successful collections of her work when she decided to leave the paper in 1995. But it was the two novels she had produced that led her to seek a future beyond her column. Quindlen had a warm, if not entirely uncritical, reception as a novelist. Her first book, Object Lessons, focused on an Irish American family in suburban New York in the 1960s. It was a bestseller and a Times Notable Book of 1991, but was also criticized for not being as engaging as it could have been. One True Thing, Quindlens exploration of an ambitious daughters journey home to take care of her terminally ill mother, was stronger still—a heartbreaker that was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. But Quindlens fiction clearly benefited from her decision to leave the Times. Three years after that controversial departure, she earned her best reviews yet with Black and Blue, a chronicle of escape from domestic abuse. Quindlens novels are thoughtful explorations centering on women who may not start out strong, but who ultimately find some core within themselves as a result of what happens in the story. Her nonfiction meditations—particularly A Short Guide to a Happy Life and her collection of Life in the 30s columns, Living Out Loud—often encourage this same transition, urging others to look within themselves and not get caught up in what society would plan for them. Its an approach Quindlen herself has obviously had success with.
Good To Know
To those who expressed surprise at Quindlens apparent switch from columnist to novelist, the author points out that her first love was always fiction. She told fans in a Barnes & Noble.com chat, I really only went into the newspaper business to support my fiction habit, but then discovered, first of all, that I loved reporting for its own sake and, second, that journalism would be invaluable experience for writing novels. Quindlen joined Newsweek as a columnist in 1999. She began her career at the New York Post in 1974, jumping to the New York Times in 1977. Quindlens prowess as a columnist and prescriber of advice has made her a popular pick for commencement addresses, a sideline that ultimately inspired her 2000 title A Short Guide to a Happy Life. Quindlens message tends to be a combination of stopping to smell the flowers and being true to yourself. Quindlen told students at Mount Holyoke in 1999, Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, It is never too late to be what you might have been. It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world. Studying fiction at Barnard with the literary critic Elizabeth Hardwick, Quindlens senior thesis was a collection of stories, one of which she sold to Seventeen magazine.