It is the 1960s, in suburban New York City, and twelve-year-old Maggie Scanlan begins to sense that despite the calm surface of her peaceful life, everything is going strangely wrong.
When her all-powerful grandfather is struck down by a stroke, the reverberations affect Maggie's entire family. Her normally dispassionate father breaks down, her mother becomes distant and unavailable, and matters only get worse when her cousin and her best friend start doing things to each other that leave Maggie confused about sex and terrified of sin.
With all of this upheaval, how can she be sure that what she wants is even worth having?
Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, non-fiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of six novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, and Every Last One. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a number one New York Times bestseller. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at The New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear.
An intelligent, highly entertaining novel laced with acute perceptions about the nature of day-to-day family life
New York Times Book Review - Anne Tyler
The characters are quirky and vividly drawn ... The writing is lovely, and shows humour and quiet insight ... Quindlen is an intellignet and imaginative writer
Elaborate and playful... Honest and deeply felt... Here is the Quindlen wit, the sharp eye for details of class and manners ... the ardent reading of domestic lives.
New York Times
Anna Quindlen's first novel is about an experience that is the same for everyone and different for us all: the time when we suddenly see our family with an outsider's eye and begin the separation that marks our growing up.
Quindlen is at her best writing about the dislocations of growing up, the blows a child does not see coming