Read while home alone? absolutely
Tissues needed? not really
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a memoir with lots of messages for people of any age, though Quindlen highlights that you can’t really learn about an age until you’ve lived it. She makes her way through life in her family of origin, including her mother’s death when Anna was still in college, through marriage and early working years in newspapers, having and raising children, and to the point where she is now: adult children, a home in the city and country, and a good number of friends. The story isn’t exactly in that order—Quindlen has arranged it into lessons she’s learned, and then uses her life stories to illustrate them.
I’ve read several of Anna Quindlen’s books and enjoyed them, so when I saw a new book out I requested it at the library, not realizing it was her memoir. Although it was a little different to read than her novels (obviously!), I enjoyed it. Quindlen’s writing style is pleasant and I liked the way she was able to impart words of wisdom without seeming preachy. It made me stop and think, which is always good, right?
One of my favorite quotes from the book was from a letter Quindlen received while writing a newspaper column about being a mom of young children. An older woman wrote to say, “We like to imply that children before our own had been raised by wolves.” This was a lesson that really resonated for me: each generation thinks they’re both more advanced than all previous generations, while also experiencing a more difficult time. There may be some truth to that, but for me it’s also important to recognize those who came before and their contributions to my advancement.
What would your memoir be titled? What life lessons have you learned that would be key in your memoir?