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As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about:
Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”
Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. Sometimes I will see a photo of an actress in an unflattering dress or a blouse too young for her or with a heavy-handed makeup job, and I mutter, ‘She must not have any girlfriends.’”
Stuff: “Here’s what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it’s taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch. My doctor says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, she doesn’t believe our memories flag because of a drop in estrogen but because of how crowded it is in the drawers of our minds. Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, the appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not only full, they’re overflowing.”
Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”
Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”
From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sheila A. Dechantal on 05-12-12
Worth a listen!
Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Anna Quindlen now takes a realistic look at her 60th year in this memoir. Within, she talks of the past (growing up, parents, boys, dating, marriage, children..), the present (the importance of friends, not getting so worked up anymore, faith, loss) and the future (decluttering life, enjoying the moments...)
Anna talks to you in her memoir like she is talking to a friend hashing over the good, the bad, and the ugly while sitting in a sunny chair on her porch sitting ice-cold tea and the sampling of the occasional short bread.
I have not read a lot of Anna Quindlen. However, I know Anna Quindlen can write, and I know her name as an author upon hearing it.
While I am no where hear the 60th birthday mark, I was still intrigued by a life memoir by a woman who is known for writing about realistic life opportunities in ways that make you think and care. I knew that writing a non fiction for Anna, would be an honest, even if it was brutally so, look at the life lessons she has carried.
I for one felt I too would get something out of listening to this book.
I used to think that surrounding myself with trusting girlfriends was just my own personal way of dealing with so much loss in my life. I like, and need "Go To Girls". Listening to Anna, I am realizing that my need to hang out with my friends is not a unique thing, but really - a girl thing. As Anna points out, as we get older our girlfriends become all the more important to talk about everything, and to talk about nothing. I like that.
From dating to marrying to children of our own, Anna Quindlen covers all the topics with a matter of fact and confident tone. I enjoyed listening to her life lessons, smiling and laughing at times.
All in all, this book is not just for nearing or over that 60 years old mark. It is a read for any woman who feels they have lived much, but have more left to do.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Helen on 05-16-12
encouraging, entertaining, and enlightening
I totally enjoyed this book! As a woman always trying to figure things out and contemplating aging, I took comfort in Quindlen's queries, quips, and quotents! Aging in all its awesomeness!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Fiona on 12-28-14
Would you listen to Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake again? Why?
Yes, this was a lovely book to listen to about life and motherhood
What did you like best about this story?
The honesty of the author
What does Anna Quindlen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Her voice added an extra demention as she also was the author.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Life, love and reality