Book Review: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

My reading world has expanded considerably due to my signing up with NetGalley, a great way to read and review new books. One of the books I was excited to sneak preview is Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, which has just released. Now I’ve been a Quindlen fan since her days as a columnist at the NYT. Okay I wasn’t a “Paul girl,” I was a “John” girl in the Beatles’ heyday. But I love Quindlen’s writing all the same.

My review:
I’ve always been a fan of Anna Quindlen. Anyone who loves the Beatles as much as I do is a winner. Quindlen writes a sweet and true memoir in Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. In America it’s so hard to be who you really are. But Quindlen gives me confidence to embrace my old womanhood and shout it from the rooftops. Her style is effortless as she shares particulars of a life well-lived. I think I want to be Anna Quindlen when I grow up.

About the Book:

It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn’t know who I was. Then I invented someone, and became her. Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again.

It turned out I wasn’t alone in that particular progression.

From Anna Quindlen, #1 New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, comes this irresistible memoir about her life and the lives of women today. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cakeis filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.

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: “Real friends offer both hard truths and soft landings and realize that it’s sometimes more important to be nice than to be honest.”

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: 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 both satisfying and even joyful. So here’s to lots of candles, plenty of cake.

You can find out more or purchase here:
Anna Quindlen is the author of five previous bestselling novels (Rise and Shine, Blessings, Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue), and seven nonfiction books (A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Good Dog. Stay., Being Perfect, Loud & Clear, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud, and How Reading Changed My Life). Her New York Times column “Public and Private” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. From 2000-2009, She wrote the “Last Word” column for Newsweek.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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