Melody





ISBN-13: 9780812976182
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: August 2006
320pp



I have not read anything by Anna Quindlen, but this book has caught my attention while I was browsing at a bookstore one day. I suppose it is the sad premise of the story, and the relationship between a sick mother and her daughter and the journey they chose to take that intrigued me.

The book begins with the narrator, a 24-year-old Ellen Gulden winding up in jail for killing her mother. It is only when this prologue ends that we get to read the real story of Ellen, and how this story all begins.

With a good career as a journalist in a popular magazine, a boyfriend and a bright future ahead of her, Ellen couldn't have asked for more. But when her father requested her to move back home one day and take care of her mother who is diagnosed with cancer, she is completely unprepared for it. It is not only she has nothing to fall back on once she is home, but she has never had a strong relationship with her family anyway. In the end, she quitted her job and went home to care for her mother, because she thinks it is the right thing to do.

Her mother, Kate, on the other hand isn't about to let anyone thinks of her being a useless invalid. There is an extent that she refuses to let herself be seated in a wheelchair when she is too weak to move, but had to succumb to it in the end as her condition deteriorates day by day and morphine is prescribed to relieve her pain by Dr. Cohn, the oncologist whom she is seeing. Ironically, it is also the same drug which is believed to have killed her (an overdose) and Ellen is charged for murdering her mother since she is the last one to be seen with her, and then again there is an essay which she has written and won when she was seventeen, about a veterinarian putting a dog to sleep to end its suffering. They think this coincides with Kate's death and she is linked to it but she did not tell them that there was a brief moment her father has spent time with her mother, or a silent plea from her mother to end her life because she just couldn't see herself dying slowly.

One True Thing is a beautiful, well-written story that tells a relationship and the journey between a mother and daughter. In this story, I read about Kate's determination and her desire to bond with Ellen, and how one scene touches me when Kate chose to re-read some books with Ellen so that they have something to talk about, though Ellen is unaware of it. I suppose it takes all these little gestures to strengthen their bond, as Ellen slowly began to fathom the meaning of love. But in the end she has a difficult choice to make, for she either has to plead guilty for an act she did not commit, or to divulge the name of the person whom is believed to have painfully committed as an act of love. This book will make you think about life and the relationship between mothers and daughters.
18 Responses
  1. Debi Says:

    Yours is the second review of this book that I've read in the past week. I'm not sure I can resist this one...it just sounds so touching and powerful.


  2. joanna Says:

    This is my Q author book for the A-Z challenge so I'll definitely be getting to it soon. It sounds beautiful... but why are all the most beautiful books sad??


  3. Nymeth Says:

    It sounds like a difficult yet beautiful book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Melody.


  4. trish Says:

    I LOVE Anna Quindlen. This was the first book by her that I read and absolutely fell in love with it. This spurred me on to read Black and Blue; Blessings; and I want to read her latest book, which I can't remember the name of right now.

    Anyway, so glad you've discovered her!


  5. Julia Says:

    This sound like a good book. Glad to see that you enjoy it.

    And you did a great review!


  6. Melody Says:

    Debi - It is! I hope you'll read this book soon.

    Joanna - I can't wait to read your review. I like it that this book is thought-provoking too, although it's a sad story.

    Nymeth - Indeed there are some parts which I find it difficult to read, especially when the mother wished for death quickly although she is a strong woman.

    Trish - I'm glad you like her books. I'll have to check out her other books as from now.

    Julia - Thanks. I really enjoyed reading it. The author has done a great job weaving this sad but beautiful story.


  7. Kim L Says:

    Wow this sounds like a powerful book! I am going to add it to my list. I have only read one book by Anna Quindlan, but it is one that really stuck with me.


  8. Melody Says:

    Kim - I hope you'll enjoy reading it. I'll have to read some reviews of her other books from other readers and picked a few to add to my wishlist. :)


  9. Alice Teh Says:

    This one will go into my wishlist. Thanks for the wonderful review, Melody!


  10. Jaimie Says:

    Wow powerful book. I am definitely going to get this one!


  11. Julia Says:

    I love reading beautiful stories :)


  12. Melody Says:

    Alice - I hope you'll enjoy it. :)

    Jaimie - That's what I thought too. I love books that's emotional and powerful. ;)

    Julia - Me too. :D


  13. Stephanie Says:

    Are you going to rent the movie (I think it stars Meryll Streep)?


  14. Melody Says:

    I might, Stephanie, if I'm able to find it first! ;)


  15. m ii k k ii Says:

    I definately suggest that you watch the movie, it by far does it justice. It is just as touching and sad as the book. Even though i have never read the book and am looking for it at the moment, I can guarantee you!


  16. m ii k k ii Says:

    BTW the movie is extremely hard to find, it is almost no where on the internet and is now discontinued on DVD and Video. Fortunately for you my friend, I managed to find it, and it is the only place I could find it. I put it in a blog for everyone who wants to see it.

    http://merylstreepmovies.blogspot.com

    Its the most recent post :D enjoy


  17. Melody Says:

    Hi Miikkii, thanks for your comments and the link. :)


  18. m ii k k ii Says:

    no probs :D