Q is for Anna Quindlen, Living Out Loud

Blogging from A-Z

Living Out LoudLiving Out Loud. Finished 4-19-13, rating 3.25/5, essays, 278 pages, pub. 1988

A collection of Quindlen’s columns that she wrote for The New York Times starting in 1986 until the book was published in 1988.  The columns range from her looking back to growing up in the 1960’s to her raising her own children.  I found that I really couldn’t connect with much in these columns.  There was such a focus on being a woman and what that meant for her in relation to feminism, having a career and children that I felt like I was past the birth cut-off date for optimal reading enjoyment.  It was dated, but since I am a woman and mother I was hoping to get more out of it.  I’ve enjoyed her novels but I’m not sure if I’ll read more of her nonfiction. There were a few of the columns that really spoke to me  and I’ll include a bit from them.  This was from my own library.

I work out for a very simple reason, and it is noy because it makes me feel invigorated or refreshed.  The people who say that exercise is important because it makes you feel wonderful are the same people who say a mink coat is nice because it keeps you warm.  Show me a woman who wears a mink coat to keep warm and who exercises because it feels good and I’ll show you Jane Fonda.  I wear a mink coat because it is a mink coat, an I work out so that my husband will not gasp when he runs into me in the bathroom and take off with an eighteen year old who looks as good out of her clothes as in them.   (from Stretch Marks)

It reminded me that too often we take our sweet time dealing with the things we do not like about our children: the marriage we could not accept, the profession we disapproved of, t he sexual orientation we may hate and fear.  Sometimes we vow that we will never, never accept those things.  The stories my friend told me about the illness, the death, the funeral and, especially, about the parents reminded me that sometimes we do not have all the time we think to make our peace with who our children are.  It reminded me that “never” can last a long, long time, perhaps much longer than we intended.  (from Gay)

I accept the fact that mothers and daughters probably always see each other across a chasm of rivalries.  But I forget all those things when one of my friends is down with the flu and her mother arrives with an overnight bag to manage her household and feed her soup (from Mothers)  in honor of my own mother who did this very thing for me this week.  Love you 🙂

8 thoughts on “Q is for Anna Quindlen, Living Out Loud

  1. Leslie says:

    Probably not so much the birth cut-off date as much as times and attitudes have changed since the book was published. I remember reading her column in the 80s and she was on the cutting edge of feminism. I was shocked when she left the Times; no one gave up a job like that.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      You made the birthdate cut-off 😉 I might like her most recent one too, but this one was published in 1988 when gay men were the main ones spreading and getting AIDS and feminism meant something a little different to those still in their teens (me!).

  2. Lloyd Russell says:

    I have read all 5 of her novels and have liked them all, some of them a lot. I read one of her column anthologies and was relatively bored – more my problem than hers, I think. I’ve also seen her live once. She is extremely interesting. If anybody gets a chance to see, they should.

  3. sandynawrot says:

    You might enjoy “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake” better because it is more reflective back on all her phases of life, not just the feminist one. My favorite chapter was the one on girlfriends. She encapsulates exactly what it means to have a best friend, and what they add to your life.

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