Sunday, June 27, 2010

Every Last One

I could not put down Anna Quindlen's latest book, Every Last One. I was completely captivated. It took me a day to read it, starting with snatches of pages early in the morning before anyone was awake. I read on our car ride out to a friends engagement party. En route back I got to the climax and wanted to scream but my husband, children and dad, my fellow passengers, would not have taken my yelling well. I finished by forcing my eyes awake until after midnight. This morning I can still feel the book in me.

I found the most evocative passage on page 200 (the hardcover US edition): "It was not so much I wanted to die; it was just that I could not bear the incessant feeling of being alive." The line was the knockout punch that brought it all home for me.

There was an evening Eric came home from work to find me in the fetal position in our bedroom, gasping for air as I could not control my tears. The pain was ravaging the wound still so new. My understanding that people just didn't get it growing until I felt it would swallow me up. I told Eric I didn't want to die but the idea of living without the baby, for I did not know his name right then, was too much for me - I couldn't do it. I think it was one of the few times in our marriage Eric was actually afraid.

The next line in the book: "And then it occurred to me that I was already dead, that what was left behind was a carapace, like the shells of cicadas we found a few summers ago." This is what Eric knew way before me, that I was gone, the woman he had just wooed and wed and created life with was not there anymore and I know he wondered "where did my wife go?" and that was just the beginning.