Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen - what a crowded novel. I enjoyed the packed-to-the-rafters issue-of-the-week approach, in kind of the same way as I enjoy doing all my sudoko-a-day calendar puzzles in one lunch hour after I return from a week's vacation. When was the last time I had a week's vacation? Sometime before the turn of the milennia, surely.
So, like Quindlen, I digress.
Unlike Quindlen, though, I may lose my readership, so I'd better get back to the topic at hand. Quindlen's book is a great read, though not as thought-provoking a read for me as Blessings was. She crams so many issues and themes in I'm surprized they didn't fall out of the cover when I cracked it open - urban policing, homelessness, domestic violence, single motherhood, older motherhood, media celebrity, charitableness, handicappedness, public transportation design, priviledged youth, UNDERpriviledged youth, the interrelationship of generations, adoption, public housing - and a few dozen more I leave out on advice from counsel. However, she pulls it off - the book felt like a New York moment; busy, crowded, vibrant, exciting, and somewhat voyeuresque. Don't let the jacket-cover blurbs or reviews fool you; this book is not about the prominent quasicouric morning news anchor Meghan Fitzmaurice, but instead about her overshadowed sister Bridget. (About that review; how is Bridget the underpriviledged, pitiful sister if she's still dining out at NYC French restaurants, vacationing on a lark to Jamaica, and has no material concerns to speak of?)
Interesting how, in our current FCC inspired media persnicketiness, Quindlen's avoiding mention of the obsenity that gets Meghan booted, even though as long ago as 1984 it featured pretty prominently in a PG-13 movie. Is it okay to write but not to say? Or is there some façade of politeness to be maintained here? I personally think profanity is usually the sign of a poorly developed vocabulary, but I sound kind of silly swearing so I'm biased.
One of my favorite characters here is Tequilla, who seems like a distant relative of Lula. Watch for her and be amused throughout the story. Be warned, the story doesn't end with a happy ending, but instead has a loose-ends-dangling, a few sad moments, and life-goes-on mojo. Not unlike real life, actually. I'd recommend this read to most of my friends.