On the cover: Ellen Gulden is a successful, young New York journalist. But when her mother, Kate, is diagnosed with cancer, she leaves her life in the city to return home and care for her. In the short time they have left, the relationship between mother and daughter – tender, awkward and revealing – deepens, and Ellen is forced to confront painful truths about her adored father.
But in the weeks that follow Kate’s death, events take a shocking and unexpected turn. Family emotions are laid bare as a new drama is played out, and overnight Ellen goes from devoted daughter to prime suspect, accused of the mercy killing of her ‘one true thing’.
One True Thing is the devastating story of a mother and daughter, of love and loss, and of shattering choices.
This was a really emotional read, and one that gave me a lot to think about. I think it would make a great book club read as there is plenty to discuss and it really makes you question what you would do if you were in Ellen’s situation. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 18 and it all happened very quickly – he passed away 13 days after he had been diagnosed and only 3 months or so after first having symptoms. While at the time it was heartbreaking, looking back I am very thankful that it happened so fast. I can’t imagine how horrid it must be to endure a long battle with cancer. I can’t imagine how horrid it must be to watch a family member endure a long battle with cancer.
Unlike the blurb would have you believe, the book is less about Ellen’s arrest for the alleged mercy killing of her mother and more about the difficult relationship that Ellen had with her mother and it was beautiful, heart-wrenching and intriguing to see how this relationship began and to watch it develop into so much more as the book progressed. It’s also interesting to see the degeneration of Ellen’s relationship with her father, whom she had once so adored and had been so eager to please. Quindlen manages to capture the complexities of relationships so well with her writing and although the plot doesn’t really go anywhere, this book is never dull.
Unfortunately for me I saw the movie first and so I knew what was going to happen but, as is usually the case, the book completely blows the movie out of the water. I’m writing this review months after I finished the book, and it’s still with me.
Info for this edition:
Paperback, 309 pages
UK Publisher: Windmill, September 2011
Source: I received this book for review through Amazon Vine.
My Rating: 5 Stars