Object Lessons

Object Lessons

3.2 13
by Anna Quindlen
     
 

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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
"Elaborate and playful...Honest and deeply felt....Here is the Quindlen wit, the sharp eye for the details of class and manners, [and] the ardent reading of domestic lives."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
It is the 1960s, in suburban New York City. Maggie and her family, are in the thrall of her powerful grandfather Jack Scanlan…  See more details below

Overview

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
"Elaborate and playful...Honest and deeply felt....Here is the Quindlen wit, the sharp eye for the details of class and manners, [and] the ardent reading of domestic lives."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
It is the 1960s, in suburban New York City. Maggie and her family, are in the thrall of her powerful grandfather Jack Scanlan. In the summer of her twelfth year, Maggie is despertately trying to master the object lessons her grandfather fills her head with. But there is too much going on to concentrate. Everything at home is in upheaval, her grandfather is changing, and Maggie is unsure if what she wants is worth having....

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World

Anna Quindlen's first novel is about an experience that is the same for everyone and different for us all: the time when we suddenly see our family with an outsider's eye and begin the separation that marks our growing up. . . . Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this absorbing coming-of-age novel, a Literary Guild selection in cloth that spent 10 weeks on PW's bestseller list, New York Times columnist Quindlen skillfully conveys the fierce ethnic pride of Irish and Italian communities. (May)
Library Journal
This first novel by former New York Times columnist, and now syndicated columnist, Quindlen is a well-written but not particularly engaging reflection on growing up. Maggie Scanlan, product of an Irish father and an Italian mother, lives in a New York City suburb in the 1960s. We follow her through her 12th summer, as she endures the trials and tribulations of the transition to adolescence. Maggie is not particularly insightful, though, and none of the other characters give her much insight into growing up. The characters themselves are not as lively as they might be, and the plot is standard: marriage problems, family quarrels, a problem pregnancy. Libraries may get requests for this from readers familiar with Quindlen's nonfiction. Literary Guild alternate; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/90.-- Gwen Gregory, U.S. Courts Lib., Phoenix, Ariz.
School Library Journal
This first novel is an insightful family chronicle, an informed commentary on the '60s, and the coming-of-age depiction of a mother and daughter. As 13-year-old Maggie struggles with her identity within the boisterous Scanlan clan, her mother also finds her own place within the patriarchal family that has never accepted her. Both women experience rites of passage during the fateful summer that a housing development is being built behind their home, infringing on their emotional and physical spaces. A fast-paced plot involves small fires set in the development by Maggie's friends and romantic tension between her mother and a man from her past. Readers will appreciate Maggie's dilemmas as she grapples with peer pressure and sexual bewilderment, and as she begins to understand her mother, whose discontent oddly parallels her own. --Jackie Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Springfield, VA-

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560542513
Publisher:
Macmillan Library Reference
Publication date:
11/09/1992
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
471

Meet the Author

ANNA QUINDLEN is the author of three bestselling novels, Object Lessons, One True Thing, and Black and Blue. Her New York Times column “Public & Private” won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and a selection of those columns was published as Thinking Out Loud. She is also the author of a collection of her “Life in the 30’s”columns, Living Out Loud; a book for the Library of Contemporary Thought, How Reading Changed My Life; the bestselling A Short Guide to a Happy Life; and two children’s books, The Tree That Came to Stay and Happily Ever After. She is currently a columnist for Newsweek and lives with her husband and children in New York City.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
July 8, 1952
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:
B.A., Barnard College, 1974
Website:
http://annaquindlen.net/

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3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel changed how I view life. Only Quindlen can accurately portray the complex emotions a young girl can feel in the course of one summer and how much things can change in the course of a few months. Through her poignant writing style I have been able to come to terms with changes in my own life. I would recommend this to anyone who has been a thirteen-year-old girl or knows a thirteen-year-old girl!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Object Lessons' is a very well-written novel about a time that is the same for everyone, yet is different for each individual: the time when one must learn to deal with the various changes that life throws upon him/her, good or bad. Through accepting these changes, one not only matures, but learns more about his/her identity: who they are, and who they want to become, which is a very important factor in life. The events in this novel are ones that many people can relate to, regardless of age: the breakup of a friendship, the start of a new one, a death in the family, a wedding, a divorce. Then there are those deeper issues, such as holding on to past memories, and discovering who the people close to you really are. I feel this is a 'must-read' for anyone who needs an uplifting on how to live his/her life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading the entire book was like reading one chapter, I was still eaiting for the story to be told. This was disapointing. Not one of her best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I think anyone, especially women, can identify with Maggie in one way or another. All the characters were fully realized and you really felt for them. I only wish this book had been a little longer.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have only read two other books by her, they were both great, and this book was no exception. She is my favorite author!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It was a fairly quick read and the author really did a good job of making you feel for and understand the characters. It was not the most stimulating or captivating book I've ever read but still worth the effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this book for english class in the 9th grade,and I can honestly say that I have read it at least 9 times. I love this book. Quindlen does a great job in the growth and chance of the characters in Object Lessons. I found it to be honest and intersting at the same time. It is my #2 book of all time and I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There was no plot to speak of and the characters were about as stereotype as they come--Irish Catholics vs. Italian Catholics, tyrannical patriarch, unhappy housewife who hasn't mastered the art of birth control and none of her relatives, who are so shocked that she keeps getting pregnant, care to share the secret with her. I could only get about two thirds through before I had to call it quits. I am amazed this book was even published, let alone a bestseller.