A Different Kind of Guidebook   4 comments


Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a poignant, yet cheerful perspective on getting older. This is the kind of book to share with friends, particularly if they’re around the age of what is now considered to be the new-40s.

As in most of her writing, Quindlen relies on personal experience to make her points. Her writing career includes several stints as a columnist (at the New York Times and later Newsweek) as well as authoring several works of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. She has a keen sense of observation. Better still, she’s an extraordinary wordsmith. Those two skills result in crafting pieces readers can easily make connections with. Of control, she writes: “I thought I had a handle on my future. But the future, it turns out, is not a tote bag.”

Quindlen examines the important aspects of life, which can be applied to most people, women in particular: friendship, family, love, parenting, and more. She’s humorous and honest. She writes of near-misses, both good and bad. She reflects on how much her younger self was sure she knew and how her older self readily acknowledges what she doesn’t. Without citing the tired phrase that youth is squandered on the young, it’s a major thread. Quindlen puts a new spin on it.

Yes, this is a memoir, but it is much more. It’s a guidebook to accepting that each morning we wake up is a gift – even if we’re older than we were the day before.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
Four Bookmarks
Random House 2012
182 pages


4 responses to “A Different Kind of Guidebook

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  1. Nice review.

  2. I am so impressed that Quindlen seems to write fiction and non-fiction equally well. I liked this one a lot too.

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