Raw. Powerful. Real. Not for cynics or sissies. If you have experienced a devastating event that has permanently divided your life into a "Before" and an "After," this book will really speak to your heart. I know it spoke to mine. If you're fortunate enough not to have been through the fire, there's much to be gained here in understanding another person's pain and knowing how best to help them. For maximum impact, it's best to know as little as possible prior to reading the book. When I brought it home, I looked it up here on Good Reads. The first review I saw said not to even read the inside flap of the dust jacket. I took that advice, and I'm glad I did. I will say this: The first half of the book seems like rather ordinary domestic fiction. Soccer moms, summer camp, proms, upper middle class marriage... In other words, not my cuppa. I almost gave up about 100 pages in. I kept going because I've liked two of Quindlen's other books. When you get to the second half, you'll see the reason for the relatively bland first half. After "the event" in your life, whatever it may be, you long for the ordinariness of that "Before" time and resent yourself for having been so complacent. On page 192, Mary Beth observes: "One of the worst aspects of living now on the far shore is that across the chasm I can see my glib unknowing former self. I despise that woman, her foolish little worries and her cheap sympathies. She knew nothing. But I can't truly wish on her what I know now." Every Last One is a book I will read again. Meanwhile, "This is my life. I am trying."