While many people now know Quindlen best through her beloved novels, she first made her mark as an essayist, first at The New York Times, and then for Newsweek. She last wrote about parenting in Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, and now that she’s a grandparent, she’s back with astute observations of how her life has changed with the arrival of Arthur. She notes that while there are all different ways to be a nana – to Quindlen, the job is to make the not the cake or the frosting, but the sugar flowers at the corners. Always think, did they ask you? Quindlen alternates personal stories with essays that step back and look at grandparenting in general. The results are a wise and warm collection to be savored, no matter the makeup of your family.— Daniel Goldin
Whether living in anticipation of becoming grandmother, experiencing it for the first time, or surviving as a veteran grandmother multiple times over, readers will be amused by the wit and insightful wisdom that prevails throughout this gem of a book. Quindlen shares her experiences since grand-baby Arthur arrived and expands beyond that moment to reflectively look at how grandparenting has changed over the years. Well done Nana Quindlen!— Jane Glaser
A bighearted book of wisdom, wit, and insight, celebrating the love and joy of being a grandmother, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and #1 New York Times bestselling author
"I am changing his diaper, he is kicking and complaining, his exhausted father has gone to the kitchen for a glass of water, his exhausted mother is prone on the couch. He weighs little more than a large sack of flour and yet he has laid waste to the living room: swaddles on the chair, a nursing pillow on the sofa, a car seat, a stroller. No one cares about order, he is our order, we revolve around him. And as I try to get in the creases of his thighs with a wipe, I look at his, let's be honest, largely formless face and unfocused eyes and fall in love with him. Look at him and think, well, that's taken care of, I will do anything for you as long as we both shall live, world without end, amen."
Before blogs even existed, Anna Quindlen became a go-to writer on the joys and challenges of family, motherhood, and modern life, in her nationally syndicated column. Now she's taking the next step and going full nana in the pages of this lively, beautiful, and moving book about being a grandmother. Quindlen offers thoughtful and telling observations about her new role, no longer mother and decision-maker but secondary character and support to the parents of her grandson. She writes, "Where I once led, I have to learn to follow." Eventually a close friend provides words to live by: "Did they ask you?"
Candid, funny, frank, and illuminating, Quindlen's singular voice has never been sharper or warmer. With the same insights she brought to motherhood in Living Out Loud and to growing older in Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, this new nana uses her own experiences to illuminate those of many others.