Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Published 2006 by Random House Publishing
Source: this audio book is mine
Narrator: Carol Monda
It's an otherwise ordinary Monday when Meghan Fitzmaurice's perfect life hits a wall. A household name as the host of Rise and Shine, the country's highest-rated morning television talk show, Meghan cuts to a commercial break - but not before she does something that, in an instant, marks the end of an era, not only for Meghan, who is unaccustomed to dealing with adversity, but also for her younger sister, Bridget. A social worker in the Bronx, Bridget has always lived in Meghan's long shadow. The impact of Meghan's on-air truth telling reverberates through both their lives, affecting Meghan's son, husband, friends, and fans, as well as Bridget's perception of her sister, their complex childhood, and herself. What follows is a story about how, in very different ways, the Fitzmaurice women adapt, survive, and manage to bring the whole teeming world of New York to heel by dint of their smart mouths, quick wits, and the powerful connection between them that even the worst tragedy cannot shatter.
It's not great literature; it's not even the best book by Quindlen I've read. But I liked Rise And Shine. I liked the interaction between the sisters - the older sister who grew up feeling that she had to take care of her little sister, the little sister who grew up without a real recollection of her parents and in her sister's shadow. I liked the juxtaposition of life amongst the uber wealthy versus life among the desperately poor and Quindlen's no-holds-barred approach to both. Most of all, I liked Bridget and watching her, at forty-three, finally finding her own voice and place in life.
If you're looking for a book with a strong plot, skip this book. This book is, as they say, character driven. There is the kerfuffle at the beginning of the book and some action at the end of the book but in between, there's a lot of talking and thinking and deep looks at life in New York City. Quindlen talks about living a life of poverty in the city but skirts the grittier issues which is fine here given the nature of her story. Some readers may be annoyed, though, that even as she throws the rich under the bus, Quindlen's characters rely on money to make their lives easier.
The story is told first person from Bridget's point of view and Carol Monda did a very good job with it. She's a reader I will look for again. I wished, as I was listening to this book, that she had read the last Quindlen book I read, Black and Blue. I think she would have added the vulnerability I was looking for in that book's protagonist.
Rise And Shine has plenty for book clubs to discuss - sibling relationships, motherhood, class differences, marriage - without anything that would offend any reader.
Posted by Lisa at 1:30 AM