Year Published: 2006
For my money, Anna Quindlen is one of the best columnists alive. Her essay "Life Begins at Conversation" is one of the finest popular pieces ever written on abortion. So we know the woman can write. The question about Rise and Shine is not whether Quindlen can write, but whether she can do the unseen work necessary for fiction. After reading it, I'm not convinced she can.
Rise and Shine is narrated by Bridget Fitzmaurice, a 43-year old New Yorker whose sister Megan is the most famous woman on television. When Megan's life starts falling apart, Bridget has to deal with her own problems and shoulder the burdens that Megan has left behind. The opposing-sisters gambit -- they're alike, but different! -- is not necessarily what I would expect from a writer of Quindlen's caliber, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt up until the very end, when I felt vaguely dissatisfied by what I'd just read.
I'm trying to decide what, in the end, is my problem with Rise and Shine. Partly it's the arc of the plot, which feels altogether too linear and unsurprising. Partly it's the ridiculous "insights" about New York and each other's personalities that the characters are constantly spouting. And partly it's that the book isn't weighty enough to justify its lack of fun. (It is funny in parts, but never fun.)
Recommended? Nah. If I pick something else up of hers, it'll be nonfiction.