Alternate Side- Anna Quindlen (eARC)

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(Anna Quindlen, 2018)

Expected Publication Date: March 20, 2018

The tensions in a tight-knit neighborhood—and a seemingly happy marriage—are exposed by an unexpected act of violence in this provocative new novel from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Miller’s Valley and Still Life with Bread Crumbs.

Some days Nora Nolan thinks that she and her husband, Charlie, lead a charmed life—except when there’s a crisis at work, a leak in the roof at home, or a problem with their twins at college. And why not? New York City was once Nora’s dream destination, and her clannish dead-end block has become a safe harbor, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. Then one morning she returns from her run to discover that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood, and the fault lines begin to open: on the block, at her job, especially in her marriage. With humor, understanding, an acute eye, and a warm heart, Anna Quindlen explores what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a woman at a moment of reckoning.

(via Goodreads)

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I received this eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions of this book are my own, and are not influenced in any way.


What I Liked

  • Atmosphere
    • While it didn’t feel like the story had a purpose, the author did it in a way that kept you interested anyway.
  • Takes place on a small dead-end street in NYC.
    • It was like an inside look on life in the city, how it really takes a special kind of person to permanently live there, and that most people, cannot truly say they are “from” there.
  • Alma
    • I have to say, in real life, she seems like the type of person that I would loathe, but in this book, I think she is essential for tying things together. She is quick, and knows more than she ever lets on to her neighbors.
  • Ricky
    • I feel bad for him. Also, he could have done so much better than Nita.
  • Phil
    • I just like him interactions with Nora. I think he is as real as they come.


What I Disliked

  • Aspects of the writing style
    • While I liked the author’s development of the characters and her world building, it was incredibly irritating the way Nora’s storytelling played out. She would be in the middle of a conversation with someone, go off on a tangent (in her mind) for a number of paragraphs, to the point where you finally get back to the original conversation, you have no idea who she was talking to or about what. I felt like the majority of the book I was glazing over/cannot remember because facts and side-stories were thrown at you so haphazardly.
  • Introduction of characters
    • In these types of books, where it is mostly character driven, it is imperative to introduce the characters in a way that you remember who they are (at least that is how I feel). Unfortunately, the way in which these characters are introduced requires you to keep flipping back into the beginning of the story to figure out who they are connected to. I even had a little chart I had to keep next to me while reading the first half of this book. When so much work is required to keep the characters straight, it is a bit off-putting, and distracts from the main purpose of the story.


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Final Thoughts

I had to really think about both what I liked, and disliked about this book. Honestly, I don’t think I got very much out of it, but somehow, I know that I would pick up another one of Quindlen’s books if the synopsis sounded good enough. Maybe one day, when I am less distracted, I will go back and reread this, and have a greater appreciation for the story as a whole.

I was excited to review my very first eARC, and look forward to getting into, and posting more in the near future. I think I have about 8 more from Netgalley that I haven’t opened yet. I am trying to offset my reading by getting to one physical book, and then one on my kindle (so that everyone gets a turn).

I did manage to pull a quote out of the story that I liked though- and with my handy Kindle, I can simply just highlight it, and it stays on there for as long as I’d like :]

People go through life thinking they’re making decisions, when they’re really just making plans, which is not the same thing at all. And along the way, they get a little damaged, lots of tiny cracks, holding together but damaged still.

The first half of that quote really resonates with me right now. It is something that made me pause, and think about the “decisions” I have made.


I let my boyfriend choose my next read by showing him the covers of four different books I had on my TBR.

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on deck book On Deck:

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely


9 thoughts on “Alternate Side- Anna Quindlen (eARC)

  1. If there is one thing I really don’t like in books it’s either so many characters that you can hardly keep track of them. Or they are so badly introduced that you really hardly remember who is who. That coupled with a story that really isn’t my cup of tea so to speak means I will give it a pass. Despite that, I still enjoyed reading the review 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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