Magazine July 9, 2012, Issue

The Struggles of Anna

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir, by Anna Quindlen (Random House, 208 pp., $26)

Amemoir, while not hemmed in by the strict classical rules that define poetry, nonetheless needs a certain amount of control to give it narrative thrust, a modicum of suspense, and something resembling an orderly timeline. Do not expect such leisurely, reflective writing from Anna Quindlen. She was born at the perfect statistical moment to experience firsthand the death by a thousand choices inflicted on American women by the feminist movement, and her memoir is a scattershot overview of every conflict, emotion, experience, wish, regret, and opinion she has ever had from her birth in 1952 to her publisher’s deadline for

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