Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:

In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead--and celebrating it all--as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.
As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about
Marriage: "A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn't believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation."
Girlfriends: "Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. Sometimes I will see a photo of an actress in an unflattering dress or a blouse too young for her or with a heavy-handed makeup job, and I mutter, 'She must not have any girlfriends.' "
Stuff: "Here's what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it's taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch. My doctor says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, she doesn't believe our memories flag because of a drop in estrogen but because of how crowded it is in the drawers of our minds. Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, the appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not only full, they're overflowing."
Our bodies: "I've finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It's like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine."
Parenting: "Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us."
From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen's status as America's laureate of real life.

ISBN: 9781400069347
Characteristics: xiii, 182 pages ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 14, 2015

An easy reading book. I enjoyed it and could relate to a lot of her memories.

Jul 07, 2015

Very relatable! Poignant and pithy reflections as the author looks back on life as she approaches her sixties.

aisha65 Jul 06, 2014

Enjoyable short essays.

JCLHelenH Jun 12, 2013

I liked this book much better after discussing it with my book club, than I did while reading it. Interesting!

Oct 27, 2012

At first this book started out well - a refreshing voice of someone who is enjoying aging rather than whining about it. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about her own personal experiences. But I was somewhat put off by some of her sweeping generalizations of groups of people - as if all men think and act the same, that all atheists are really just people who are opposed to what is going on the Catholic Church or that because she doesn't think retirement would work for her, the concept of retirement is dead. And so on. It would have been much better if she just kept to her own experiences.

Sep 26, 2012

Love most of Quindlen's work, but she seemed a little....I don't know- full of herself?- in this one. Yeah, I know it's a memoir, but she's just so... PROUD. Yuck. However, several friends loved it, so what do I know?

Sep 08, 2012

Anna's writing is laugh out loud funny while current and thought provoking for any boomer headed into retirement. This is a quick, fun read that would make a great Mother's Day or birthday gift.

mrsgail5756 Aug 05, 2012

A very good read. I enjoyed this book I would recommend this book for all to read.

booklady413 Jul 28, 2012

Having reached a ripe old age myself, I enjoyed Anna's memoir about looking back at life, the good, the bad and the ugly!

Jul 18, 2012

Enjoyed the book a great deal. She could be my mother, and I 100% can't relate to things she has gone through.....yet...but her wisdom and perspective was thought provoking, and relevent. I enjoyed the essays, her witty jests, and the overall compilation of the book.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top