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After Annie

By Anna Quindlen

A Touching Tale of Heartbreak and Healing




Annie Brown dies suddenly and unexpectedly on her kitchen floor at the age of 37. It was an aneurysm. She left behind a husband, four children, and her best friend, all of whom struggled with this unexpected death. Annie’s oldest daughter, Ali, 13, is forced by circumstances to cook, clean, and care for her three younger brothers. Annie’s husband, Bill, a plumber, is at a loss but must recover quickly to keep his family together.  Annie’s best friend, Annemarie, fights hard to maintain the sobriety that Annie had helped her obtain.  Annie had been a rock for everyone, and now they are all set adrift by her loss.


AFTER ANNIE is a heart-warming story that follows the lives of Annie's family and friends during their first year of grief. The characters of Bill, Ali, and Annemarie are well-developed, and Ali's character is particularly sympathetic. We also meet Bill's mother, Dora, who could easily win an award for the meanest mother-in-law ever. Ali's school counselor, Miss Cruz, is one of my favorite characters.

The book deals with heavy topics, such as addiction and child abuse, which may have contributed to the slow pacing of the story. Despite that, I appreciated the read.  I had lost my sister unexpectedly a year earlier. The book helped me realize that everyone's grief is different. I particularly liked the epigraph, "Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color," by W. S. Merwin.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher    Random House Publishing Group

Published   February 27, 2024

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