In about 10 minutes (or even less) last Saturday afternoon I read Being Perfect by Anna Quindlen. It was a tiny little book that really would have been better suited to be a chapter in another book instead of a whole book by itself. In an effort to make it longer (I think), it had two page photo spreads right in the middle of every other page (including breaking a sentence in the middle--so you would have to turn two pages of a picture before you got to the rest of the sentence you were reading. Hmm. Interesting choice). This is another book sale reject, which is why I was reading it. Despite my criticisms, I did mark three pages!
"Perhaps someday we will be able to read something over which a real person has not sweated and sworn; perhaps we will find out precisely what the thing lacks that only effort can confer. Is it soul? Passion? Vivid reality? If I had to guess, I would say it would be all three."
About young people thinking about parenthood:
"You will convince yourself that you will be a better parent than your parents and their parents have been. But being a good parent is not generational, it is deeply personal, and it comes down to this: If you can bring to your children the self that you truly are as opposed to some amalgam...you will be able to teach them by example not to be terrorized by the narrow and parsimonious expectations of the world, a world that often likes to color within the lines when a spray of paint, a scribble of crayon, would be much more satisfying."
After something bad has happened or some failure:
"Sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. you will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be."