Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

A fun story for everyone who is or will soon be a grandmother.  A fun book for a book club to discuss. As always Anna Quindlen doesn’t disappoint with her writing.
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I have been a fan of Anna Quindlen since I first picked up a copy of BLACK AND BLUE in 1998. I have devoured all her books and have found that many times I can really relate to the subject matter as we seem to be on the same path in our journey. LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE resonated with me and I read many of the pages over and over again as almost a manual to life.

My expectations were high when I picked up NANAVILLE; not only were my expectations met, they were exceeded.  I am a Nana and Ms. Quindlen said so much of what I think, feel and want to shout from the mountain top on one of the best phases of my life.

I plan to gift every new Nana I know with this amazing book.  I cannot shout it praises enough.  I have shared more quotes from this book with Nana friends than any other book I have read.
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Loved the thoughts on grandparenting. Actually, many interesting facts regarding grandparents through the years. Anna Quindlen intersperses the 'facts' with sections titled 'Small Moments' This is an easy and enjoyable read. A definite gift for new grandparents, but also for 'experienced grandparents'.
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Anna Quindlen offers humor, thoughtful and emotional reflections of becoming a first time grandmother her new book, “Nanaville”. As a future first time grandmother, this book was both timely and appreciated. The transition from being a decision making, hands-on mother to more of a support role as a grandmother is explored through a myriad of feelings. She writes, "Where I once led, I have to learn to follow." This is the main thought throughout the book as she goes through her daughter-in-law’s pregnancy, birth, and many activities with her new grandson. It is truly a heartwarming reflection of her insights of natural changes that occur as one becomes a grandparent. Quindlen books always explore interactions between family members and friends and fans of her other books will not be disappointed. It was a true pleasure to read.
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When I learned that Anna Quindlen was coming out with “Nanaville” I knew I just had to read it!  I used to follow her columns in both The Times and Newsweek as well as reading her collections “Out Loud” and her novels.  AND... I’m a nana!   I really enjoyed this book and found so many things that resonated with me.  The joy of hearing your grandchildren say “nana” is the best!    This author had me smiling and thinking and nodding my head in agreement.
So, if you are a Nana, Grandma, Nona, even Poppy or Grandpa (insert any name!) this is a must read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for permitting me to read this very enjoyable book.
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As a grandparent of thirteen, I adored this book. Every grandparent will recognize or relate to something in this book. Told in such a natural voice that I felt she was next to me and we were discussing Parenthood and how being a grandparent is even more special. Their is humor, lessons learned, experiences related, and how wonderful and special is the bond between her and her grandson. In fact, many of my favorite episodes in this book is when she is alone taking care of her grandson, or just spending time with him. Her wonder at this amazing little person shines through out.

"At a certain point you realize there's a higher level of agreement about grandchildren than there is about the benefits of democracy, or chocolate."

"A big part of our grandparent job is expressing ecstatic appreciation for everything from urination to reflexes. We must always silence the irritated voice of adult competency. Okay, I get it you drew a 3. But, honestly, a 3 isn't that hard."

"Because that's one of the really important things about books, that they enable you to talk to your children about all sorts of things, sometimes without speaking at all."
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Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House and Anna Quindlen for the opportunity to read her latest book - all about grand parenting.  And what a gem of a book it is - this is now the first gift I will buy when I hear that someone is becoming a parent for the first time.

Short essays all about becoming a grandparent with Quindlen's signature humor, truth and beautiful writing.  This will make you laugh, cry and be grateful for life's journeys.

Anna Quindlen is a must read for me.  I am so thrilled because I'm heading out the door to listen to Anna Quindlen talk about this book at Skidmore College.

5 star, highly recommended read!
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As a longtime Anna Quindlen fan, I was excited to see that she had a new book out that addressed a common interest. the book is Nanaville, based on her new personal title, earned when her son had a child named Arthur. I leave my preference for the title “Grandma” that I earned when my children had children for another writing. As she often does in her writings, Anna honestly addresses what is happening in her life and leaves her readers relating her experiences to their own. A few quotes give examples. 

She begins with, “This is how it always begins: with an exclamation, a phone call, perhaps even the sound from the next room of a thread querulous cry, an inaugural announcement. World. I am born,” taking her reader to their own remembrance of the birth of a child or grandchild.  

Throughout her account she addresses the difference between being a mother and being a grandmother, “Mothers know the day-to-day; nanas wonder between times of togetherness. It’s one difference, but there are many.” She also tackles the need to notice that the grandmother is no longer the responsible decision maker. “When he was inconsolable, I wanted to take Arthur to the basement. In other words, I wanted to take hold, to act, to do something. But as a grandmother and not the mother, I have to temper that.” She speaks to the importance from the beginning to know one’s place and ask if it’s okay to pick up the baby that will lay a precedent for being part of the child’s program into toddler and teenage ages. She emphasizes that an important part of being a grandmother is that thing that mothers found most challenging as their own children grew up, knowing when to hang back. Intertwined with the advice is the joy of the grandmother saying, “Let me help,” and being allowed to do just that. 

Threaded into her narrative are “Small moments” in which she recounts her own special times and their revelations. Perhaps her most important suggestion for grandparents is learning to ask themselves the question before offering advice, “Did they ask you?” It’s a book for grandmothers, but also for those who are dealing with grandmothers with understanding that goes both ways.
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What a wonderful book. She could write anything and I'd read it but this resonated with me. Very well written and cute too!]
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“Sometimes Arthur sees me and yells “Nana!’ in the same way some people might say “ ice cream!” and others might say “Shoe Sale!” No one else has sounded this happy to see me in many, many years.”

“Mama means Mama, Daddy means Daddy. But Nana might just be a piece of fruit (i.e. banana)”. 

Well, if that didn’t put me in my place I don’t know what will, lol.

And this, my friends, is the yin and the yang, and perfectly sums up what it means to be a resident of Nanaville.

I’m a proud Nana. Our son and daughter-in-law have made my husband and myself the proud grandparents of 3: a 3 year old and 5 month old twins. The love I have for these children and what I wouldn’t do for them knows no bounds. It’s an indescribable love that surpasses all understanding. So when one of my favorite authors, Anna Quindlen, wrote a book on the subject I was first in line. 

Her best advice to give a grandmother (or grandfather): butt out. It can all go so very wrong for this generation of helicopter parents who are now grandparents. The impulses are powerful, but must be curbed.

A major question all grandparents need to ask before opening their mouths:
Did they ask for your opinion?

I had to laugh at the daughter who gave her mother a 3 page single-spaced word doc before letting her babysit. Haha…been there done that 🙋🏻‍♀️ Suck it up Grandma, it’s all about spending time with the grandchild. Never mind that you have successfully kept your babies alive and they are now fully functioning adults. Your unsolicited advice will be perceived as judgment and criticism, so be quiet.

The two commandments of Nanaville:
1.	Love the grandchildren
2.	Hold your tongue
“Nana judgement must be employed judiciously, and exercised carefully. Be warned: “those who make their opinions sound like the Ten Commandments see their grandchildren only on major holidays and in photographs.“

There’s no relationship on earth like that of a grandparent and child. It is true unconditional love and one that benefits both the grandparent and the child. if the roles are recognized and the boundaries observed, there’s nothing on earth quite like it.

“In Nanaville, there is always in the back of my mind the understanding that I am building a memory out of spare parts and that, someday, that memory will be all that’s left of me.”


On the love a grandparent has:
“I am much more capable of seeing him purely as himself than I ever was with his father (the author’s son)”

It’s about being our best, to be our best selves around our grandchildren. It’s not about what you have to do but about what you want to do. What you want to do out of pure unconditional love. 

I myself wouldn’t want to live anywhere else on earth but Nanaville. It's truly the happiest place on Earth. This book is a love letter to grandparents and grandchildren everywhere. I am not nearly as eloquent as Anna Quindlen and I'm ever so grateful she has put into words what I feel in my heart.
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I waited several years to become a grandmother,  and it is likely that one is the only one I'm going to get. And that is fine. 
I LOVED this wise, wonderful, witty book. Quindlen is a noted Pulitzer prize winner. But she is also "just" a mom and a grandmother.  No different than the rest of us.
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This book has some great advice for grandparents. It is a great reminder of how the role of grandparents is different that the role of parents. As a memoir, it is certainly true to the author’s experience. Not everyone reading it will have the same wonderful relationship with their children or grandchildren.
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Highly intelligent and funny insights into grandparenting.  A must read for all new grandparents.  You will see yourself between the pages.  Somehow this kind of writing never gets tiresome.  Have fun with this book.
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Author Anna Quindlen is queen of all things warm and wise, and so it’s not surprising that her ode to grandmothering  hits just the right note.  I was lucky and read it free and early, thanks to Random House and Net Galley, but it would have been worth the purchase price had it come down to it. This friendly little book is available to the public now. 

Quindlen’s memoir can double as a primer for her peers that are new grandparents also, but that’s not where its greatest strength is found. The most resonant aspect is that common chord, the eloquence with which she gives voice to our common experience. It makes me feel as if she and I are sitting together with our baby pictures—the grandbabies and our children that created them—and as she speaks, I am saying, “I know, right?” I chuckle as she recounts trends in the advice given by experts to new parents:  when our first babies were born, we were told to put them to bed on their stomachs so they wouldn’t spit up and choke to death on it; then later children slept on their sides, which seems like a safe bet either way, but babies don’t stay on their sides very long; and now babies are supposed to be safer on their backs. And she voices so well the pride we feel when an adult that we have parented turns into a wonderful parent in his own right. And I nod in agreement as she says of her toddler grandson, “No one else has sounded that happy to see me in many, many years.” 

Quindlen speaks well to the ambivalent moments as well, to the need to hold our tongues when we want to offer advice that hasn’t been requested; at the same time, there’s the relief that comes of not being in charge of all the big decisions.  And I echo the outrage that she feels when some ignorant asshole suggests that our biracial grandchild is not part of our blood and bones. (A jerk in Baby Gap wants to know where she got him; she replies that she found him at Whole Foods.)

Unequivocally joyful is the legacy grandchildren present. “I am building a memory out of spare parts…someday that memory will be all that’s left of me.” 

And then, there are the books: 

“’In the great green room…’
“’Mouse,’ Arthur says.
“’There is a mouse,’ I say…falling down the well of memory as I speak, other children, other chairs.”

Go ahead. Read it with dry eyes. I dare you. 

Quindlen is writing for her peers. If you aren’t a grandparent and don’t expect to become one anytime soon (or perhaps at all,) then this memoir will probably not be a magical experience for you. But the title and book jacket make it clear exactly where she is going, and I am delighted to go with her. 

Highly recommended to grandparents, and to those on the cusp.
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This is absolutely the gift to give for Mother’s Day to grandmothers—new ones, veteran ones.  It doesn’t matter because it is perfect gift.  Told with truth and humor, this is the story of Anna Quindlen becoming a grandmother for the first time.  She explores families with different nationalities and learning different languages.  She offers her sage advice about when to butt out and when to give your two cents worth.  This was a very fast read and enjoyable the entire time that I was reading.  The vignettes were humorous as well as realistic which make the book very readable and enjoyable.  I plan to purchase a hard copy for myself so that I can read it again and again when I need to remind myself of my true role as a “Nanna.”  Loved it!
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Anna Quindlen portrays the challenges of parenting the second time around through her personal experience as a first-time grandparent.   While she points out how the role of grandparents has evolved throughout the years, she also shows what a balancing act it has always been.  A grandparent often walks a fine line when it comes to how much support and advice the parents will welcome.  Soon-to-be grandparents will find this book to be an introduction to the world they are about to enter.  Those who are already immersed in grandparenting should be able to relate to many of the author's personal experiences.  Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review Nanaville.
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Anna Quindlen
April 23, 2019

Anna Quindlen is a prominent writer.  I have read many of  her books and enjoyed them.  When I saw that Nanaville was due to come out soon I was overjoyed to read it.  Her thoughts on becoming a first and second time grandmother were words of wisdom to me.  I felt many of the same thoughts as she, the first years of my granddaughter’s birth.  None of us want to be too ambitious in a relationship with our precious baby’s parents.  She reflected on those first months as a Nana, mistakes she made as well as ones she managed to struggle through.  Her grandson, Arthur is lucky to have such a wonderful grandmother.  The first six  months of his life, he and his parents moved in with Anna and her husband.  I would have loved having my son and his wife at home with us during Lucy’s first year but it would have been tough for all of us to have our own lives without being too presumptuous.  
Her theories in child development and rearing were a great insight to me.  Readers should definitely indulge in Nanaville, especially if you are a grandparent or about to be one.  Parents would enjoy this feature as well as, she talks of her relationship with her son and daughter-in-law and their feelings on the family as well.  
This book mirrors as its title implies, Adventures in Grandparenting.  
Nanaville by Anna Quindlen is published April 23, 2019.  I must thank Random House for allowing me to read the uncorrected proof via NetGalley.  A must read, enjoy.
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Anna entered her own, “Nanaville” with joy and love, thinking, “great, a do over.” (my words.)  She was over-the-moon to welcome her eldest son, Quin’s, and daughter-in-law, Lynn’s, first child into the family of waiting relatives.  As Anna explains, “First of all, let us acknowledge that, like virtually everything else they’ve done, the baby boomers tend to act as though they’ve invented grandparenting.” My answer to that would be, just as today’s parents think they invented parenting; which was never even a word when I grew up! Well, as we all know, we’re all wrong since it’s been done since mankind existed.
While Anna was adjusting to being a new Grandmother, this is to say trying to find those invisible borders of helping or intruding, she learned to bite her tongue and shove her hands in her pockets. She willingly admits this was difficult for her considering her personality is not usually in line with a quiet person. Her career as a journalist and writer leans toward speaking up. But there are new rules now, “I know you don’t want to consider this if you’re in the same position I am, and I keep hearing that there are people who pay the notion no mind, but we grandparents are secondary characters, supporting actors. We are not the leads. Mama. Daddy. These are the bedrock.”
Anna builds a trusting relationship with her daughter-in-law, Lynn, and tries to help her in any way she can; knowing new mothers have the physical conundrums to deal with other than a nursing infant. Sleep comes to mind, nutrition a fast second and perhaps a few minutes with her spouse. She does the same with her son, Quin, who once said he was never having kids, as many of us did in our mid-twenties, as she marvels at how loving and patient he’s become with his son, Arthur.
Best yet is the chapter on “NONO’s,” these are the women who are in denial of being grandmothers. “Which brings us to what I think of as the nono’s. These are the women who telegraph, at least privately to me, that they have mixed feelings about all this. The aging beauty who asked to be called ‘Glamma.’ A socialite who told me she’d invented the name Tootsie. ‘I’m happy to be a grandmother, but I don’t want to be a babysitter,’ another woman said. But for many of the nono’s, the issue is not time management but growing older. There is no question that whether you are forty or seventy, the simple fact of being a grandparent telegraphs aging.”
I could easily go on and quote so many funny and tender words from this fantastic book. I have always enjoyed anything Anna Quindlen has written, and this is no exception. Although we are the same age, graduated the same year from high schools less than 10 miles apart, she’s well ahead of me on grandparenting. (plus a few other things!)
I highly recommend this book whether you are in Nanaville, about to be in it, years from it…..oh whatever, read it, you’ll still enjoy yourself. 

Thank you NetGalley, Random House, and the great Anna Quindlen
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Anna Quindlen is proud to be a nana. This is a charming love letter to being a grandparent and a memoir of her early experience.

Arthur, her grandchild, has another set of grandparents who speak Mandarin. AQ and her husband took Mandarin lessons until their treasured tutor moved away. I admire their diligence in taking on this extra task. 

This is a gem of book. 

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an advance copy.
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What a great book! For a first time nana, I can relate to what the author writes about nanahood. It's a big change from being the mother, the one in charge, the one who says yes or not. Now relegated to the "may I" category takes some getting used to, but is so worth it.

If you remember what it was like to have others tell you how to raise your children when you were a first time parent, you can now understand what it was like for those who were told no or not now. What goes around... and all that.

Told with humor and sweet stories, I really enjoyed it. Thank you NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
ps Good gift for Mother's Day for new grandparents?
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