Nanaville – Adventures in Grandparenting
BY COLLEEN SELL
As a long-time fan of Anna Quindlen-the bestselling author and Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist whose novels, memoirs, columns, and essays explore the real lives of American families-I looked forward to reading her new book, Nanavill e. As Gramma to seven grands, ages 10 to 30 years, and Gigi to two great-grands, ages three and five years, I expected to read experiences, thoughts, and emotions that resonated with me. And I did. I did not expect to learn anything new about grandparenting. But I did.
Nanaville is classic Quindlen: a compelling story filled with observations and opinions, laced with poignant and funny anecdotes and sprinkled with historical and socio logical context. In Nanaville, Quindlen also shares notes-to self that do double duty as messages-in-a-bottle to readers. I’ve opted not to cite any of those nuggets of wisdom here because it is far more enjoyable and impactful to discover them within Quindlen’s lively narrative and to decide for yourself which ones strike a chord.
Instead, I am sharing two passages that hit home with me. This one, early in the book:T
There are many thrilling things about being a grandmother-who knew it would be so satisfying at my age to put my right foot in, to take my right foot out, and to shake it all about?-but for me, one of the most thrilling is watching my eldest child be a first-rate parent.
And this passage, on the last page of the last chapter, where Quindlen imagines herself an octogenarian with adult grandchildren:
One of the differences between grandchildren and grand parents is that grandchildren think they have all the time in the world, and grandparents only wish they had.
I love them so, but it is an undemanding love. Through them, I found myself capable of that...In sixth grade one of them made a family tree, as so many sixth graders have before, and there I was, below the trunk, right at the roots. If I live another decade or so, I might be a great-grandmother, the tree grow ing, expanding, flowering. That would be something, wouldn’t It? That would really be something.
About the reviewer
Colleen Sell is a writer and editor whose career spans more than 30 years and encompasses the collaborative creation of more than 200 books and several magazines, including as the former editor-in-chief of GRAND.
You can contact Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org