One True Thing Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of One True Thing

Ellen, a successful magazine writer living in New York City, is happy with her job and her life. However, when Ellen's mother gets cancer and doesn't have long to live, Ellen's father asks Ellen to come home and care for her mother. When Ellen suggests hiring a nurse, Ellen's father tells her that she has no heart. Ellen moves back home to please her father. When her mother realizes she has moved back home, she is horrified that Ellen gave up her job and her life to take care of her, and Ellen realizes her father didn't consult her mother about this. Ellen tells her mother that it's okay, even though she doesn't feel okay.
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Ellen finds her day-to-day life tedious. However, Ellen comes to realize that she is grateful she was able to spend time with her mother and get to know her better.

As Ellen watches her mother deteriorate and become full of despair, she wishes she could alleviate her mother's pain and suffering, but when her mother pleads with Ellen to end it for her, Ellen cannot do it. Ironically, the autopsy of Ellen's mother shows a fatal overdose of morphine. Ellen is taken to the police station and questioned, then arrested. Ellen thinks her father gave her mother the fatal dose, but Ellen never mentions this to anyone.
The review of this Book prepared by Crystal

Chapter Analysis of One True Thing

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   Mother because he/she is    -   physically ill Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Anna Quindlen Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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