Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen

Book Review : Miller's Valley

By Anna Quindlen

  • Publication Date: 2016-04-05
  • Genre: Literary
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 197 Ratings)

Book Review

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In a small town on the verge of big change, a young woman unearths deep secrets about her family and unexpected truths about herself. Filled with insights that are the hallmark of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, Miller’s Valley is an emotionally powerful story about a family you will never forget.

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”

Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.

Praise for Miller's Valley

“Overwhelmingly moving . . . In this novel, where so much is about what vanishes, there is also a deep beating heart, of what also stays.”The New York Times Book Review 

“Stunning . . . The matriarchal theme [is] at the heart of Miller’s Valley. Miriam pushes her smart daughter to consider college, and other women—a teacher, a doctor, a benefactor—will raise Mimi up past the raging waters that swirl in her heart.”The Washington Post 

“Economical and yet elegant . . . [Anna Quindlen’s] storytelling and descriptive powers make Miller’s Valley compelling. . . . Miller’s Valley has a geography and fate all its own but its residents, realities, disappointments, joys and cycle of life feel familiar, in the best way possible.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A family story with humor, surprise, sorrow and mystery . . . Quindlen has created distinctive characters, none of whom seems like anyone you’ve met before in fiction.”—The Columbus Dispatch

“A breathtakingly moving look at a family.”—USA Today

“[Anna] Quindlen’s provocative novel will have you flipping through the pages of your own family history and memories even as you can’t stop reading about the Millers. . . . a coming-of-age story that reminds us that the past continues to wash over us even as we move away from the places and events that formed us.”Chicago Tribune

“Picking up a novel by Anna Quindlen means more than just meeting a new family—it’s like moving in and pretending they are yours. It’s a rare gift for a writer, and Quindlen does it to near perfection.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Quindlen’s novel of a childhood examined by someone who literally can’t go home again is an incredibly engaging read. . . . Miller’s Valley takes familiar themes and manages to make them fresh and new.”—Bust

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User Reviews

  • Excellent!

    By njmobile
    This book reminded of a similar situation that happened in the Land Between the Lakes years before I was born. I loved this story!
  • Slow paced novel!

    By Kris Anderson, The Avid Reader
    Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen is told from Mary Margaret’s (Mimi) point of view. Mimi is a young girl growing up in Miller’s Valley where the government wants to move everyone out the valley (where it floods the homes when it rains) and flood it creating a reservoir. We get to see how Mimi grew up, her family, and her home life (the book starts when she is eleven years old). Mimi’s Aunt Ruth lives in a cottage behind the main farmhouse. Aunt Ruth never leaves her cottage. She does not do cooking and expects meals to be brought to her. She also has to have someone do the shopping. Mimi’s mother, Miriam is a nurse and her father, Buddy runs the family farm. Her brother, Tommy goes off to fight in the Vietnam War and returns a different man. We get to see Mimi grow up in Miller’s Valley, live her life, go to school, get married, and then, ultimately, come back to Miller’s Valley. I thought Miller’s Valley would be more than the life of one girl growing up in a small town. I found Miller’s Valley to be boring. The story is told in the first-person perspective (which I really dislike). It was more like reading a diary than a novel. I had a very hard time staying awake to read it. There is no depth to the book. The book is simple and easy to read, but there is no spark. This book does not leave with any impression when you are done reading it (except glad it is over). I give Miller’s Valley 2.5 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of Miller’s Valley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the novel.
  • Miller's Valley

    By Tenth Avenue
    I am an avid reader and I have never written a review. But Miller's Valley touched upon so many emotions that I cried through the entire last chapter. I just have to share my opinion of this book. I didn't give it a full five stars because I thought (I don't want to give too much information away) that one sad incident in Mimi's life was not handled very well. But kudos to the author for bringing a flawed but colorful family into our hearts.
  • Wonderful!

    By ladybug 5252
    This is a beautifully written story. It grabbed me from the first page and I couldn't put it down. A must read!
  • I loved this book

    By Pthelp
    A coming of age tale of a young woman determined to become someone other than a small town girl, and to have a plan, instead of having life just happen to her.