The Usual Rules

The Usual Rules

by Joyce Maynard

An hour later comes the news: A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center--her mother's office building.Through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Wendy, we gain entrance to the world rarely shown by those who documented the events of that one terrible day: a family's slow and terrible realization that Wendy's mother has died, and their struggle to go on with their lives in the face of such a crushing loss.Absent for years, Wendy's real father shows up without warning.

He takes her back with him to California, where she re-invents her life: Wendy now lives more or on her own in a one-room apartment with a TV set and not much else.

Pulled between her old life in Brooklyn and a new one 3,000 miles away, our heroine is faced with a world where the usual rules no longer apply but eventually discovers a strength and capacity for compassion and survival that she never knew she possessed.At the core of the story is Wendy's deep connection with her little brother, back in New York, who is grieving the loss of their mother without her.

Set against the backdrop of global and personal tragedy, and written in a style alternately wry and heartbreaking, The Usual Rules is an unexpectedly hopeful story of healing and forgiveness that will offer readers, young and old alike, a picture of how, out of the rubble, a family rebuilds its life.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.99
  • Pages: 386
  • Publish Date: February 18th 2004 by St. Martin's Press
  • Isbn10: 0312283695
  • Isbn13: 9780312283698

Read the Book "The Usual Rules" Online

Joyce Maynard is the type of lady Id love to live next door to. I love her stories. The first one being Labor Day. From this you can just tell shes a baker, always mentioning passionate food stories in both. Just happened to have this on my shelf, thanks to my love of second hand book shopping. One of the reasons she writes a book like this she explains for a young girl with dreams of being a writer who lives life herself in an very uncertain part of the world. Not being able to say goodbye and tragic last moments of teenage angst being thrust upon her most beloved Mum. How does she cope without saying goodbye? Id love all my reading friends to read this sometime, this author just tells a story so honestly and in a really lovely way. Other funny throw away lines included Jennifer Lopez marrying again, Drew Barrymore divorcing (and has again since the book was printed, love my pop culture references!), and the owner of a small indi bookstore mentioning if Borders doesn't kill him maybe he's got a hope.

The novel tells the story of 13-year-old Wendy who lives in Brooklyn with her mother, step-father, and brother, Louie. As a whole, The Usual Rules is a moving portrait of love, loss, and survival. Her depiction of 4-year-old Louie, the youngest survivor in the family, is particularly moving and brought me to tears.

The entire story relives the experience of a thirteen year old girl, Wendy, whose mother went to her office in the WTC on 9/11 and never returned. Maynard has sensitively portrayed this young girl, her family and friends. She captured the essence of the spirited, lovely mother, the incomprehension of Wendy's 4 year old brother and the deep mourning and disbelief of her step-father. She found solace in *"Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" and Frankie in *"Member of the Wedding". *Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl The Member of the Wedding

Sometimes you go back to the same movie over and over again because you have become very emotionally involved in it, or you need the laughs it gives you, or for some other reason.

Am I the only one who's annoyed and want to shake Wendy, the 13-year-old main character who grieves the loss of her mother who dies in the twin towers on 9-11 within the first few pages of the book? But I was so very annoyed and frustrated when Wendy left her wonderful step-father and 4-year-old brother to go across the continent to live with her aimless birth father. Wendy had an ideal life with her mother and Josh, her step-father. Maybe Wendy needed a little slap when she yelled "I hate you!" at her parents. What I did like about this book was her feelings for her little brother (even tho she abandoned him) (Amy, QUIT!), and her best friend, and especially the sad owner of the book shop who she meets while she's playing hookey in California. (wow, I sound like an old lady!)

The Usual Rules takes the reader on the heartbreaking journey through denial, anger, grief and regret experienced by Wendy, by her step dad Josh and 4 year old brother Louie. In the wake of the world changing news that personally shattered their lives nothing feels right anymore. Through her exposure to these characters and displaying maturity beyond her years (in some ways and immaturity in others) she comes to learn more and more about herself and eventually manages to put her feelings about her own loved ones into perspective.

The second part, in which Wendy abandons her life in New York to live in California with her biological father, didn't quite measure up to the first.

I especially liked the little literary theme that ran through the book, as Wendy reads Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl, The Member of the Wedding, Lord of the Flies, The Butcher Boy, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Not only does this novel do the victims and their families justice it ranks high among the classic coming of age stories.

Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale.