Anna Quindlen talks about her new memoir 'Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake'
Quindlen Krovatin (who happens to be her son) chats with the author about the book and the history behind it.
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AQ: [Laughs] Definitely the Ghostbusters cake. Because I had to get Slimer in there in addition to the logo with that ghost in the red circle.
BNR: But who first asked not to have an elaborate cake?
AQ: You did. I remember one year I asked what you wanted on your cake. And I would always ask with trepidation because Maria would say something like, I want Belle dancing with the Beast in a ballroom with Lumiere holding a candelabra, and my heart would sink. But I asked you what you wanted on your cake, and you said you didn't want anything, and that felt like the beginning of maturity.
BNR: How tough is that as a mother, those kind of moments? Is it bittersweet or a feeling of relief or…
AQ: It's hard. Less hard when you have more than one child. Knowing that Christopher was still going to ask for vampires on his cake was some solace. Also, if you don't get mired in the moment, there's this incredible kick you get when you realize that your kid is becoming an adult. That they have really interesting opinions about books you've both read. That they have interesting insights into human behavior, even your own behavior, that hadn't occurred to you before. Unless you get too invested in power and control, that notion that your son or daughter is becoming an adult is thrilling.
BNR: Now Mother's Day is coming up soon...
AQ: What day is Mother's Day?
AQ: You have no idea!
BNR: No, no. I do. I think I do. May 12th?
AQ: May 13th. I actually have to fly to Traverse City, Michigan that day to do a gig for this book tour. And I'm trying to get them to change the travel itinerary so we can at least have brunch that morning.
BNR: Because it's one of the definitive Public and Private columns, right? "The Days of Gilded Rigatoni". When you were away for Mother's Day.
BNR: Now, just a little background, you were on book tour?
AQ: I was on book tour, and it didn't occur to me until the schedule was locked in that I would be spending Mother's Day in a hotel room in Seattle.
BNR: And it was upsetting for you.
AQ: Very upsetting. No mother should be eating a room service breakfast on Mother's Day.
BNR: Well, at least you got to eat all of the breakfast.
AQ: I got to eat all of the breakfast, and I got a column out of it. But I would have preferred to spend it with you guys. Even if that meant you ate all of the bacon before I even picked up my fork.
Quindlen Krovatin is an editor at The Barnes & Noble Review. He previously worked as a reporter in the Beijing Bureau of Newsweek Magazine. He loves his Mom and promises to get her something nice for Mother's Day.