Anna Quindlen captures the pulse of family interactions in a way that is realistic. The narrator can be acutely self-aware without seeming whining or disdainful. In "Every Last One," the story is narrated by Mary Beth Latham, mother of three. She has a faithful, stoic husband, her own business in gardening, and yet, this mom is feeling the slightest hints of emptiness, loneliness, as her children grow up and away.
The eldest, Ruby, is a writer. The twins, Alex and Max, are fraternal. They share very little except a room. Alex is the athlete; Max is the musician. Alex is popular; Max is on the fringes of his school's society. They are not exactly friends though they are brothers.
The book moves through family crisis and angst over Max's depression, Alex's cockiness, and Ruby's insistence that parents just chill when it comes to their personal life.