The Usual Rules

The Usual Rules

Joyce Maynard / Nov 19, 2019

The Usual Rules It s a Tuesday morning in Brooklyn a perfect September day Wendy is heading to school eager to make plans with her best friend worried about how she looks mad at her mother for not letting her visi

  • Title: The Usual Rules
  • Author: Joyce Maynard
  • ISBN: 9780312283698
  • Page: 184
  • Format: Paperback
  • It s a Tuesday morning in Brooklyn a perfect September day Wendy is heading to school, eager to make plans with her best friend, worried about how she looks, mad at her mother for not letting her visit her father in California, impatient with her little brother and with the almost too loving concern of her jazz musician stepfather She s out the door to catch the bus AnIt s a Tuesday morning in Brooklyn a perfect September day Wendy is heading to school, eager to make plans with her best friend, worried about how she looks, mad at her mother for not letting her visit her father in California, impatient with her little brother and with the almost too loving concern of her jazz musician stepfather She s out the door to catch the bus 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 or less on her own in a one room apartment with a TV set and not much else Wendy s new circle now includes her father s cactus grower girlfriend, newly reconnected with the son she gave up for adoption twenty years before a sad and tender bookstore owner who introduces her to the voice of Anne Frank and to his autistic son and a homeless skateboarder, on a mission to find his long lost brother.Over the winter and spring that follow, Wendy moves between the alternately painful and reassuring memories of her mother and the revelations that come with growing to know her real father for the first time 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 This is a story about the ties of siblings, about children who lose their parents, parents who lose their children, and the unexpected ways they sometimes find one another again 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.

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      Published :2019-08-09T07:43:09+00:00

    About "Joyce Maynard"

      • Joyce Maynard

        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 Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose Domestic Affairs column appeared in than fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR Her writing has also been published in national magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine Newsweek The New York Times Magazine Forbes Salon San Francisco Magazine, USA Weekly and many She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Charlie Rose, and on Fresh Air Essays of hers appear in numerous collections She has been a fellow at Yaddo, UCross, and The MacDowell Colony, where she wrote her most recently published novel, Labor Day.The author of many books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel To Die For in which she also plays the role of Nicole Kidman s attorney and the bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, Maynard makes her home in Mill Valley, California Her novel, The Usual Rules a story about surviving loss has been a favorite of book club audiences of all ages, and was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the ten best books for young readers for 2003.Joyce Maynard also runs the Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop in Guatemala, founded in 2002.


    1. Joyce Maynard is the type of lady I’d love to live next door to. I love her stories. I could grab some kitchen tips, life tips and talk books! I’d love that. This is the second novel of hers that I have come across. The first one being Labor Day. From this you can just tell she’s a baker, always mentioning passionate food stories in both. I chose this one as I wrote to her, and she suggested this one. Just happened to have this on my shelf, thanks to my love of second hand book shopping. T [...]

    2. I loved The Usual Rules. I didn't even guess it was a YA novel until I read it somewhere. The novel tells the story of 13-year-old Wendy who lives in Brooklyn with her mother, step-father, and brother, Louie. It also tells one story of the many from 9/11.Maynard's writing is addictive. Her rendering of 9/11 (a time as a then-Manhattanite I remember vividly) is outstanding. It brought me right back to that day. And her portrait of a 13-year-old going through a tragedy felt very real. Wendy is exp [...]

    3. On a sparkling September morning, "Grace", the daughter of my dear friend of many years, joyfully boarded an airplane at Logan Airport in Boston. She was anticipating a trip to California before embarking on a new, exciting phase of her life. Her flight never reached its destination. It senselessly, inconceivably, madly struck the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City. "Grace" was 32 years old. It was September 11, 2001, the day which deeply affected everyone. But what about those who lost l [...]

    4. 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. The same with books, and this is one of them for me. Some laughs here--just when you need them. A huge lot of emotional involvement. This was my sixth reading of The Usual Rules.Joyce Maynard depicts every character, major or minor, with insight and sensitivity. Descriptions, conversations, and narration are consistent [...]

    5. If the Usual Rules is anything to go by then Joyce Maynard is my kind of author. This moving and heartfelt novel had me tearing up at various times throughout the story. Through Wendy a 13 yr old girl we live through the torture of not knowing the whereabouts of her Mum who was working in the Twin Towers on 9/11. We experienced the gradual and reluctant acceptance that her Mum really would not be coming home. Ever. The Usual Rules takes the reader on the heartbreaking journey through denial, ang [...]

    6. Once I got used to the lack of quotation marks, I liked this book. The first part, which focused on thirteen year-old Wendy's grief over the loss of her mother in the World Trade Center on September 11, drew me in immediately. I especially liked the chapter in which she finds herself attending the funeral of a firefighter she didn't even know. 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. None [...]

    7. Is it only me?? 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?Yes, yes, it's sad. Yes, yes, tragic in fact. To be honest, my mother died 30 days ago (on January 4, 2014), so I am well aware of grief and mothers dying. I am not heartless.But I was so very annoyed and frustrated when Wendy left her wonderful step-father and 4-year-old brother to go [...]

    8. This is a Young Adults novel, which I didn't realize when I bought it, but I decided to give it a shot--and I'm glad I did. Unlke other books I've read whose main character is a young person--in this case a thirteen-year-old girl--I found Wendy to be entirely believable, and I really sympathized with her struggles and uncertainties. All of the characters were flawed but in normal, easy-to-relate-to ways, and there was an equal ammount of nobility to them. Just like real life! I especially liked [...]

    9. J'ai adoré la première partie mais j'ai souffert énormément de la seconde où Wendy part chez son père. Trop de longueurs et de digressions.

    10. This was a really rare experience for me. I started this book thinking I would hate it and had a whole nasty rant brewing in my mind (serving as my main incentive for continuing) that went along the lines of 9/11 being the new Holocaust as far as guaranteeing a high GR rating even when the writing is abysmal, and then somewhere along the way this elementary level novel turned on me, in a good way, and I finished it feeling rather in awe.TUR is about a young girl named Wendy who, on an otherwise [...]

    11. This book was pretty depressing and hard to cope with sometimes. My heart broke for the family multiple times and it was very hard to finish. In the end I was glad I did, but be warned, it was a tough read.It's about a family (mom, dad, sister, and brother) whose lives were turned upside down on September 11th. The story is told from the perspective of 13 year old Wendy, who's struggling to come to terms with her teenage years. Her parents were divorced when she was younger and her mother has si [...]

    12. Like most Americans, I remembrt where I was on 9/11 and during the aftermath that followed. I shed many tears and said prayers for the victims and their families, the survivors. While I may have wondered, over the weeks and months that followed, how the survivors were coping, the feelings were absract, in general, relating to no one in particular. Maynard's story of Wendy and her family struck such a serve. My heart just broke for this child and her family. I find it difficult to believe these c [...]

    13. I have never read a book was that amazing from the introduction to the acknowledgments. I remember where I was on September 11, 2001 I was walking out of my dorm, on my way to classes and I noticed people all around me were either crying or screaming looking at the television. I live in the South so even though we were in no immediate threat of danger, the air felt tense and still. I remember someone calling my cell phone saying they bombed the towers and I was like what towers? I was so clueles [...]

    14. Wendy is a 13 year old girl living with her mom, step dad & 4 year old brother Lewis. On 9/11 her mother never game home from her job in the twin towers. Her real Dad lives in California, but she rarely sees her real dad, only when he pops in unannounced. This sounds like a dismal story but its not. Wendy will pull at your heart, and you will root for her!! She goes to California where she meets and moves in with her "real" Dad, she becomes friends with a young woman, very young, who just ha [...]

    15. I am really enjoying this book. Even though the protagoniost is only 13, this author has a way of making adolescence resonate with adult readers. She did the same with her previous book that I enyoyed, Labor Day. In this one, the young girl in the center of the story loses her mom on September 11. She has a 4 year old brother as well, and this is the first 9/11 novel I've read that explores the issue from the point of view of the children affected. Very moving and gripping so far.Update: Bravo. [...]

    16. Since I don't read jacket covers, this book struck me like a brick when I realized it was set in Park Slope and deals with the day of and aftermath of a family who loses a member on 9/11/01. Nearly 10 years after the event, I was carried along with the author as she describes the insanity and the ordinary of that day and the days and months that follow. Narrated by a 13 year old girl, who is reading A Diary of Anne Frank in school when the World Trade Centers are struck, she takes us on an amazi [...]

    17. A painful but well-written novel from the viewpoint of a 13-yr-old girl whose mother was killed during the attack on 9/11. I felt there was an over abundance of sub-plots, as the author tried to cover all bases by including every issue from blended families to autism to awakening adolescent sexuality to teenage motherhood to an adopted child finding and rejecting his birth-mother, etc. However, as I said, this book was very well-written and provided a credible portrayal of the profound grief tha [...]

    18. Outstanding. This is the only fiction novel I know of that has dared to tackle the issue of the September 11 attacks. Joyce Maynard has written a provacotive and surprisingly uplifting story of a thirteen-year-old girl who loses her mother on that awful day. The aftermath of her mother's death leads to chain of events that both strengthens and changes her life forever. Not only does this novel do the victims and their families justice it ranks high among the classic coming of age stories. Highly [...]

    19. A young girl deals with losing her mother on 9/11. She not only has to cope with the loss, anger, grief and confusion but also with sorting out the whole concept of family. Told from the view of the 13 year old girl, the book doesn't go into long passages of self discover, which is good. Instead we accompany Wendy as she figures out how to get through the days and keep on living. Sometimes she seems to have more street smarts than a 13 year old should, but generally it is believable and an enjoy [...]

    20. This is a YA book, but I really loved it. Would recommend it highly to my (girl) students! You just keep wanting to turn the page. Maynard has such true and lovely insights into so many topics. This is a hard subject to read about though -- a girl who loses her mother in the World Trade Center.

    21. This book is told from the perspective of 13-year-old Wendy, whose mother dies in 9/11. Not only is the narrative voice believable, but the depiction of grief is realistic and extremely well done. In addition to her own mourning, Wendy has a lot to deal with, like figuring out who she is and what she wants. Her journey is heartbreaking yet a testament to the power of the human spirit.

    22. Her life as she knows it is gone forever when 13-year-old Wendy hears the news that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center, her mother's workplace. Wow! Since I remember that day very well, this book really bought it home again.

    23. The Usual Rules is an emotional and insightful novel about the effects of the events of September 11th on the families and friends of the victims—those left behind.The reader learns about the close relationship between 13-year-old Wendy and her mother through flashbacks: her mother's divorce, the sporadic visits of her father, her mother's marriage to her "other dad," and the birth of her half-brother. And then her mother goes to work at her job at the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001—and doe [...]

    24. Wendy a 13 ans et vit à New York avec sa mère Janet, son beau-père Josh et son petit-frère de 4 ans, Louie. Les relations entre l’adolescente et sa mère sont souvent tendues. Ce matin du 11 septembre 2001, Wendy part de la maison sans même dire au revoir à sa mère. Quand les élèves apprennent la nouvelle des attentats, ils doivent attendre dans l’établissement qu’un parent vienne les chercher. Un sentiment sourd monte en Wendy. Sa mère travaille dans l’un des Twin Towers. Alo [...]

    25. Warning: This review contains spoilers.The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard is a pretty amazing novel, deep and emotionally gritty.Wendy is a 13 year old girl living with her mother Janet, her mother's second husband, Josh, and her half-brother, 4 year old Louie in New York City in the fall of 2001. When her mother is killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, her life spins out of control. Although her conflicts with her mother had led to her saying some pretty cruel things, now all [...]

    26. 4.6/5 Now that I've read seven books by Joyce Maynard, one thing is true - she is a premier storyteller, reliably engaging the reader as if the page was just a window to witness the lives of others. The characters are so well-developed, they almost walk into the room when you're reading; and like a loyal friend, the quality of Maynard's writing never disappoints. This book, published in 2003, follows the teenage angst of Wendy, a daughter of divorce, whose mother goes to work at the World Trade [...]

    27. Young Adult fiction that tackles some really tough subject matter this book was relatable in many ways. Wendy is a young girl who struggles with not only losing her Mom in the 9/11 NY terrorist attack but also everything that happens as a result. My recommendation is that this story is best for mature 13 year olds & older. It was difficult to stay away from this story because I would find myself being lured back to Wendy and her story.

    28. Ce livre est une merveille. Il fait définitivement parti de mes romans préférés. L'histoire est toute simple : comment on se remet de la mort brutale d'un proche. Mais les personnages sont décrits avec une telle finesse, c'est impossible de ne pas s'accrocher. On a l'impression de les connaître, de pouvoir les croiser dans la rue. J'ai adoré le cheminement de l'héroïne Wendy. Et toutes les références à la fois cinématographie, culturelles, musicales. Bref tout. À lire absolument.

    29. Wendy a 13 ans et elle vit à Brooklyn.Dans une famille recomposée, avec sa mère, son nouveau compagnon Josh (qui l'élève depuis des années et l'aime comme sa propre fille) et leur fils Louie, son petit frère qu'elle adore et qui le lui rend bien.Et survient le 11 septembre 2001. Sa mère ne reviendra pas du travail.Une lecture intense et douce en même temps. Wendy, pour survivre et faire son deuil, va faire des choix (ou s'en faire plus ou moins imposer certains) qui peuvent paraître in [...]

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