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In 1985, NBC aired a miniseries based on Belva Plain's novel Evergreen. I know I watched it and loved it. I also know that I read most of the book and loved it but wasn't able to finish it. I can't quite remember the order of events of whether I saw the movie first or read the book first but I can tell you that the book made enough of an impression on me that I've been wanting to re-read and finally finish the book for the last twenty-three years.
After re-reading it I have come to two conclusions: I still love the book and I want to read more books by Belva Plain. The book follows Anna Friedman and her children and grandchildren. Mostly though it is the changing decades as Anna grows and changes from the turn of the century through a time almost contemporary with the book's publication date.
Anna starts off as a classic Mary Sue character but as the book progresses her perfect character begins to tarnish. It is then that she becomes an interesting protagonist. She struggles with Old World traditions and New World temptations. She lies to protect her family from her own transgressions. She is both affected by prejudice and is prejudiced herself. In other words, she a fairly well realized character.
Although I did manage to tear through the book in the course of a day and a half, I don't recommend reading the book this fast. it's two pages shy of seven hundred pages. When I had finished I needed a mental breather from reading; normally I can finish one book and immediately pick up another one.