A popular author and opinion columnist for the New York Times, she received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1992. Her published works of non-fiction include How Reading Changed My Life (1998) and A Short Guide to a Happy Life (2000).
She began her career in journalism with the New York Post. In the mid-1990s, she decided to abandon her newspaper writing career to become a full-time author of fiction; her novels from this period include One True Thing (1994) and Blessings (2002).
Her novel, Black and Blue, was adapted into a television miniseries.
She was born in Philadelphia to a family of mixed Italian and Irish descent. She married Gerald Krovatin; together, the couple had three children.
Her work, One True Thing, was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep.