This powerful new novel by the best selling author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life begins when a teenage couple drives up, late at night, headlights out, to Blessings, the estate owned by Lydia Blessing. They leave a box and drive away, and in this instant, the world of Blessings is changed forever.
Richly written, deeply moving, beautifully crafted, Blessings tells the story of Skip Cuddy, caretaker of the estate, who finds a baby asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep her, and of matriarch Lydia Blessing, who, for her own reasons, decides to help him. The secrets of the past, how they affect the decisions and lives of people in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community - these are at the center of this wonderful novel of love, redemption, and personal change by the writer about whom The Washington Post Book World said, "Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family."
©2002 Anna Quindlen; (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, a Division of Random House Inc.
"Immensely appealing." (Publishers Weekly)
"Quindlen writes with power and grace." (The Boston Globe)
"Written with intelligence, clarity and heartrending directness." (Newsday)
I had read or listened to other books by Anna Quindlen and loved them (One True Thing and Black and Blue). This was just boring. Half the book is flashbacks, and I never cared much about characters from the past. Even the modern story, which had my interest for a while, lot its momentum. In this story, a young man finds a baby in a basket and wants to raise it on his own. He befriends his boss, a strict 80 year-old. None of these characters were realistic to me, and so my heart was not broken, as happened with so many readers and listeners.
Although this book was a little slow, I did enjoy it. The story was interesting and the descriptions were beautiful. Enjoyed the narrator also. It was just a little slow with all of the memories of the past. I guess I was a little more interested in the present.
"Unique and touching"
Maybe partly due to the fact that I am currently a full-time dad, I found this novel especially touching... But in any case I think it is a great story and a wonderful audiobook.
"A book club favorite"
This was a bookclub choice and it was well received... often we choose more "complicated" reads than this story ~ however, upon discussing it, we discovered there were many layers to this story. We all felt we got to know the characters well but did disagree at times regarding their motivations and character perceptions. We had a great discussion which reflected that Quindlan managed to get us to care about the story and the characters in it.
I absolutely loved this book, definitely kept my attention. Although the plot was predictable the story-telling depicts vivid emotion of tragedy amidst an ordinary life.
"Luminous Descriptions and Wonderful Reading"
I been reflecting for several days about Blessings. Was it the excellent reader I enjoyed so much, or the insight on a life lived in a particular time, a particular style? I've pondered the remaining scent of an old house occupied by a woman at the end of her life - a house and grounds filled with memories and natural beauty. The story of this place and the story of how people, without regard to age, can learn and discover inner truths will linger in my mind. I savored Blessings, and enjoy the lingering thoughts of it, like the dust motes disturbed in the Blessings attic, and like the echo of the wildlife at the Blessings pond.
I exercised more this month just to keep listening!
"wonderful unfolding character study"
I'm not finished yet, but it's hard to stop listening.
"Big issues addressed in an unexpected way"
There was a peacefulness to the pace which I liked, perhaps it was the reader. The author dealt with the big issues of the day in a very quiet manner.
The difference between how young versus older people see life offered insights I have never considered. The constrained life path that the old woman, Lydia Blessing, felt obligated to take and how it affected her outlook was really interesting to me.
How sexuality was treated in different eras and its impact on people's lives was powerful and made me more aware of how restrictive it was in the past.
The book also addresses class prejudice in American society. We try to deny that classism runs rampant in our country but it is very real.
"Not so great"
I adore Anna Quindlen, both as a columnist, and from her fiction, which I have previously read. So, I had high expectations from this book, which wer not realized. It was certainly fine, and exposed some good ideas and characters, but was just not that compelling. I kept waiting for the big turn to occur, and it never did. Certainly readable enough, but just not that great.
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