Saturday, February 17, 2007

Book review: Blessings by Anna Quindlen

Book jacket
Blessings juxtaposes the lives of its two main characters: Lydia Blessing, an elderly socialite whose flashbacks reveal her inadequacies as a mother, and a young man recently released from prison, Skip Cuddy, whose regrets about his past have brought him to work as a handyman on the Blessing estate. Lydia and Skip become engrossed in the life of a third person – a newborn baby who is abandoned at the estate-house and found by Skip. Without much deliberation, Skip takes the baby, hides her from Mrs. Blessing, and cares for her as his own. The story quickens when Mrs. Blessing discovers Skip’s secret.

Blessings explores first the relationship between the forlorn man and baby, both abandoned by society and their families, and second between Mrs. Blessing and what will become her pseudo-adopted family. Each finds in the others resolution or redemption for his or her respective pasts: the baby finds a devoted father in Skip, Skip empties all his pent-up affection onto the baby, and Mrs. Blessing becomes the mother she never was to her own daughter. This story, however, has several turns that leave the reader to question Mrs. Blessing’s transformation, Skip’s decisions, and what it means to be family

Reviewed by Kelsey
Central Library

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