I had in my care that summer four dogs, three cats, the Moran kids, Daisy, my eight-year-old cousin, and Flora, the toddler child of a local artist. There was also, for a while, a litter of wild rabbits, three of them, that had been left under our back steps . . .
Alice McDermott's haunting and enchanting new work of fiction -- her first since the bestselling Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award -- is narrated by a woman who was born beautiful. Her parents decided that her best chance in life was to marry a wealthy man, so she was raised on the east end of Long Island, among the country houses of the rich. On the cusp of fifteen, she is the town's most sought-after baby-sitter -- cheerful, beloved, a wonder with children and animals, but also a solitary soul with an already complex understanding of human nature -- when her favorite cousin, Daisy, comes to spend the summer.
The narrator's witty, piquant, deeply etched evocation of all that was really transpiring under the surface during that seemingly idyllic season gives her wry tale -- infused with suppressed passion, disappointment, and enduring hope -- its remarkable vividness and impact. Once again, Alice McDermott explores the mysterious depths of what seems like everyday life with unforgettable insight and resonant emotional power.
The New York Times Book Review
There is...something Jamesian about McDermott's style this novel's craftsmanship and its moral intelligence are as one.
There's a whisper of maudlin sentimentality throughout, but Theresa is so likable, and her observations so acute, that one easily forgives it.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
One of McDermott's many gifts is her ability to portray adults, the poor clowns, as seen through a child's or teenager's clear-sky eyes, an illuminating and unsettling feat she performs with tender wit and quiet soulfulness in her exquisite fifth novel....McDermott's gorgeous novel is laced with sly literary allusions and provocative insights into the enigma of sexual desire, the mutability of art, death's haunting presence, our need for fantasies, and the endless struggle to keep love pure.
Library Journal - Rachel Collins
Though some of the details about being a local in the Hamptons are slightly off the mark, McDermott's true-to-life evocation of the lazy, sun-soaked summers in such a heaven (albeit a troubled heaven) outweighs this deficit.
Though hobbled by a tendency toward sentimentality and self-consciousness, McDermott sculpts her small story with a meticulous eye for the telling detail and transcendent metaphor. We know what’s coming, but so do the characters--that’s part of this tale’s bittersweet power.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by jill carmel Child of my Heart It was a little odd for me since it was about sexual abuse. I won't recommend it for a teen. I think the man took advantage of the sitter. Otherwise it was well written and I enjoyed the rest of it but Charming Billy was her best so far.
Rated of 5
it has some akward situations and i'm not sure her decissions were the wisest but it was intreguing. recomended for mature teenagers- i doubt any other type of teens could truly understand the dept to that summer or the seriousness of Dasie's... Read More
Rated of 5
A lovely book. I am not sure that men would read it, however, it has some beautiful thoughts.
Rated of 5
by Bethie F.
I read "child of my Heart" for a book jacket in class, and I don't regret the fact that I chose to read it. I recommend "child of my Heart" to any teenager. the character for the book. Theresa keeps the readers interest, and... Read More
In this extraordinary first novel, a young girl tries to make sense of an unruly world spinning around her. Growing up with a single mother who is chronically out of work and dating a married man, Evelyn Bucknow learns early how to fend for herself.
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