Summary and book reviews of Blessings by Anna Quindlen

Blessings

by Anna Quindlen

Blessings
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2002, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2003, 240 pages

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Book Summary

A teenage couple drive up to the Blessings estate late at night, leaving a box behind them. The estate caretaker finds a baby asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep her; and matriarch Lydia Blessing, for her own reasons, decides to help him.

This powerful new novel by the bestselling author of Black and Blue, One True Thing, Object Lessons, and 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.

From Chapter One

In the early hours of June 24 a car pulled into a long macadam drive on Rolling Hills Road in the town of Mount Mason. The driver cut the engine, so that as the car rolled down the drive and into the oval turnaround between the back of the big white clapboard house and the garage, it made only a soft swishing sound, like the whisper of summer rain those first few moments after the dirty gray storm clouds open.

There were deer in the fields that surrounded the house, cropping the rye grass with their spotted fawns at their flanks. But the fields stretched so far from the drive on either side, and the deer kept so close to the tree line, that the does did not even raise their divot heads from the ground as the car slid past, although one or two stopped chewing, and the smallest of the babies edged toward their mothers, stepping delicately sideways, en pointe on their small hooves.

"I don't feel that good," said the young woman in the passenger seat, her hair ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Blessings is a title that holds a great deal of meaning for this book, as the name of the Blessings’ house, but also in the metaphysical sense of the word. Before reading the book, what did the title Blessings suggest to you? Did it create any expectations or shape the way you reflected on the book as you read? When you finished the book, what meaning did you take away from the title Blessings?

  2. The Washington Post has said of Anna Quindlen’s work, "Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family." Family seems to be connected to many of the fundamental and important themes of the novel. How might this tribute be applied to ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

St Louis Post-Dispatch

[A] richly imagined novel of the transforming power of love.

The Miami Herald

A polished gem of a novel...lovingly crafted, beautifully written.

Kirkus Reviews

....soap-opera-parable with old-fashioned contrivances: comfortable, not Quindlen's best.

Library Journal

Quindlen's talent for realistic dialog can't overcome the melodramatic plot and one-dimensional characters.

Booklist - Donna Seaman

Quindlen's lush descriptions of the splendor of the Blessing estate stand in evocative contrast to the rigidity of the upper-class mores that destroyed Lydia's and her brother's lives. Skip, too, is a victim of circumstances, but in spite of the injustices he's suffered, he is goodness incarnate and ultimately inspires all of Quindlen's compelling characters to embrace, not count, their blessings.

Publishers Weekly

While it skirts sentimentality by a hairbreadth, the narrative is old-fashioned in a positive way, telling a dramatic story through characters who develop and change, and testifying to the triumph of human decency when love is permitted to grow and flourish.

Reader Reviews

stef

i find it very hard to find a book that i like. it was so random that i when into chapters and bought this book for my grade 12 english ISU. i am very pleased with my selection, and i am very eager to start reading her other books.
I RATE "...   Read More

Crystalee

This book! This book started me reading full time again! It did start out a little slow, and I ended up putting it down for three weeks before picking it up again and really getting into it. To those of you discouraged by slow beginnings, I say- ...   Read More

Sally

For me this book was good but uncomfortable. Uncomfortable, because I can relate to Skip's charcter of striving and striving against petty and not-so petty frustrations of life and seeming to get ripped off again and again.
I think I've known someone...   Read More

dhhs student

It was a good book! A little confusing though. So many characters to remember! But none the less, It was deffinately worth reading!!
ENJOY!!

**DHHS FOOTBALL TIGERS #1 IN CT 2004**   Read More

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