Summary and book reviews of Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen

Black and Blue

by Anna Quindlen

Black and Blue
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  • First Published:
    Feb 1998, 293 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 1999, 396 pages

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Book Summary

With this stunning novel about a woman and a marriage that begins in passion and becomes violent, Anna Quinlen moves to a new dimension as a writer of superb fiction.

With this stunning novel about a woman and a marriage that begins in passion and becomes violent, the Pulitzer Prize--winning journalist and bestselling author of One True Thing and Object Lessons moves to a new dimension as a writer of superb fiction. "If literature were judged solely by its ability to elicit strong emotions," Kirkus Reviews said about One True Thing, "columnist-cum-novelist Quindlen would win another Pulitzer." And the same will be said about Black and Blue, a brilliant novel of suspense, substance, and importance.

In Black and Blue, Fran Benedetto tells a spellbinding story: how at nineteen she fell in love with Bobby Benedetto, how their passionate marriage became a nightmare, why she stayed, and what happened on the night she finally decided to run away with her ten-year-old son and start a new life under a new name. Living in fear in Florida--yet with increasing confidence, freedom, and hope--Fran unravels the complex threads of family, identity, and desire that shape a woman's life, even as she begins to create a new one. As Fran starts to heal from the pain of the past, she almost believes she has escaped it--that Bobby Benedetto will not find her and again provoke the complex combustion between them of attraction and destruction, lust and love.

Black and Blue is a beautifully written, heart-stopping story in which Anna Quindlen writes with power, wisdom, and humor about the real lives of men and women, the varieties of people and love, the bonds between mother and child, the solace of family and friendship, the inexplicable feelings between people who are passionately connected in ways they don't understand. It is a remarkable work of fiction by the writer whom Alice Hoffman has called "a national treasure."

The first time my husband hit me I was nineteen years old.

One sentence and I'm lost. One sentence and I can hear his voice in my head, that butterscotch-syrup voice that made goose bumps rise on my arms when I was young, that turned all of my skin warm and alive with a sibilant S, the drawling vowels, its shocking fricatives. It always sounded like a whisper, the way he talked, the intimacy of it, the way the words seemed to go into your guts, your head, your heart. "Geez, Bob," one of the guys would say, "you should have been a radio announcer. You should have done those voice-over things for commercials." It was like a genie, wafting purple and smoky from the lamp, Bobby's voice, or perfume when you took the glass stopper out of the bottle.

I remember going to court once when Bobby was a witness in a case. It was eleven, maybe twelve years ago, before Robert was born, before my collarbone was broken, and my ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times Book Review

Perhaps Quindlen intended to use Black and Blue as a way to dramatize the gravity of domestic violence; unfortunately, the novel is nowhere near as convincing as the news reports all of us have seen on television. But it does keep the reader anxiously turning pages.

The New York Times Book Review

Perhaps Quindlen intended to use Black and Blue as a way to dramatize the gravity of domestic violence; unfortunately, the novel is nowhere near as convincing as the news reports all of us have seen on television. But it does keep the reader anxiously turning pages.

The Washington Post Book World

Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family.

Time

In Anna Quindlen's third novel, Black and Blue, the former New York Times columnist has caught the evil essence. If its moment should prove to be right (a long shot, to be sure), the novel is good enough to become to domestic violence what Uncle Tom's Cabin was to slavery - a morally crystallizing act of propaganda that works because it has the ring of truth.

People

...Anna Quindlen demonstrates the same winning qualities that inform her journalism close observation, well-reasoned argument and appealing economy of language.... this portrait of a battered woman is intimate and illuminating and, as is true of most anything Quindlen writes, well worth the read.

The Washington Post Book World

Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family.

Time

In Anna Quindlen's third novel, Black and Blue, the former New York Times columnist has caught the evil essence. If its moment should prove to be right (a long shot, to be sure), the novel is good enough to become to domestic violence what Uncle Tom's Cabin was to slavery - a morally crystallizing act of propaganda that works because it has the ring of truth.

People

...Anna Quindlen demonstrates the same winning qualities that inform her journalism close observation, well-reasoned argument and appealing economy of language.... this portrait of a battered woman is intimate and illuminating and, as is true of most anything Quindlen writes, well worth the read.

Kirkus Reviews

Quindlen writes about women as they really are, neither helpless victims nor angry polemicists, but intelligent human beings struggling to do what's right for those they love and for themselves. A book to read and savor.

Reader Reviews

Julia Good

Taken Back
I love this story. It brings back a lot of terrible memories from my previous marriage such as the abuse (physically and mentally) that I endured.

annonymous

I ADORE THIS BOOK
I love this novel so much. I was kinda forced to read it for school but I fell in love with it. I read it in one day and I could not put it down. LOL. It balances fear, happiness, hatred and love and yet somehow, you end up in tears... I love it

Brie

Black and Blue Book Review
Brooklyn, New York: drugs, theft, vandalism, the work of the valiant Brooklyn P.D. keeping the city safe from all the dangers. But what if one of the heroic officers has a secret of his own and no one knows except for his wife and his son? Friends ...   Read More

unknown

black and blue
I really enjoyed this book. This book really showed me that relationships are not all lovey dovey there are some women out there that experience abuse and just can't find a way to leave that kind of life style. They are afraid to do anything because...   Read More

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