December 13, 2019

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
1999 Dell Publishing Company (first published in 1998)
Finished in April 1999
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

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 19 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 10-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.

My Original Notes (1999):

If a book about spousal abuse can be good, this one was. Quindlen really put a face on the life of a battered woman without going into too many gory details. She focused more on the life after rather than the life during the abuse. She managed to make me understand why a woman would stay with her husband, in spite of the cruelty. I think the conclusion was a little too pat - too neat and tidy - but then again, I do like happy endings. And it was a perfect ending. I enjoy Quindlen's writing style and look forward to more of her books.

My Current Thoughts:

This may have been the second book of Quindlen's that I read in the late 90s. Little did I know she would become one of my favorite authors. I'm not sure I could reread this particular novel, though. 


  1. I remember being afraid that this book would be a difficult read. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, and that the author eventually became one of your favorite authors. I love her nonfiction, especially.

    1. Deb, I love her nonfiction, as well. I have an older book (title escapes me right now) that I keep saving for just the right moment. Thanks for the reminder.


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