Black and Blue is the story of a woman who flees an abusive relationship, taking her son and attempting to disappear into residential Florida, all the while waiting for her husband, a New York cop, to find and hurt her The book is not Quindlen s best and while it is readable, and at less than 400 pages a manageable length, it feels like little than a Lifetime woman s movie in novel form I wouldn t recommend this book, especially in comparison to Quindlen s other work, although the lessons of what abuse is, how it happens, and how difficult it can be to escape are good ones to learn about, even in a fictional context.
Anna Quindlen is also the author of One True Thing, a book cum film about a daughter s experience with her mother s terminal cancer That book is good realistic, emotional but not maudlin, and challenging Black and Blue is merely an example of weak writing that reads like a made for TV movie It made its way into Oprah s book club but would never make it on to any of my must read lists Facing the realities of abuse is a good lesson to learn, and so the subject is worth reading about, but Quindlen s portrayal is less than realistic or compelling All of the checklist facts are there abuse leads to abuse, specifically carried from father to son some women are drawn to the type of men that are become abusers legal protection can be inadequate violence can lead to death So on, so forth The list of facts is there but the emotional context is filmsy, centers on children rather than personal strength and strange, powerless situations Even when she flees her husband, things seem to be done to the protagonist rather than done by her It s unfulfilling and disappointing to the reader and detracts from the whole text In fact, the interesting characters are mere foils and supporting roles like her new friends and romantic interest They seem to have personality and depth than the protagonist.
It will take less time and energy, and induce the same emotional response, to watch any one of the numerous women s TV daytime movies about the same subject Black and Blue is gripping only because you want to know if her husband will find her or not, and presents very few challenges, either in the writing or the ideas, to the reader It s readable and I was able to get through it, but it s still a poor example of literature and even of the lesson it attempts to teach Don t waste your time on this one There is so much out there worth reading spend your time on it.
If you have been lucky enough never to have been hit by a man, Anna Quindlen Black and Blue is written so that you can walk in a beaten woman s shoes No intelligent woman would ever stay with a man who hits her, right But love does many things to a person and intelligence is usually the first thing that goes No one argues that love and lust of a woman, such as the beautiful Helen, which poets have written about for centuries, could launch a thousand ships So why is it so amazing to think that a woman is courageous enough to think that if she is good enough, strong enough, loves him enough, that he will never hurt her again Women are caregivers by nature If they are in love with a man regardless of how twisted the love is she believes that she can fix him if she just gives him what he needs All she has to do is figure him out And fix him Or fix herself Somewhere along the line the problem switches from him to you It becomes easier to believe the problem lies at your own feet.
The lucky ones are the ones who finally wake up The ones who are strong enough to wake up before they die both inside and permanently Bruises heal Your soul can only take so many beatings before it dies There was only one line that I disagreed with Frannie mentioned that she was beginning to forget Bobby s voice within that first year She never would You never do You hear his voice calling for you in phrases that other people say when you least expect it It comes at you, and grabs you around your neck like quick moving fog It makes your skin tingle It haunts you in your sleep like a ghost whisper The slamming of the door from a strong, windy day still makes you jump and duck, before the next hit, kick, slap, and punch Once you learn those instincts, they never leave you It s like learning to ride a bicycle Some lessons are for life Anna is right about one big thing though You spend years covering up that you are in a violent relationship and then you spend the rest of life covering up that you were a battered woman No one wants that label I can talk about it to my husband sometimes in small patches I can talk about it to my guy friends detached as if it was some other woman However, I can t tell my girlfriends That s too shameful No one battered woman wants to see the pity and shame in another woman s eyes It is just another secret you learn to live with forever Some bruises never heal Maybe reading books like Black and Blue will help with the healing.
I first read this book when I was entering 9th grade, and it changed my life This may have been because of my age, but for me, Fran was a woman who did what I had never realized you could do she left a horrible situation to make her life better This book still inspires me, still makes me cry, and still gives me hope that no matter how bad something may get, you still have the power to help yourself I would recommend this book to anyone over 15 A resolution of mine for 2013 was to read books by authors new to me I have several favorite writers, and I concentrate much of my reading on their works I had heard of Anna Quindlen over the years, but had never read anything by her I picked up this paperback in a Goodwill store Even though I believed that it was primarily directed toward a female readership, I thought it sounded interesting and decided to buy and read it I retired after working twenty four years as a police dispatcher, so I am all too aware of the problems of domestic abuse I found Black and Blue to be an amazing work by an amazing writer Quindlen has done a tremendous job in showing the many and varied things that abused women endure The characters were very genuine and believable In fact, at times I had to remind myself that it was a novel I was reading I am so glad that I read this book, not just as a diversion from my usual novels and authors, but as a work which has reminded me anew what a terrible thing domestic abuse really is This book has been out for several years, but if you have never read it, I heartily recommend that you do.
I have to admit that I wasn t very surprised when I looked up this title on Internet Movie Database and saw that this book had been made into a movie Nor was I surprised that it was a made for TV movie And I m going to take a wild shot in the dark and say it was specifically made for Lifetime Television for Women Because everything about this book kept bringing up that whispery woman s voice as the narrator I kept hearing, Anna Quindlen A writer for women No joke.
But don t get me wrong The book was good Not life altering Not wonderful But a good read At moments quite stereotypical, other times very absorbing.
Anna Quindlen has written very well developed characters, and she clearly has an idea of what s going on Either she has experienced spousal abuse, knows someone who has, or she has done thorough research at least that what it felt to me I have never experienced abuse, so someone who has and read this book may think otherwise But this isn t their review, it s mine.
The book is long winded though At times clearly dragging There are many run on sentences with no punctuation, which could very easily drive some people crazy I didn t mind it too much because it fell in with the style of the narrative, but I often did have to go back and read it over to pick up the cadance of the sentence or paragraph But back to the long windedness This book could have easily been shorter and not left anything direly important out and could have still gotten a clear message out Our narrator repeats herself many times throughout the book Possibly this is a style Quindlen is trying to make because a few times the narrator our abused housewife Fran Beth speaks of how comforting pattern is, how reassuring it is to have a sort of daily ritual that takes place Maybe this is why we often have her resurrect topics than once.
Besides those few points, the book was a pretty good read I do highly recommend this book to anyone who has suffered from domestic violence, because maybe from a different perspective, you can see exactly how important it is to go seek help Or if you even know someone who is suffering from abuse, I advise you to tell them to go get help and suggest reading this book Because maybe they, and you, can learn from this book that you can get out of the situation you re in and you can start a new and better life.
Ever read a book that you almost felt like you didn t have a right to criticize This book made me feel that way, and that is why I have put off writing a review However, I told my teacher that I would eventually do it I was required to pick a book out to read for my last week of high school in my Advanced Literature class that had some type of connection to my family So, I chose this book My family is quite familiar with this book s topic I m blessed in that I am not personally affiliated but I wanted to understand about what some of the people who i love most have wen t through Just a little synopsis, this book is about a woman, Fran, who is in a relationship that is full of domestic violence at the hands of her NYPD husband, Bobby However, its not just her who is being affected physically and mentally but her little son who is constantly hearing the abuse and the excuses that Fran says such asMommy had an accident She decided to run and enters into what I consider to be some type of a batter woman s underground railroad Okay, so I believe that books that center around such a serious topic such as domestic violence, they have two duties.
1 You have to keep it real, because you are telling the story of not just the possibly fictional heroine but of every woman who has encountered this situation and picks up your book.
You have got to make the people who have never encountered domestic violence understand as much as possible You got to reach deep within in them and make them cringe, you have to educate them Through education comes liberation.
This book might have succeeded on goal 1, but for me it didn t succeed on goal 2 Might sound crazy, but this book wasn t sick enough for me The beginning was pretty scary in that I was tense and was afraid for the heroine and her child However, id say the next 80 percent of the book was just Fran and her Son in a new place and adjusting, making friends, and living That was disappointing to me With a title like Black and Blue, I expected to read about some horrid things in detail I expected to cringe You see, while Fran was living her new life it was obvious that her husband Bobby was looking every where for her He was tormenting her family, and using all his cop connections However, that little fact was not kept in the forefront of this book Instead, we read about soccer practices and field trips and selling avon products It would have been really cool if the book switched perspectives from Fran, to Bobby, to maybe even her Son I just thought that as a journalist it would have been way controversial, uncomfortable, and scary Plus, Fran had a way of infuriating me You see her decisions were reallllllly freaking stupid It lead to her demise I truly believe that you never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have Fran needed to be strong and in some ways she was and in many ways she wasn t It really angered me because I wanted her to get away, be safe, same for her son However, it was pretty obvious as the story progressed that her decisions were gonna really come back to get her However, I am not a battered woman and I cannot judge her to harshly because I know not One thing I do know however, is that the battered women group that was helping her was not depicted right These groups help woman, they give them support, they uplift them, they help them realize their power in this world However, the one helping Fran was demeaning, power stripping, and overbearingjust like her husband was Anyways, all that being said it is still a good book.
The strength of this book is in two things 1 Quindlen has very lyrical writing Her writing is so smooth and clear.
2 The perspective Everything is from Fran s point of view While, I didn t want it to be that way It is still very cool Fran is a abused and has had nobody to unburden her heart to She had no therapy and therefore, what some people may not know is that you are reading the world through the eyes of a unfiltered battered woman her thought process was so screwy and wrong in so many ways However, this is quite possibly how an abused person thinks It was eye opening in that regard I believe this is a great book for someone who is young and has never read about domestic violence, someone who wants to read about it but not read something earth shattering and depressing beyond belief, and as a book club read with lots of discussion.
I stayed because I thought things would get better I stayed because I wanted my son to have a father I stayed because I wanted a home I stayed because I loved Bobby This book is a MUST read for anyone that says Whys don t they just leave , often said without compassion or understanding I worked for a large Domestic Violence agency for many years and I have talked, safety planned and sat and listened to many women and some men in these situations The answer to the question, Why don t they just leave , is never an easy answer It is never black and white It is never something that unless you have lived it, that you can fully understand or judge This is just one window into a situation, but it is a good and clear window.
Read it, maybe it will help you understand, maybe help you recognize it in someone else, or at the very least maybe make you less likely to say, Why don t they just leave
5 starsI stayed because I thought things would get better, or at least not worse I stayed because I wanted my son to have a father and I wanted a home For a long time I stayed because I loved Bobby Benedetto, because no one had ever gotten to me the way he did I think he knew that He made me his accomplice in what he did, and I made Robert mine Anna Quindlen s book about domestic violence will leave you saddened, enraged and also hopeful She allowed me to really see into the heart and soul of Fran Benedetto, a mother and wife that stayed with an abusive husband for what she thought were the right reasons Until one day One day that was worse than the others One day that Fran decided to save herself and her son, Robert Bobby Benedetto may never have left a single mark on Robert s body, but Fran recognized the relentless damage to his spirit A spirit that she did not want to see extinguished in a son she loved so dearly So with the help of a local organization, Fran and Robert are relocated, renamed, and restarted in a new life As Beth and Robert Crenshaw, Fran and Robert will learn that there are still sacrifices to be made and life is far from easy when starting over How could it be after a lifetime spent in fear Fear does not disappear with a new identity It s just as palpable as ever before, especially for a mother that will protect her son at any cost Perhaps what she feared even than another blow was the effect the years of tolerating, lying and hiding secrets would have on an impressionable young mindMy little boy, who had always had something of the little old man about him, was becoming a dead man, too, with a dead man s eyes There are ways and ways of dying, and some of them leave you walking around I found myself completely engrossed in this novel I felt Quindlen did a superb job in giving a voice to Fran, a voice that made me listen and start to understand a topic that may be all too easy for us to ignore if it doesn t affect our own lives quite personally Even Bobby, a man that I despised, was well drawn and Fran s reaction to him honest and affectingAs rich and persuasive as Bobby Benedetto s voice, that was how full and palpable was his sorrow and regret And how huge was his rage It was like a twister cloud it rose suddenly from nothing into a moving thing that blew the roof off, black and strong I smell beer, I smell bourbon, I smell sweat, I smell my own fear, ranker and stronger than all threeI agonized over Robert s safety and his overall well being right along with Fran I was tense and afraid of what would happen to this woman if her police detective husband ever discovered her whereabouts My heart ached I truly felt I walked in Fran s shoes, and I am quite certain that this is what the author intended and accomplished with this book You can make a change You can start anew It won t be easy you will always wonder if you did the right thing There is hope.
For Eighteen Years, Fran Benedetto Kept Her Secret And Hid Her Bruises And Stayed With Bobby Because She Wanted Her Son To Have A Father And Because, In Spite Of Everything, She Loved Him Then One Night, When She Saw The Look On Her Ten Year Old Son S Face, Fran Finally Made A Choice And Ran For Both Their LivesNow She Is Starting Over In A City Far From Home, Far From Bobby And In This Place She Uses A Name That Isn T Hers, And Cradles Her Son In Her Arms, And Tries To Forget For The Woman Who Now Calls Herself Beth, Every Day Is A Chance To Heal, To Put Together The Pieces Of Her Shattered Self And Every Day She Waits For Bobby To Catch Up To Her Because Bobby Always Said He Would Never Let Her Go And Despite The Flawlessness Of Her Escape, Fran Benedetto Is Certain Of One Thing It Is Only A Matter Of Time