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But in June 1990, whatever idyll the Goodhearts have worked for comes to a permanent end. On a beautiful morning--marred by her 5-year-old's tantrum but still recuperable--Alice looks forward to taking her children and Theresa's youngest for a swim. Distracted for several minutes, she has no idea that the 2-year-old is no longer in the house:
Lizzy had run to the pond and splashed in. It had felt good on her hot feet and she kept running and then she was pedaling and pedaling. She tried to grab hold of the water, pawing for the metal bar, a ladder rung, her mother, but there was nothing. She clutched and flailed.... She sank. The trout that Howard had stocked in the pond swam along through the dark water. They noticed Lizzy out of the corner of their eyes. They had inherited the knowledge of that look, and they knew it by heart.This is only the first of Alice's body blows. Next, she's questioned about one of her students, a memorably bad seed. On the verge of collapse, she cries out, "I hurt everybody!"--which will later be construed as a confession. Charged with sexual abuse and unable to come up with $100,000 in bail, she is forced to await trial in jail.
Narrated first by Alice, then Howard, and then Alice again, A Map of the World moves from intimate domesticity to courtroom drama with grace and subtlety. Hamilton wrote her book when accusations of abuse in schools and day care were peaking, yet this is not a modish work or an "issue novel" but a lasting creation of several complex lives. At one point, fed up with civil mechanisms, Alice tells her lawyer: "'Let Oprah be the judge.... Let Robbie and me, Mrs. Mackessy, Howard, Theresa, Dan, Mrs. Glevitch--let all of us come before Oprah. Let the studio audience decide. They're nice suburban woman, many of them, dressed for a lark. They have common sense and speak their minds.'" Apparently La Winfrey was listening, since she chose this beautifully observed novel for her book club. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I was extremely disappointed with my order with Amazon. It took almost 4 weeks for my book to arrive. It was ordered around Sept. 19 and was promised no later than Sept. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2011 by Pauline Tschirhart
The premise for this story was interesting and I truly gave it my all, but I couldn't finish this book. It was so slow and tedious. Read morePublished on June 16 2009 by N. Jeannotte
Hamilton's finely drawn characters are easy to understand and you cant help but feel sympathetic to each of them. Read morePublished on Dec 18 2007 by SK
This book was not one of my favorites. It was slow, and sometimes painful, to read. The characters, though, were beautfilly done, with both depth and vision, as well as the... Read morePublished on July 1 2004 by Emily S. Drew
One moment of inattention, or was it pure and simply an accident that could have happened to anyone? Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2004 by C Brunner
I got so much from this book. It didn't really bring up thought but more of a feeling. I just felt when I read. It touched me deeply. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by L. J Nary
Jane Hamilton is an excellent writer, and she creates wonderful and plausible stories. But she suffers from logorrhea, an excess of verbiage. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2004 by Peggy Vincent
The two characters that I can't stand is Theresa and Howard. I mean, they should just get together and divorce their spouses or don't ever start in the first place. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2004