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Black and Blue [Paperback]

Anna Quindlen
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (415 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 8 2000 Oprah's Book Club
With daring and compassion, Anna Quindlen weaves a forceful, harrowing portrait of a woman and a marriage, capturing the profound intricacies of love and rage, passion and violence. At once heartbreaking and utterly riveting, BLACK AND BLUE is an extraordinary work of fiction and a brilliant achievement.

For eighteen years, Fran Benedetto kept her secret, 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 lives.

With the repackaging of BLACK AND BLUE and One True Thing, Anna Quindlen takes her place alongside Dell's Alice McDermott and Rosellen Brown bringing their beloved, acclaimed contemporary classics to a whole new audience of trade paperback readers in Delta editions.

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From Amazon

Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 1998: "The first time my husband hit me I was nineteen years old," begins Fran Benedetto, the broken heroine of Anna Quindlen's Black and Blue. With one sweeping sentence, the door to an abused and tortured world is swung wide open and the psyche of a crushed and tattered self-image exposed. "Frannie, Frannie, Fran"--as Bobby Benedetto liked to call her before smashing her into kitchen appliances--was a young, energetic nursing student when she met her husband-to-be at a local Brooklyn bar. She was instantly captivated by his dark, brooding looks and magnetic personality, but her fascination soon solidified into a marital prison sentence of incessant abuse and the destruction of her own identity. After an especially horrific beating and rape, Fran realizes that the next attack could be the last. Fearing her son would be left alone with Bobby, she escapes one morning with her child. Fran's salvation comes in the form of Patty Bancroft and Co., a relocation agency for abused women that touts better service than the witness protection program. Armed only with a phone number, a few hundred dollars, and the help of several anonymous volunteers, Fran begins a new life. The agency relocates her to Florida, where she becomes Beth Crenshaw, a recently divorced home-care assistant from Delaware. Fran and her son adapt, meeting challenges with unexpected resilience and resolve until their past returns to haunt them. Quindlen renders the intricacies of spousal abuse with eerie accuracy, taking the reader deep within the realm of dysfunctional human ties. However, her vivid descriptions of abuse, emotional disintegration, and acute loneliness at times numb the reader with their realism. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA?This powerfully written story grips readers from the very first page. Fran and Bobby are crazy about one another from the moment they first meet, but his violent nature reveals itself even before they are married. Later, the "accidents" become more and more frequent and harder to hide: a broken collarbone, a split lip, a black eye. Finally, Fran escapes the abusive marriage, but by then she is damaged both inside and out. Assisted by a group that aids battered women, she flees with her 10-year-old son, Robert, who knows the truth but is reluctant to believe that the father who loves him so much could beat his mother so badly. Fran begins a new life with a new identity, but she lives in fear, knowing that Bobby won't rest until he finds them. Also, Robert longs for his father. Love between parent and child, coming to grips with the difference between passion and love, the importance of honesty in relationships, and self-knowledge as an essential part of healing?YAs can learn much about these and other themes in this novel about a shattered family and a strong woman determined to rebuild her life.?Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Intensity Oct. 26 2004
By Lindsay
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is so intense and so real. No one truly understands what happens in an abusive relationship, except the one who is on the receiving end of the abuse. I could not put this book down, I was there with the character taking every slap and punch with her. This book is not for someone who is looking for the Disney Ending. If you're looking for a book that will not "pull the wool over your eyes" you've definately found it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Won't leave you feeling blue Feb. 5 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before I wrote my review, I wanted to see what others had to say and I was very disappointed in those that gave this book poor ratings.
Fran gives us insight into the fear of the unknown, strength to persevere and courage to do what you have to do to survive again some really difficult odd. This book really opened my eyes to not just because of the content but because of the reality. We often times want the happy ending to all stories but that's not reality either is it? We walk around day after day and refuse to acknowledge that there are evil people doing brutal things to other. Because it does not affect our 'world' it seems like a bunch of fiction. However, this is not just fiction or words on a page...this is someone reality. I would recommend this novel to women and men, whether they are in a relationship such as this one or not. Someone else's 'testimony' can save lives. I would not want something like this to happen to my siblings or relative or friends or even aquaintances and in order to help stop this type of brutality is to educate one another. Take the blinders off!
Other books I'd recommend:
Bark of the Dogwood
You Remind Me of Me
Children's Corner by McCrae
A Child Called it by Pelzer
All are great, but buy B&B first for a really great reading experience.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A Stupid Protagonist April 21 2004
By A Customer
The main character made so many stupid mistakes and had such severe character flaws herself, that I had to struggle a few times to sympathize with her. She admits that when she married her husband, she realized it was 'inevitable' that he would beat her -- yet she not only went ahead and married him, but she had a child, knowing this child would be exposed to the violence. When she meets a decent guy, she admits that the guy is rather dull compared to her ex-husband -- the subtext being that she misses getting beaten up?
Most horrifying to me: She muses that if her son grows up to marry a woman and then beats that woman... she will not really care. She will not sympathize with the woman, because she will never be able to see any wrong in her son. This is one sick puppy, yo. And her sickness clearly pre-dates the abusive marriage, so it's not like her husband 'twisted' her.
I resented how she seemed hostile to the very people who were helping her out of her abusive situation. They got her a new identity, moved her to another state, supported her -- she didn't even have to work unless he wanted to -- and yet she complained about how superior they must feel for helping little pathetic her -- a paranoid feeling that was only in her own head.
Make no mistake -- I'm sympathetic to any abuse victim, but this one was such an idiot it would have been hard for ME not to knock her around a little.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Powerful and Nervewracking! April 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I could NOT put this one down for the life of me! I literally read it in 6 hours! It was explosive at times and tense most of the time. Always powerful and enlightening.
The writer did a fantastic job of sharing the character's emotions and fears with the reader. I was constantly on edge and nervous for her.
Fran is an abused woman with a little boy in tow and on the run from the very man that may kill her. Married 18 years and most of them not happy memories, this nurse is finally strong enough to leave the situation, but fears she will be caught.
The reader feels her pain and frustration the whole way through. Numerous flashbacks and told from first person, this is so unbelievably powerful and eyeopening, that I recommended it to everyone I knew.
Fran doesn't come off as being whiny or 'feel bad for me', she comes off as being so incredibly strong, yet very vulnerable and real. Someone you would know. She doesn't try to turn her young son against his abusive father, yet she doesn't try to pull the wool over his eyes either, which I thought was refreshing. Robert, her son, isn't out of control or misbehaved so there isn't the 'irritating child' factor you see so much in novels.
Fran must go under an assumed name and identity and start her life over at 38. Being married to her husband for 18 years and knowing nothing else but him and his demands, she finds it hard at times to adjust and move on, but soon she realizes that life is full of unseen opportunities and possibly a new lovelife.
But will her new life come crumbling down after one tiny misstep? You see, Fran's husband is none other than one of New York's finest...and a very determined detective...
Do NOT miss this gem...
Tracy Talley~@
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4.0 out of 5 stars Did she do the right thing? April 4 2004
By Amy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Did Fran do the right thing by fleeing with her son Robert from Bobby, her abusive husband? I would have to say probably not . . . but I could be wrong. I suppose when someone is in that horrible of a situation it is very easy to judge them as an outsider; perhaps if I had been in her shoes, I would have done the same thing. It really was inevitable, though, that "Beth" would eventually be found. I think there's an old saying something like "two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead," well it was only a matter of time before Robert took a wrong step and blew their cover. And maybe Fran would have eventually, too- after all, she never really was 100% committed to the decision she had made. Now Robert is in a worse situation than he was before: alone with a mentally ill father, living on the run, cut off from his mother . . . the boy has a long road ahead. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. I thought the ending to Beth's story was very appropriate: although she was able to start a new life, it was a far cry from a happy ending. She definitely has issues that will continue to impact her life forever. For example, she admits to not having a "jones" for her new husband, a far cry from the excitement she felt for the "tasty and dangerous" Bobby. In spite of everything she doesn't seem to have been able to get past her weakness for the bad boys. Still, her life will be good enough . . . Robert is the real casualty.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I bought it because it was one of Oprah's Picks. I was good. I was not disappointed that I bought it.
Published 14 months ago by nicole fleming
3.0 out of 5 stars An okay book, but not brilliant
This book reflects the sad reality of one of the many plagues affecting this world: domestic abuse. Whilst fully sympathising with Frannie, the main character, and abhorring the... Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2007 by I LOVE BOOKS
5.0 out of 5 stars Packs some kind of a wallop
Being a fan of the author for some time, I've always known that Anna Quindlen doesn't pull any punches (sorry, with reference to this title), but I had no idea she was headed where... Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the usual suspects . . .
My first thought on reading the description of this book was, "Oh, no. Here we go again. Another 'Look at me, I hurt'" type of book. Read more
Published on May 26 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits a nerve
This book hits a nerve, like Quindlen's "One True Thing" or McCrae's "Bark of the Dogwood. Read more
Published on March 19 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Pot-boiler, but all right
My aunt gave me this book for Christmas (this is what happens when people know you like to read but don't have any idea about your taste, I suppose), and while I am certainly not... Read more
Published on March 5 2004 by Michial Farmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells the story
Two books BLACK AND BLUE and NIGHTMARES ECHO tell the story of life, the way I had to live. I am so grateful to these authors for the courage to write about abuse, all the... Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark tale, full of sound and fury
This book packs quite a punch. I picked it up, not knowing what it was about, and was totally blown away! Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2004 by "chassymore6"
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