Other People's Children Paperback – Jun 16 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
A skilled artisan of nuance and insight reveals a vigorous new edge as she explores the painful and contentious arena of stepfamilies. Here Trollope focuses on three women and two men who wrestle with new family configurations, along with their six children, ranging from eight to 28. When Josie marries Matthew, she already has experience as both a mother and stepmother, and she feels prepared for the impending battles with Matthew's difficult and bitter ex-wife, Nadine. But her patient determination crumbles as Matthew's three children turn sullen, mutinous and downright nasty to Josie and her eight-year-old son, Rufus. "Has it ever struck you that stepchildren can be quite as cruel as stepmothers are supposed to be?" Josie asks her sister-in-law, who later observes, "Everyone seems to expect so much of women it nearly drove you mad." Things seem at first to be a lot easier for Josie's ex-husband, Tom, an architect who has two other children besides Rufus (Tom's first wife died suddenly when his children were small). In no time Tom has a fianc?e, the calm and reasonable Elizabeth, whom Rufus (who visits Tom regularly) seems to like rather well. It is Tom's 25-year-old daughter, Dale, who can't bear to see her father passionately in love. The narrative moves back and forth between Josie and Elizabeth as the latter finds her new life in sudden turmoil; the spare, dramatic revelation of Dale's psychological hold on Tom injects Hitchcockian suspense. Though Trollope's wry intelligence supports the plot, her command of raw emotional contentAher portraits of the children, for exampleAis equally impressive. The urgency of her vision adds clout to this affecting drama. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; Penguin audio; author tour. (Apr.) FYI: Berkley will publish The Best of Friends in March. Trollope will be Writer in Residence at Victoria magazine during 1999.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
A tale about stepfamilies.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
So. That having been said, please bear with me as I try to explain this book, which is slight on plot and heavy on insight. It involves a number of very nice people of all ages, from young Rufus, just 7 when the book begins, to a 20-something engaged couple, to a 30-something newly married pair who are blending their respective families, to a May-September relationship between a single woman in her early 40s, Elizabeth, and a twice-married architect with two adult children from his first marriage, and Rufus from his second. This man's name is Tom. It is his adult son, Lucas, who is engaged (to Amy), and his second wife, Josie, mother of Rufus, whose recent remarriage has blended two families. Her husband, Matthew, has his hands full with his teenaged girl and boy, and a younger girl as well, all of them products of a highly dysfunctional mother whose sick dependence on them makes it nearly impossible for Matthew and Josie to have a normal life, especially with Lucas added to the mix.
It is Tom's adult daughter Dale, however, who causes the most destruction in this story, once again illustrating Trollope's favorite "no man is an island" theme.Read more ›