- Oprah's Book Club Selection
Black and Blue Paperback – Feb 8 2000
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Anna Quindlan's latest work of fiction "Black and Blue" has the potential to do what few so called "women's books" are able to accomplish, have an intrinsic appeal which serves both genders. This is a story with the ability to be accessible on many levels and that is one of its strengths.
This is a book about women, about children, about men, about the building up and breaking down of relationships, about strength and weakness, about truth, about secrets, about courage, and about trust. It is enlightening, entertaining, and exciting; once started it will be difficult to put down. This is not an easy book to read or forget.
The issues raised, some resolved some not, remind us of the frailties and shortcomings we experience in our own lives. Hopefully the main topic is one with which many are personally unfamiliar. The description of the effort involved to achieve escape velocity from the gravitational pull of an old life is simultaneously interesting and frightening. But can you really escape?
This is the focal point of the story. The day-to-day events of the principal characters as they establish their new lives is beautifully and touchingly developed in every way, you almost forget how the main characters arrived where they are. Present experiences are cleverly woven with past memories throughout the narrative. However, this is a story that also has all of the underlying tension and menace of a good suspense novel, neither of which are ever very far from the surface.
What bothered me was that the main character, Fran seemed very difficult to 'see'. I just couldn't figure out who she was as a person. Perhaps that is because abused women lose themselves, but I still do not know. I had a very clear picture of her abusive husband; the macho NYC Police Officer named Bobby Benedetto.
The other thing that bothered me is the main characters' (Fran) incessant mental rehashing of what seemed to be way-out there thoughts, ie. how her 10 year old sons lanky body seemed to be made of tinker toys... huh? It was if she was on a wild mind trip the entire book. Her thoughts would spill out from one thing to the other and very often I found myself lost in her mind.
All in all, however, I did enjoy it and would recommend it, although not as highly as some other reviewers would.
Most recent customer reviews
Frannie, Frannie, Fran.....Bobby always said her name that way.
Fran Benedetto had loved Bobby. Bobby the cop. Bobby, her sons dad. Bobby... Read more
Amazingly well written. I became so involved that when I wasn't reading I was thinking about the book.Published 17 months ago by Elizabeth Cade
I bought it because it was one of Oprah's Picks. I was good. I was not disappointed that I bought it.Published on Sept. 1 2013 by nicole fleming
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 morePublished on Sept. 17 2007 by ELI (Italy)
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2005 by Raymond Vanness
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 morePublished on Sept. 15 2004
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 morePublished on May 26 2004
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. Read morePublished on April 21 2004
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. Read morePublished on April 5 2004 by Tracy Talley