- 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 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.
Top Customer Reviews
Fran Benedetto had loved Bobby. Bobby the cop. Bobby, her sons dad. Bobby...sexy, handsome, strong Bobby.
Fran Benedetto had once loved him so much.
But Fran was a battered wife. Bobby was an abusive husband. And Fran had finally had enough.
Secretly uprooting their son Robert, changing their names, moving to another state seems to be the only thing Fran can do to free herself from the confines of Bobby.
Frannie becomes Beth Crenshaw with a new name, a new home, a new job, even a new birthday. She manages to have Robert keep his first name, but he too got to keep the secret of where he really came from and who he really was.
As readers we get a pretty in dept view of what it is like to live the life of a battered woman. How she was happy, scared, hurt, and sometimes still in love at the same times. How emotions ran high and hurts ran deep.
I really enjoyed this book, the writing was fantastic and the story line was something that kept me interested from page one to the end.
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.
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...
Most recent customer reviews
Amazingly well written. I became so involved that when I wasn't reading I was thinking about the book.Published 14 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)
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
This book hits a nerve, like Quindlen's "One True Thing" or McCrae's "Bark of the Dogwood. Read morePublished on March 19 2004