A Review of Anna Quindlen’s Blessings


I just finished reading Blessings by Anna Quindlen.  My mom bought me this book for Christmas, and I admit, I wasn’t so sure I’d like it.  I had recently read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, and I was afraid the stories sounded too similar.  But I was way wrong.

I picked up the title again as part of this year’s To Be Read Pile Challenge, and I ended up loving Blessings.  If I had to describe the book as a food, I’d call it a soup book.  It’s a feel good kind of story.  It’s a tale of friendships, unlikely ones, and the bizarre and unplanned events that take place in our lives.

The Goodreads synopsis:

Late one night, a teenage couple drives up to the big white clapboard home on the Blessing estate and leaves a box. In that instant, the lives of those who live and work there are changed forever. Skip Cuddy, the caretaker, finds a baby girl asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep the child . . . while Lydia Blessing, the matriarch of the estate, for her own reasons, agrees to help him. “Blessings” explores how the secrets of the past affect decisions and lives in the present; what makes a person or a life legitimate or illegitimate and who decides; and the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community. This is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and personal change by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer about whom “The Washington Post Book World” said, “Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family.”

Anna Quindlen (goodreads.com)

Author Anna Quindlen is no slouch to the publication world.  With five bestselling novels, seven nonfiction books, and a Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times column, “Public and Private,” she’s achieved every writer’s dream.

If there was a stand out thing about this book, it’s Quindlen’s voice.  She writes characters the way someone you just met shares an intimate secret with you.  You immediately feel a bond to them.  You know they’re flawed, you may not agree with their actions, but you’ll defend them anyway.

The unlikely partnership of Skip Cuddy, a hired hand, with Southern Estate owner and matriarch, Lydia Blessing, is at the core of this book.  What could a man with calloused hands and no family have in common with an 80-something year old woman who never leaves the house?  If there’s a child involved, it turns out quite a bit.

I’m not a fan of spoilers, so I can’t give anything away, but there are some incredibly honest and moving scenes in this story regarding the raising of that baby.  Quindlen will make you redefine family and look at alternatives in a whole new light.

Plus the ending will surprise you!  I was sensing something was up, but didn’t know when we’d get any answers.

Overall, I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for a hearty, comforting read.

What about you?  Did you read Blessings and enjoy it?  What else from your TBR Pile have you been reading now?  Or if you’re like me, what did you buy that you’ll be getting around to for 2013’s TBR Pile Challenge?  

10 responses

  1. I have Quindlen’s memoir, Lots of Candles, Lots of Cake, in my TBR and am determined to read it soon. This book sounds great, too. Just right for one of those thunderstorming days in your life when you need some comfort and something sweet to read. Right now I’m reading South of Bixby Bridge by Ryan Winfield. This is his debut novel and it’s SO good! He has a unique way of writing dialogue and his descriptions are…hmm, decadent and rich. The story deals with issues of addictions, deception and saving yourself. Maybe I’ll review it.

    1. I think it’s funny that all the books I’m buying now I’m already prepping for my TBR Pile next year. LOL. I’m actually really ahead in this year’s 12 titles, so I hope to get to some more. Upcoming road trip should be helpful!

      Hope you review South of Bixby Bridge!

  2. Nice review, Jess! I have also read “Blessings” and liked it very much!

    1. You’ve read it so you know it’s hard to give too much without without giving stuff away!

  3. Thanks for the review. This looks like one I’d enjoy.

    1. I really liked Blessings. I hope you get it. It’s such a comforting read, with an air of mystery!

  4. Jessie: Both Glen & I read it last summer. Very Good comfort book. At this point we have read most of her books and love them all. I have been reading like a crazed person this summer. So far my favorite has been Killing Lincoln. Awesome!!!! Gained so much knowledge of Lincoln. Am now going to start Team of Rivals which is about his election.

    1. Oooh that could be a fun historical one for book club! My dad was listening to book on tape about Lincoln, I’ll have to find out what one it was. It may have been Killing Lincoln.

      Now tougher question, do you think we can get the whole book club to go see Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer in the theater? 😉

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