Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Gentle Readers,

On this, the second day of Annafest, we move on to the Anna Quindlen novel that scares the crap out of me:

Black and Blue

The first time my husband hit me I was nineteen years old. One sentence and I'm lost. One sentence and I can hear his voice in my head, that butterscotch-syrup voice that made goose bumps rise on my arms, when I was young, that turned all of my skin warm and alive with a sibilant S, the drawling vowels, its shocking fricatives. It always sounded like a whisper, the way he talked, the intimacy of it, the way the words seemed to go into your guts, your head, your heart.

Fran is married to Bobby Benedetto. They have a son named Robert. Fran has to escape. 

But how do you run away from a cop?

I can hear his voice now, so persuasive, so low and yet somehow so strong, making me understand once again that I'm all wrong. Frannie, Frannie, Fran, he says. That's how he begins. Frannie, Frannie, Fran. The first time I wasn't your husband yet. You were already twenty, because it was the weekend after we went to City Island for your birthday. And I didn't hit you. You know I didn't hit you. You see, Fran, this is what you do. You twist things. You always twist things.

I always relate to Anna Quindlen's characters. How can Fran stay? But how can she go? How can she stay away once she's gone?

I'm having a really hard time right now. I can't take care of a house all by myself and I can't afford to pay someone else to do everything that needs to be done. But I have no place else to go. I've already gone and I had no choice. Fran is left with choices:

1. Incredibly difficult, as in damn near impossible.

2. Eventual death at her husband's hands.

Infinities of love and Anna,



  1. Haven't read this one yet; will have to check it out, when I'm in the mood to be depressed!

  2. I don't feel depressed by it. It's a good suspenseful novel. You're always waiting for the other shoe to hit the floor (what does that mean anyway?) or the next blow to fall. However, Quindlen doesn't dwell on the abuse scenes. She concentrates on Fran's escape and how she lives.



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