by Anna Quindlen ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 2, 1998
Pulitzer--winning columnist and novelist Quindlen (One True Thing, 1994, etc.) now takes a talk-show staple--spousal abuse--and gives it a compelling immediacy in a refreshingly wise and troth-telling novel about life and marriage. Frannie, a nurse, fell deeply in love with Bobby, a handsome New York cop who at the time seemed attractively ""tasty and dangerous,"" as well as kind and thoughtful. But after 17 years of marriage, Bobby has become more dangerous than appealing. Tired of being beaten up, and now coping with a broken nose, Fran takes her ten-year-old son Robert and flees their Brooklyn home. Helped by a women's organization, she and Robert are given new identities and a new place to live: a duplex in Florida. Now known as Beth Crenshaw, Frannie also tries to make a new life for herself and Robert, whom she loves with a fierce and protective devotion. She finds a good friend in the resilient Cindy and a satisfying job as a visiting health aide. She grows close to her patients, especially Mrs. Levitt, a Holocaust survivor. But Frannie can't relax her vigilance: Bobby has resources and investigating tools that might make it easy to find her, and so while her life is increasingly normal--she dates Mike, Robert's nice soccer coach--she's still afraid. The tension is nail-biting but nicely complemented by perceptive insights, as in Frannie's meditation that ""whenever I thought about leaving, I thought about leaving my house . . . balloon shades and miniblinds . . . mugs for the coffee . . . small things; routine, order that's what kept me there for the longest time."" Inevitably, Bobby catches up with her and exacts a terrible revenge, but an appropriately bittersweet ending gives Fran, who'll always wonder whether she was right to flee, a new love and life. Quindlen writes about women as they really are--neither helpless victims nor angry polemicists, but intelligent human beings struggling to do what's right for those they love and for themselves. A book to read and savor.
Pub Date: Feb. 2, 1998
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998
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