Cannonball Read IV: Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
I received this book on loan from a co-worker and seeing as how my library card is currently either underneath my car’s driver’s seat or lost in the bottom of my computer bag or hamper, I thought I would give it a shot. After glancing at the name and the cover art, I was a little concerned that this would be another one of those books people read that describes the horrid conditions of the protagonist’s life and how she does everything in her power to overcome these hurdles and yet her strength is ultimately futile and she meets her untimely end.
A book that would be made into a Lifetime movie.
I was pretty spot on.
Black and Blue centers around a woman named Fran Benedetto and her relationship with Bobby Benedetto. You’ve heard this story before: Bobby and Fran meet and marry when Fran is barely 20 - a whirlwind romance full of passion. As the years lag on, Bobby becomes increasingly more controlling of and abusive toward Fran. Fran finally decides to leave him the night when Bobby comes home so drunk and angry, he punches her in the face and breaks her nose -all while their son Robert is asleep in the next room. Through Fran’s work as a nurse in a local hospital, she meets a woman who helps Fran and Robert start a new life - as Beth and Robert Crenshaw - in a small neighborhood in Florida. Through the help of good friends, Beth and Robert rediscover what it is to feel safe, autonomous, and confident - until their past catches up with them.
Anna Quindlen’s book is wonderfully written with engrossing characters. She does a wonderful job painting Fran Benedetto out to be more than just a survivor. There were a couple of chapters that had me on edge as my eyes dashed from page to page - and a chapter that almost had me in tears. However, the way in which she ends Beth and Robert’s journey left me feeling dead inside. I would recommend this book to someone who cried while watching Precious and loves Emma Stone ever since they saw her in The Help.
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