Blessings
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Blessings

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  9,823 ratings  ·  981 reviews
This powerful new novel by the bestselling author of Black and Blue, One True Thing, Object Lessons, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life begins when a teenage couple drives up, late at night, headlights out, to Blessings, the estate owned by Lydia Blessing. They leave a box and drive away, and in this instant, the world of Blessings is changed forever. Richly written, deeply...more
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Published September 17th 2002 by Random House (first published 2002)
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Holli
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Jane
This book was a selection for my daughter's book club. Let me say straight off that I loved it!

A baby is left by the garage of the local "big house" by a couple of teenagers, and found by the handyman who lives over the garage. A strange complicity develops between him and the house's owner, and two people from opposite sides of the social divide enter into a friendship that reconciles their own pasts.

So now I'm going to talk about the rules it breaks. You get a lot of talk on writer blogs abou...more
Maria
I found this on a free pile of books and thought the title vaguely intriguing. Free appeals, and I seemed to recall that I'd read Black and Blue once -- same author -- and liked it. This novel is soothing, yes it is, but it's a bit trite, and there is only one, just one, really sharply depicted poignant moment late in the narrative (where the hero has suffered a tremendous loss) which is so well-done I was left openmouthed; also, there is a charming enjoyable assessment of Agatha Christie books....more
Christina
When a baby is abandoned at Blessings, a rural country estate, it is up to the ex-con groundskeeper, the crotchety old woman who owns Blessings, and the daughter of the Korean housekeeper and the local garage owner to take care of her. Blessings is a story about the skeletons in our closets, and every mistake helps us to become the people we are today.
Lori
Blessings is the third Anna Quindlen novel that I've read and enjoyed. She is such an eloquent writer with accurate descriptions of the silent suffering and happiness that occurs in the human psyche. I enjoyed this story of Lydia Blessing and Skip Cuddy who through the nuturing and love of an abandoned baby girl make an usual "family." Much of the story takes place in a bittersweet remembering that occurs in Lydia's mind as she reviews the last eighty years of her life. The reader is touched as...more
Jamie Stanley
I really enjoyed this book. I love how the woman keeps on having flashbacks of her past. there are a lot of really well written lines in this book as well. The actual story isn't half as good as the brief glances off the past. Reading this book made me treasure my memories that much more, the good and the bad. I recommend this book to everyone.
Kellie
a story of unconventional relationships that grow in unlikely places – stories of regret and wishes – stories of improvement – simultaneous intertwining of past and present – challenges some traditional notions and judgments
Lydia Presley

Original review posted here

Anna Quindlen is one of those authors who holds the power to knock the socks off of me. Every time I go to pick up one of her books I know that, at some point, I’m going to end up in tears – so I have to pace myself accordingly.

Blessings was no different. While it didn’t contain nearly the same amount of tragedy some of Quindlen’s other books have (Yes, Every Last One, I’m looking at you), it still had some heartbreaking moments, but, in true Quindlen style, I knew tha...more
Becky
I really enjoyed this fast and easy read. Its a story of a man who works for a wealthy woman and lives in an apartment above the garage and wakes one morning to find a baby in a cardboard box left on the step. He gets a baby book and decides to raise the baby as his own, and the elder woman ends up helping him. Very likeable characters, very descriptive dialogues... but almost "Garrison Keillor" like in describing details. Could have been said much faster. And the dialogue flip flops from past t...more
Mama Kaye
I decided to read a book by Anna Quindlen after hearing her speak last fall. She's a wonderful speaker and a great journalist. However, based on this book, I don't think that writing fiction is her forte. I very much enjoyed the story in "Blessings," but didn't really enjoy her writing style all that much. As she is telling about future events, her characters reminisce about their past in a way that I found distracting. I do think the story would make a good movie, but can't recommend the book a...more
Kyra
A lovely book. Ms Quindlen's writing style is reminiscent of that of one of my favourite authors Rumer Godden. The plot is a framework for character development, and both plot and characters slowly open like a flower. Corny, I know, but hypnotic & beautifully done.
The basic plot is simple: town loser finds abandoned baby & falls in love with baby, cranky rigid old lady who is his employer becomes a part of the conspiracy to keep the baby a secret, and, yes, there is a girl. Around this f...more
Carol
What a precious book, totally enjoyed reading it. One night a baby is dropped off at the wealthy Blessings home, they look inside a cardboard box outside the estate and find a new born baby. This act totally changes Blessings forever. Richly written, deeply moving, beautifully crafted. Quindlen tells the story of Skip Cuddy, caretaker of the estate, who finds a baby asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep her, and of matriarch Lydia Blessing, who, for her own reasons, decides to help him...more
Pam Jones
Great characters. Interesting story. I already miss everyone.
Claire S
I like this quiet, gentle, sweet book; the two main characters are a bit world-weary, having experienced harshnesses in life such that they don't take good for granted. They don't know each other at the outset of when this book is set; a baby is dropped off and they rebel at first individually, but for both it is a perfect element in their lives. And so far their fears prove unfounded and life is unfolding in its own, sweet way. Reminds me a bit of Margaret Atwood's 'Bean Trees', only that was m...more
Erin Quinney
Nov 07, 2010 Erin Quinney rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone (PG-13-slight language issues)
First of all, Anna Quindlen loves flashbacks. Object Lessons was infected with them. It's distracting and the whole time I'm reading all I can think of is a scene from the 1980's Chevy Chase movie, "Funny Farm." His wife is reading his "masterpiece" novel and bursts out crying. She says,

There's all these flashbacks. I'm not sure when any of this is taking place. There are flashforwards, flashbacks, and even a flashsideways. (Not quoting exactly)

That being said, Blessings is not as awkward as Ob...more
Valley Brown
Blessings is an antiquated estate belonging to the elderly descendant Lydia Blessing, and attended to by her contentious housekeeper, Nadine, and newly-hired groundskeeper Skip Cuddy. Life at Blessings revolves around the routine and social etiquette of a by-gone era, which Lydia refuses to move beyond. When Skip discovers an abandoned newborn child on his literal doorstep, he inexplicably chooses to keep the baby. He was only recently released from a jail sentence for being at the wrong place...more
Carol Storm
THE OLD BAT AND THE BABY

by Anna Go-Away

She was an old bat who lived alone in a crumbling mansion and she had gone seventy-five years without a man. During the first seventy-three years she had lived alone, but, now that she was too old to mow her own lawn and wash her own socks a boy lived with her.

"Boy," said Lydia Blessings. "I hear a baby crying. Go and bring him into our house, so I may vicariously enjoy the thrill of motherhood."

"Yes, boss lady." The boy was thirty-seven years old, and he...more
Evan Brandt
I have always enjoyed Anna Quindlen's columns in The New York Times and Newsweek. I once read her described as "the last sane person" and agreed strongly. The novel is not yet profound but enjoyable, particularly for those who enjoy family history, even someone else's.
* * *
Now, having finished the book, I am disappointed. The book begins with promise, but the "family mysteries" are evident early on and the "big reveal" is lacklustre and the conclusion is overlong and kind of aimless.
The book's p...more
Jennifer
This book tells the story of a baby left on the garage steps at the house named Blessings. The house's new caretaker, Skip, finds her and wants to raise her as his own. He hides her from the world until the house's mistress, Lydia, questions why he mows the lawn hunched over. (The baby is in a sling around him, and he's hiding her while mowing. He's too afraid to leave her alone.) Lydia decides to help him raise the baby, despite the fact that she is nearing 80 and hasn't been around a baby in s...more
Paul Lima
I confess, I gave up on this book. Late one night, a teenage couple drives up to the big white clapboard home on the Blessing estate and leaves a box. Skip Cuddy, the caretaker, finds a baby girl asleep in that box and the book, as far as I read, really didn't go anywhere from there. He wants to keep the baby, but the book seems unfocused and the characters uninteresting.
Debby
In the middle of the night, a newborn baby girl is left by it's teen parentss at the doorstep of a large country home they believe will be a good place for a girl to grow up. The baby is found the next morning by the estate's caretaker, Skip Cuddy, who decides to keep the baby and raise her as his own. The elderly owner of the estate, Lydia Blessing, learns of his plan and helps him do just that. This is a book about past secrets, past actions and consequences, and how our plans aren't always un...more
Angie Noble
Great story, although somewhat unrealistic. I always love how Anna Quindlen ties together the average Joe and someone who has lived the privileged life to show that we all really aren't that different.
Lain
Maybe it's just some personality defect on my part, but Anna Quindlen kind of bugs me. I never got into her columns, and I wasn't crazy about her novel, "Black and Blue." And anyone who has the chutzpah to publish a book of "life secrets" that's only 64 pages -- and to charge $12.95 for it -- is someone I don't want to know very well.

That said, I thought "Blessings" was an okay book. Not terrific, but worth a read if you're 3,000 miles from home and don't have a lot of other choices (which was...more
Gaijinmama
A fast, lovely, heartwarming read. Quindlen has a journalist's eye and captures small-town America in brilliant, spot-on detail. The characters are all believable and compelling. I especially liked Nadine, the grumpy Korean housekeeper with a mysterious scar on her face. Clearly, the scar represents her traumatic past which she won't talk about, but is impossible to fully escape, erase, or ignore. The ending wasn't happy Hollywood. Instead it was believable. I won't spoil it here but let's just...more
Donna LaValley
This is the first book I've experienced on CD, so I'm not sure I gave it a proper "reading." Being in a post-surgical haze could have altered my opinion downward, but the happy-helping pain pills should have compensated in the other direction, right? I'd give it 2.5 stars if possible.

Anna Q. writes beautifully. I used to read -and save- her columns from Newsweek before she stopped to write novels. The first of her novels that I heard of was One True Thing, about a mother and daughter facing the...more
Anne
I enjoyed this small but poignant story of an elderly WASP woman, her blue collar, troubled caretaker, and the baby who forges a bond between them. I appreciated the glimpses into the WWII era of upper crust NYC life. The characters are well-drawn, believable and, with the exception of the obvious bad guy, pretty sympathetic. Many have commented on the use of flashbacks as a literary device. I think they work here, particularly for the character of Lydia because she is old and not particularly a...more
Katie
Skip Cuddy has had a rough few years, due to a disconnected family and poor choices in friends. But one day, he happens upon Lydia Blessing, the elderly owner of the Blessings estate, and is hired to be her caretaker. The woman is tiring, the job is monotonous, but one night, Skip discovers a box in the garage. Inside, there's a baby girl, and before he knows it, Skip has decided to keep and raise the baby. As the story unfolds, Skips secrets and Lydia's are both brought to the surface.
Blessings...more
Patty
There are a couple of stories going on here. The ostensible "main" story is about a young man who has had a difficult life and made mistakes which made his life even more difficult. He stumbles upon an abandoned newborn baby and that is the catalyst for him to change his life. He is abetted in this endeavor by an 80 year old woman and it is her past which I feel dominates the book.

A predominant theme for me is the rather tragic inability of humans to ever really understand each other. This is ma...more
Kathy
A young man is trying to find himself by working as the groundskeeper at a large estate called "Blessings". He finds a newborn outside his garage one morning and the story evolves into how he tries to keep this baby while hiding it from the very old woman that lives on and owns the estate. It is a beautiful read on the nature of what makes us good, bad or idifferent.
Karen
The two Anna Quindlen novels I read previously, One True Thing and Black and Blue, were both pretty amazing in the plots, the writing, and character development. This book was far from terrible but I found the set-up implausible: a teenage couple drop their unwanted infant off at the big estate outside town, the estate caretaker (a groundskeeper/handyman) finds her and decides to keep her even tho he has no experience with children, and the elderly woman who owns the estate finds out but is okay...more
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"Blessings" ---Sonny's Secret 2 5 Sep 16, 2014 07:40PM  
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Anna Quindlen is an American journalist and opinion columnist whose New York Times column, Public and Private, won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1992.

She began her journalism career in 1974 as a reporter with The New York Post. Between 1977 and 1994 she held several posts at the New York Times. She left journalism in 1995 to become a full-time novelist. She currently writes a bi-weekly colu...more
More about Anna Quindlen...
Black and Blue One True Thing Every Last One Still Life with Bread Crumbs Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

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“Four A.M. and the darkness had a quality of inexorability and menace as though it would never lift, as though, without anyone noticing it, the dawn of the day before had been the beginning of the last light ever in the history of the world.” 3 likes
“She had filled her days mourning that shadow life, and it had no more meaning than the chattering of monkeys. Instead, these last few weeks, she had seen what might have been had she not felt perpetually done out of something better.” 2 likes
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