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Black and Blue

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  71,706 Ratings  ·  1,490 Reviews
For eighteen years Fran Benedetto kept her secret, hid her bruises. She stayed with Bobby because she wanted her son to have a father, and because, in spite of everything, she loved him. Then one night, when she saw the look on her ten-year-old son’s face, Fran finally made a choice—and ran for both their lives.
Now she is starting over in a city far from home, far from Bob
Kindle Edition, Oprah's Book Club edition, 288 pages
Published August 25th 2010 by Delta (first published 1998)
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Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anna-quindlen
Read when it came out in 1998 because it was an Oprah's bookclub selection, Black and Blue made me a lifetime fan of Quindlen's writing. A powerful book about the survivor of an abusive marriage and her son who is putting the pieces of her life back together, Black and Blue is a poignant tale of perseverance of a strong female protagonist.
4.5 stars

"I stayed because I thought things would get better, or at least not worse. I stayed because I wanted my son to have a father and I wanted a home. For a long time I stayed because I loved Bobby Benedetto, because no one had ever gotten to me the way he did. I think he knew that. He made me his accomplice in what he did, and I made Robert mine."

Anna Quindlen's book about domestic violence will leave you saddened, enraged and also hopeful. She allowed me to really see into the heart and s
ZaBeth  Marsh
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ZaBeth by: Books and Broads
If you have been lucky enough never to have been hit by a man, Anna Quindlen Black and Blue is written so that you can walk in a beaten woman’s shoes. No intelligent woman would ever stay with a man who hits her, right? But love does many things to a person and intelligence is usually the first thing that goes.

No one argues that love and lust of a woman, such as the beautiful Helen, which poets have written about for centuries, could launch a thousand ships. So why is it so amazing to think tha
Susan Siraco
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when I was entering 9th grade, and it changed my life. This may have been because of my age, but for me, Fran was a woman who did what I had never realized you could do- she left a horrible situation to make her life better. This book still inspires me, still makes me cry, and still gives me hope that no matter how bad something may get, you still have the power to help yourself. I would recommend this book to anyone over 15!
May 29, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c-the-okay
I have to admit that I wasn't very surprised when I looked up this title on Internet Movie Database and saw that this book had been made into a movie. Nor was I surprised that it was a made for TV movie. And I'm going to take a wild shot in the dark and say it was specifically made for Lifetime... Television for Women. Because everything about this book kept bringing up that whispery woman's voice as the narrator. I kept hearing, "Anna Quindlen... A writer for women..." No joke.

But don't get me
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A resolution of mine for 2013 was to read books by authors new to me. I have several favorite writers, and I concentrate much of my reading on their works. I had heard of Anna Quindlen over the years, but had never read anything by her. I picked up this paperback in a Goodwill store. Even though I believed that it was primarily directed toward a female readership, I thought it sounded interesting and decided to buy and read it. I retired after working twenty-four years as a police dispatcher, so ...more
Black and Blue is the story of a woman who flees an abusive relationship, taking her son and attempting to disappear into residential Florida, all the while waiting for her husband, a New York cop, to find and hurt her. The book is not Quindlen's best and while it is readable, and at less than 400 pages a manageable length, it feels like little more than a Lifetime "woman's" movie in novel form. I wouldn't recommend this book, especially in comparison to Quindlen's other work, although the lesso ...more
Taiyesha-Duchess of Indiana

Ever read a book that you almost felt like you didn't have a right to criticize?

This book made me feel that way, and that is why I have put off writing a review. However, I told my teacher that I would eventually do it. I was required to pick a book out to read for my last week of high school in my Advanced Literature class that had some type of connection to my family. So, I chose this book. My family is quite familiar with this book's topic. I'm blessed in that I am not personally affiliated
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I stayed because I thought things would get better. I stayed because I wanted my son to have a father" I stayed because I wanted a home. I stayed because I loved Bobby."

This book is a MUST read for anyone that says "Whys don't they just leave?", often said without compassion or understanding.

I worked for a large Domestic Violence agency for many years and I have talked, safety planned and sat and listened to many women (and some men) in these situations. The answer to the question, "Why don't
May 28, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
I would not have picked up Black and Blue, with its proudly-displayed "Oprah's Book Club" emblem, had it not been a quarter at the annual neighborhood yard sale, but seeing as it was under a dollar, and was written by a journalist I admire, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Basic plot: smart woman in abusive relationship almost dies from a beating, and finally leaves with her son. She starts a new life, but it is clouded by the threat of her husband finding her. Quindlen creates a believeable world ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So--I'd put Anna Quindlen on my short list of favorite authors, for a half-dozen reasons with the most important being her lucid, lyrical writing. Every Quindlen book I've read turns a commonplace story (and domestic violence is as commonplace as it gets) into a gorgeously rendered, delicately layered case study of ordinary life events. In many ways, Anna Quindlen is the diametric opposite of the Lifetime movie writing--none of her characters are all bad or all good, and her plots aren't predict ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a truly heartbreaking novel. The only real downside is that Quindlen's syntax would throw me off sometimes. Other than that, this is a quick, sad and true-to-reality read that I'm glad I picked up.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written from a first-person narrator's perspective, this is an insightful view of domestic abuse from the victim, Fran Benedetto. Fran was in an abusive marriage for 18 years when she finally had enough, took her son, and went into hiding under a new identity. This book is filled intensively with Fran's feelings about the relationship with her policeman husband, her reasons for staying with him, and her feelings/fear after leaving. I think it helped me understand a little better why a woman migh ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book compelled me to read but I didn't really like it. I was never really engaged with Beth and the writing style made it very difficult to empathize with her. The book is about domestic violence and a woman's escape and her new life, but so much of it is simply within Beth's head it is difficult to really get caught up in the story. It's almost like the reader is just thinking along with Beth and it's dull, everyday thoughts. Her relationships with the people she meets in La Plata are shal ...more
Feb 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If you don't like wife beater books, then this one's not for you. Fran Benedetto begins her first person narrative while sitting on a bench waiting for further instructions from a woman who's helping her run away from her alcoholic and wildly abusive husband (with their 10-year-old-son in tow). The book follows her as she begins her new life, which in my opinion is much better than reading about her getting beaten all the time wondering why she won't leave. Good insight into the horrifying and ...more
Jul 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Oprah books, okay? I just do. I love dark, heavy depressing subjects. I always have, most likely always will. I love reading about betrayal and revenge and cheats and liars. So I enjoyed this one. I didn't love it; it was sometimes predictable and wasn't always well organized, but it kept me engaged and wanting to hear more, which is all I really ask of a book: ENTERTAIN ME. If they do more, that's fantastic. This one wasn't fantastic, but I still enjoyed it and wanted to find out what wo ...more
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why but I found this book really intense and couldn't put it down. I learned for the first time that organizations exist that will relocate battered wives and set them up with completely new identities, and how difficult but very necessary this is for the wife and her child(ren). Anna Quindlen's style is easy to read and follow. In no time I felt I knew Fran and all her emotional and physical bruises well.
The main character was stupid from beginning to end, so it was difficult for me to muster up even a little sympathy for her tragic situation.
This was not a cheery book, but spousal abuse is not a happy subject. Even though it took Fran a long time to finally break away from her husband, I admired her for being strong and doing what she needed to do for her son. The author did a good job of making me feel Fran/Beth's emotions. I read a few reviews where the readers didn't like the ending, because it wasn't happy. Even though the ending was hard to read and made me very sad, I appreciated that the author didn't end it the way a book li ...more
Paige Brydson
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature readers
Recommended to Paige by: Bound Together
Shelves: owned-books
3 1/2 stars rounded up

Anna Quindlen paints a heart-wrenching picture of an abusive relationship and a mom who only wants the best for her child. I thoroughly enjoyed Quindlen's beautiful writing style and found myself very drawn in from the beginning. About halfway through I did have a hard time pressing on hence the 3 & 1/2 stars. Otherwise this would have EASILY been a 4 star book.

I will admit, it did have me in tears while reading it on my flight. Sorry to the lovely gentleman next to me
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction
A great, painful read

Reading this book felt like becoming the battered Fran Benedetto. Quindlen inhabited her character so thoroughly that reading it felt like walking around in Fran's shoes as she escaped her husband, raised her child and tried to build a new life for herself. So much of this book was devastating, but at the same time it felt run through with truth, so that you feel like you have to stay, to keep turning pages, to bear witness to this life. I don't know that I'll be in a hurry
3.5 stars for Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen.

Black and Blue is about Fran Benedetto who flees an emotionally and physically abusive marriage with her son, Robert. Fran's husband, Bobby is controlling, manipulative, and downright nasty to her, and after a particularly severe beating, she has had enough so she takes off.

The plot then relates what happens to Fran and Robert after they are relocated. It is a story of survival, of standing up for one's self, of new beginnings, and of hope for bett
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book - no real surprise given the author. A story of a woman whose marriage has slipped into one of domestic abuse, impacting not just the two of them but their young son as well.

But this book is powerfully crafted, and surprisingly, told in the first person. Ms. Quindlen manages to cover both the major dramatic moments, as well as the mundane moments that make up daily life. And she does an excellent job of putting a face to domestic abuse, and helps to explain why it happens
Jane Stewart
3 stars. It was good because it was thought provoking. But it had a downer quality. Not entertaining enough.

This book showed what Fran’s life was like during the first year after she ran from her violently abusive cop husband. She was in hiding. A group helped her by giving her a new name, id cards, a job, and an apartment. She’s not happy but doing ok. She makes a few friends. Her son is around age 11. He is doing ok but shows psychological scars from years of being around his mother getting b
Mrs. Tongate
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, teen
Page 71 "When I'd imagined marriage, when I was standing at the altar of St. Stannie's, I'd never imagined staring at the ceiling, the back of my hair matted with blood, willing my husband to get done and get off."

Page 72 "When we were dating, I thought it would stop when we were married. When we were married, I thought a baby would help. After the baby, I thought if we had another child he'd feel better. When Robert was 2, I couldn't leave because those were the formative years. When Rob
Adriane Devries
Black and Blue portrays the plight of an abused wife who, after years of living in domestic terror and shame, finally decides to flee with her son to a new, anonymous life. As the bruises from her most recent, most violent, encounter heal, her new life provides the peace and safety for her to heal emotionally, to discover who she really is underneath the trauma she’s been surviving. In particular, she uses the time to bond with her son and to watch carefully for signs that he, too, will become a ...more
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This could have been so much better. This story mixes the present situation with the past, in the same paragraphs. Often the past situation has little or nothing to do with the present situation. It's a mess.
As a story, this is weak. Nothing happens until the end. There's endless dull conversation, endless ordinary days. No tension, no development, nothing.
This is a weak novel.
Josephine (Jo)
Anna Quindlen paints a vivid picture of what it is like to be a 'battered wife'. Fran is married to Bobby Benedetto her first love, a handsome cop. They have a son called Robert and they seem, to the outside world, to be the perfect family. Fran however lives in fear of the next beating from Bobby. When he beats her so badly that her face is unrecognisable she decides that she must leave. Fran contacts a woman called Patty Bancroft who is head of an organisation that helps women in Fran's situat ...more
Lynn G.
"And there is another American profession that has a significantly more alarming problem with domestic abuse. I'd urge everyone who believes in zero tolerance for NFL employees caught beating their wives or girlfriends to direct as much attention—or ideally, even more attention—at police officers who assault their partners. Several studies have found that the romantic partners of police officers suffer domestic abuse at rates significantly higher than the general population. And while all partne ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mom and I had a conversation about sad books recently. She said that reading sad stories does not bother her. That if she can identify with the main character and their problems, it only helps her because she feels that she's not alone, that other people have similar issues. My reaction to sad books is a little different. When I can identify with the main character who is going through tough times, it brings me down and I have to keep reminding myself that it's just a book.
That being said, if
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ANNA QUINDLEN is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of eight novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, Every Last One, Still Life with Bread Crumbs, and Miller’s Valley. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a number one New York Times bests ...more
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“Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They're its finest fruits. Sometimes the only ones.” 82 likes
“Maybe when you were a kid you were so unsure of yourself that every school year was a time of reinvention; maybe only adults were stupid enough to think they knew exactly who they were.” 3 likes
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