Blessings is the story of three lost souls - one young, one old, and one abandoned. It is a beautiful tale of the end of lives and the beginning of others, no matter your age.
Skip Cuddy is an unlikely father. His own parents were certainly not role models. His friends have gotten him into serious trouble with the law. And yet, when he finds the baby on his boss' doorstep, he determines to keep the child.
Mrs. Blessings is old and alone, mostly by choice. She was never much for babies or children, and she finds her young caretaker a nuisance.
Until she comes to like him.
And then, she finds out about the child.
This book is not my usual choice to read. It is more mainstream fiction with romantic elements. (Honestly, I picked it up at the local Goodwill for .99 cents because of the cover.) It also is a very reflective piece, with the characters' internal dialogue, about the past and the present, making up the largest chunk of the tale. And yet, the author's delivery works in this story. The plot does not lag. The introspection is not distracting or boring.
And there's that baby all the way through. What will Skip do with the child? It is almost certain something will happen that prevents him from keeping it. Or will it?
I was certainly not ready for the twist at the end of this tale. I should have seen it coming, but the author wove the story in such a way that I passed right over the clues.
I was also not ready for my own introspection at my life's choices. Where would they land me in my last years? Would I regret the choices I made? Would I be glad of them?
This was also as much a story about Blessings as it was the people. Quindlen's ability to bring the old house and grounds to life, and give them a plot and story of their own, is par excellence. I could feel the summer breeze on my face and arms. I could smell the summer rain and hear the pounding of the spring storms on the roofs. I commiserated with the old place as it aged, and yet, as it too, at times, was resurrected and given a second birth at the hands of Skip Cuddy and the wallet of Lydia Blessing.
I highly recommend this read, although I will warn readers that there is cussing at the beginning of the book. It is well-placed and largely the product of one particular character. There are some unsavory aspects to yet another character, but those are addressed at the end of the novel and they do drive the plot forward. The situation is not overtly potrayed either.
I will also add that apparently this book was made into a movie in 2003, a year after the book was published, with Mary Tyler Moore as Lydia Blessing. I might have to check it out!
To purchase the book on Amazon go here.
For information about the movie go here.
For more on Anna Quindlen and her website go here.