Thursday, 26 January 2017

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen - Review by Carlyn

Bobby and Fran were married for eighteen years and had one son together. Bobby worked as a police officer and Fran worked as a nurse. To outsiders, they were a normal happy couple but behind closed doors Bobby would beat Fran up for the smallest of slights. Fran decides to leave Bobby for the sake of her son and the two go into hiding in Florida.

Fran and Robert start new lives with fake personal records. Fran and Robert become Beth and Robert Crenshaw who hail from Delaware instead of Brooklyn. While in Florida, Fran reflects on her relationship with Bobby and the effect it had on herself and her son.

This is the first book that I have read on my new Kindle. I have decided not to buy books anymore because I want to be clutter free. I actually didn’t know what this book would be about when I first purchased it except that it was on the booklist that Jon and I devised in 2011. I’ve still got about six more to go.

I don’t like sad books but I didn’t think this book was overly depressing.  The book mainly focused on Fran’s life away from Bobby with flashbacks on her relationship with him. I enjoyed reading how Fran started to regain her life and build new relationships with people in Florida. However, there were times when I thought that was just plodding along. I was just waiting for the moment when Bobby would track them down. I knew that Bobby would come and find them. I thought Fran could have done a better job at protecting herself though.

In the book, Bobby manages to find his family because Robert calls him. Although Robert doesn’t tell him where they are living, Bobby finds out from caller id on his phone. He uses the number to track down where they are. Fran finds out about this but she doesn’t do anything. I understand that she might not have known about caller id however, she was warned about how people can be tracked down from their phone number.
Anyway, I think a few self defense classes or buying a gun would have helped.

I also liked reading about Robert’s conflicting feelings that he had for his father. His father was always good to him and his parents shielded him from the violence. However, he always knew that his mother’s bruises were not from an accident. I liked how Robert hoped his dad would change and that they could all be a family again. I think that was realistic for a kid to feel that way.

I have some understanding of domestic violence even though I have not experienced it myself. I can understand how hard it is for some women to leave their abuser. It can be a variety of reasons but fear, more violence and the threat of death are usually top of the list. This book helped to remind me that you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

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