Blessings [Book]

Eileen gave a great review of the Emily Giffin book Where We Belong. If you haven’t read the comment  you can do so here.

I want to build on her comment and also the previous post by sharing my thoughts on a topically related book, published in 1989. The book is titled Blessings and is written by author Belva Plain.

Have you read it? I know at least one of my blog readers has (as you told me about this book!).

I found it to be a stronger story than Where We Belong with more accurate depiction of the mothers experiences and feelings.  The betrayal she feels, the sense of abandonment, isolation in maternity home, and more ran in parallel to my own. Where I felt the author got a wee bit off track is in the reunion, particularly in the reconnection of Jennie to Peter (natural father). It was very sweet and likely made for a great book/best seller but I struggle to see such events happening in real life.

Daughter finds Mother. Mother rejects daughter upon reunion (well, sort of, she puts restrictions on their contact). Daughter finds Father.  Father (that abandoned the mother during pregnancy) is all sugar and spice and kind enough to broker the relationship not only with the Mother and Daughter but with Mother’s fiance that she is estranged from due to the secrets in her past and the reunion.  Ehhhh, really?

I will offer that the scenario did cause me to crave more mothers sharing experiences with the natural fathers (or not) upon reunion.  My own story is quite complicated and makes for a much better story than Belva crafted. Ha.  Perhaps some day I should actually write that story, instead of bragging about it, hey? To date I have refrained from sharing much of the details thinking that the story is my daughters story and she should know it first.  However as the years go by (approaching ten since reunion) I feel less and less obligated to keep it wrapped up so tightly.

Of Blessings, Publishers Weekly says “…the various social strata of Jewish life; the complexities of family relationships; the consequences of following a deeply felt social conscience. At 36, Jennie Rakowsky is a lawyer specializing in defending the rights of impoverished women. She is about to marry Jay Wolfe, a widower with three young children, partner in a prestigious Manhattan law firm and, like Jennie, committed to saving the Green Marsh wildlife sanctuary from unscrupulous developers. Jennie’s well-ordered life is shattered when the illegitimate daughter she gave up for adoption at birth, now a personable but strong-willed girl of 19 called Jill Miller, appears on Jennie’s doorstep. To complicate matters, Jill’s father also reappears and creates profound misconceptions that force Jay and Jennie to cancel their wedding. The author stretches an awkward subplot concerning mob-connected real estate developers far too thin, but her mixture of romance, suspense, and deeply felt familial conflicts should leave her fans well entertained.”

Go read it and come back and share your thoughts. You can buy it on Amazon. It is available via paper back and Kindle.

3 Thoughts.

  1. Suz, I haven’t read either of these books, but want to now. “Blessings” sounds like a novel — is it? Although I do appreciate novels about adoption and reunion, if they’re done well. I loved “Then She Found Me” (the movie was awful though).

    In re: to writing your story… I wish you would. You are such a talented writer and I think the process would be cathartic, or at least freeing, as it was for me (not during, but eventually). It is YOUR story. Yes, it’s the story of how your daughter came to be, but the experience and aftermath belongs to you. Try not to worry about her reaction, or if she hears the story before others read it or not. I worried about everyone’s feelings while I was writing SCM — my son’s, his exes, my grandchildren’s, my parents, my sister and brother — and am glad that I pushed through the fear and did it anyway.

    • Yes, Denise. Both novels. One published last month, the other in 1989. I am confident you will prefer Blessings. Definitely read it and let us know your thoughts. It is definitely a goal of mine to write my book (or books!). I took that novel writing class a few years back, have been doing some research, joining a writing group. I just need, like most writers, to just sit down and do it. I find (again probably like most writers) I get too caught up in format, timing, sequence, etc. Again, just need to do it and bang out my first shitty draft. Stuck between fiction and memoir and well, just stuck. Good news is that middle of September Rich starts working weekends and I plan to use the days he is working and I am alone (kids with their Dad) to write. Wish me luck! Oh! I know you do!

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