jayellebee's Blog

December 14, 2012


Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 9:28 pm

Religious people the world over spend much of December preparing for their various holidays.  Rites and traditions are repeated.  Friends and family are re-united.  One could be forgiven for expecting the year to end on a peaceful note.  Expectations are not always met.

A young man opened fire in an Oregon mall a few days ago.  This morning, another lost soul went on a rampage in a Connecticut elementary school.  Innocent children were slaughtered.  I listened to the news thinking the world has run amok.  The crazies are in charge.

Weeks ago, before anyone could have foreseen these mind-numbing events, I picked up Joan Allen‘s recording of Anna Quindlen’s best-selling book, Blessingsfrom hundreds of options on my local library shelf.  I don’t know why.  Thrillers and mysteries are more likely to grab my attention.  And yet, this chance selection turned out to be just what I needed.

Blessings is a gentle story with a bucolic setting.  Quindlen weaves an intricate plot with characters so human I couldn’t help but care what would happen to them.  We writers are often warned to use “back story” with caution as it tends to slow down the action, and yet under Quinlen’s talented touch, such musings enrich as they inform.  Her characters’ thoughts swim from the present to the past and back again as smoothly as a dolphin breaks the surface of calm water for a breath of fresh air.  Each day I have looked forward to finding time to listen to the next chapter.

This afternoon, as my heart ached for the families who lost children in Connecticut, I listened to the final chapter of Blessings.  The ending satisfied as few books do.  The good guys did what good guys should even though they faced challenges and set-backs.  For a brief time Blessings allowed me to believe in a safe and sane world.  And that was just what my heart needed on this most tragic day.

Blessings Cover



  1. Thanks for the great book review. It was a terrible day of yet another massacre. So senseless. Yet the day before A labor union worker beat up up a right to work advocate and a tent with people in it were trampled on as if it were nothing. I feel the tenor of this country has turned to hate & violence as being acceptable- with no consequences. It will be interesting to find out more about this mentally unstable killer..

    Comment by Vivian — December 15, 2012 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  2. Amen! We all need some respite from the horror of events such as those in Newtown, Connecticut. That poor guy was obviously deeply troubled to take out his wrath on innocent children. No one is held accountable anymore. Violence, sexual assault, substance abuse, etc. are consdered “the new normal.” (I detest that expression.) Well, these behaviors are not normal and those who turn the other way and don’t speak up when a young person is obviously troubled, need to shoulder some of the blame. Self-expression is fine. Diversity is fine. But when it crosses over into mental illness and results in loss of life, people who know these deeply disturbed people need to speak up and do what it takes to get them the help they need. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen, and the other children and their families who have to find a way to get on with their lives after suffering this horrible tragedy.

    Comment by Bee Hylinski - Author and Baseball Fan — December 16, 2012 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  3. Yes! You say it all and so well.

    Comment by Jean Georgakopoulos — December 28, 2012 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

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