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Publisher's Summary

In Alice McDermott's new work of fiction a woman recalls her bittersweet 15th summer. The beautiful child of older parents, raised on the eastern end of Long Island among the summer houses of the rich, Theresa is the town's most sough-after babysitter - cheerful, poised, an effortless storyteller, a wonder with children and animals. Among her charges this fateful summer is Daisy, her younger cousin, who has left a crowded working-class household in the city to spend a few quiet weeks in this bucolic place, under Theresa's benevolent eye.

Theresa must cope with the challenges presented by the neighborhood's waiflike children, the tumultuous households of her employers, the mysteriously compelling attentions of an aging painter, and Daisy's fragility of body and spirit as she makes the perilous crossing into adulthood.

McDermott's deeply etched rendering of all that happened that seemingly idyllic season explores the depths of everyday life with inimitable insight and grace.

©2002 Alice McDermott; (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"McDermott's gorgeous novel is laced with sly literary allusions and provocative insights into the enigma of sexual desire, the mutability of art, death's haunting presence, our need for fantasies, and the endless struggle to keep love pure." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Kathleen
  • La Grande, OR, United States
  • 04-21-03

Stuggling to finish this book

I found that at first the story held my attention. I'll admit I was curious if one of the "older men" was going to seduce Theresa. The storyline seemed like it would be a "coming of age" tale. But four hours into the book I am struggling to finish it. I am finding it hard to care about Theresa. The scene with the dead cat did it for me. My God, how many words can one reasonably write about such an event. I was beginning to feel like that poor cat - only instead of being hit by a car, I felt like I was dragged along for miles.

I'll probably finish listening to it, only because I am curious if Daisy has some kind of blood disease. Other than that, I really don't care what happens to any of the other characters.

Prior to listening to this book, I listened to "The Secret Life of Bees" - a definite 5+ star book in my opinion.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mary
  • Denver, CO, United States
  • 07-26-04

I did stick with it but it bugged me

I guess was interested in the characters or something, plus I've enjoyed the author's other books, so I stuck with it But I have to say, the sexual relationship between the old man and Theresa really disturbed me. In another era this guy would've gone to jail. And the fact that the character Theresa didn't seem damaged or troubled by it was even more confusing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Almost fell asleep...

this was like watching paint dry it was so dull, hard to imagine 7 hours and 10 minutes into it that Daisy has only been there for 4 days or so! Do we really need to hear every detail about their dull dull days. The relationship between Teresa (aka St. Francis of Assisi) and the artist has no credibility whatsoever.

Please please Audible tell your readers to stop trying to do foreign accents. They sound idiotic in general.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good story, good reader

I really enjoyed this book and it was really well read. Highly recommended.

  • Overall

Sweet, sad.. but really sweet

I liked the tension of not knowing exactly what "the problem" was and I was way off on my assumption....

more chick-lit, mommy-maudlin, but tender and sweet.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Elegant writing but PLOTLESS!

Wasted talent! The reader was great, the writer talented, but the story reeeeeeally sucked. What kind of fantasies is this writer having hooking up a 15 year old "model" beauty with a 70+ year old drunk! Eeeewwwwwww. This is sick.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful