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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
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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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Kathleen on 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.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Mary on 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.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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