Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott

Wow, this book was so uplifting and hilarious, I think I'll go and kill myself now! Hey! If you ever wondered whether children get the shortest, sharpest, boringest end of the stick in life, this book if your proof. If you belligerently insist that people are essentially good; adultery, abuse, neglect, and disinterest in their children notwithstanding; then you too can cling to the adolescent narrator for comfort. She introduces fantasy and love into the lives of all the sad little children she knows, and she knows only the saddest of little children. In the end, most of them survive. Survive to continue to endure the effects of their parents' ignorance and selfishness! Hooray!

This book makes me look around and feel profound gratefulness for my big pretty house, my loving husband, and my two healthy happy children that I adore. It makes me feel lucky that I had parents who loved me and a cool nanny who played silly pretend games with me.

Here's something funny: The book itself references the maudlin sentimentality in which some books about dead children indulge. The Publisher's Weekly review of this book accuses it of indulging in maudlin sentimentality. I can't find the exact quote in the book at this moment, with my daughter sitting on my lap helping, but I remember thinking, "Hmm," at the time.