Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Because I was a child myself when I began to take care of other children, I saw them from the start as only a part of my realm, and saw my ascendance as a simple matter of hierarchy-- I was the oldest (if only by a year or two) among them, and as such, I would naturally be worshiped and glorified. I really thought no more of it than that. And when they clung to me and petted me, when the boys, lovesick, put their heads in my lap and the girls begged to wear my rings or comb my hair, I simply took it as my due. I was Titania among her fairies."

Child of My Heart – Alice McDermott

256 pages

Genre: Coming of Age; Friendship


Summary:  Fifteen-year-old Theresa is the most requested babysitter among the wealthy families in her town.  When her younger cousin, Daisy, comes to town to spend the summer with her, Theresa and Daisy form a solid bond as they make their way through the events that the season has to offer.  While the journey is sometimes tumultuous, especially when dealing with growing, feisty children, Theresa does some growing of her own as she transitions into adulthood.


Review:  My friend, Christina, recommended this book to me when I was going through a serious reading slump a year or two ago.  I started reading Child of My Heart sometime last year, put it down for some inexplicable reason, finally remembered that I had been reading this book a few days ago, and polished it off quickly.  See, everybody?  This is why you should only read one book at a time instead of ten.  As soon as I picked this book back up, I remembered the plot and was drawn back in immediately, which doesn’t always happen when I set something aside for awhile.  Child of My Heart was an absorbing, well-written book with a cast of characters that I’m sure will stick with me for quite some time.


Theresa was an exceptional narrator, and I loved watching her mature and grow throughout the book.  The observations she made were often very poignant, and it was a pleasure to accompany her on her journey.  It was easy to see the affection she held for the children in her care, and I thought her relationship with Daisy was especially sweet.  While I didn’t agree with all of Theresa’s decisions, especially as it related to Daisy, she had an incredibly authentic, distinct voice and was an excellent storyteller.


While this book was really well-written, it was also heartbreaking in a number of ways.  It was very hard to read about the abuse and neglect that some of the children experienced from their parents, but it was nice to see that at least Theresa was able to give them some of the love they sought.   
Additionally, because of the creep factor, the scenes with the aging painter are etched in my memory.  Even though Theresa was grown up in a lot of ways, these scenes emphasized how vulnerable and naïve she still was.


Child of My Heart is not a happy book by any means, but it’s definitely a good read.  If you enjoy well-written coming of age novels, give this book a try.  Just keep in mind that there is an ick factor with the aging painter, so if you’re uncomfortable reading things of that nature, you might want to skip this one.


Rating:  4/5

14 comments:

  1. Glad you liked it! Although I totally don't remember recommending it two years ago. Haha!

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    1. haha, when I was looking at goodreads the other day and saw you read it, too, I remembered you had originally recommended it to me. I had totally forgot up until that point. We're the best!

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  2. You keep reading books/authors that inspired my senior thesis in college. McDermott's book, Than Night, was one that inspired me. You'd probably like that one too.

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    1. Ooh, I'll have to check that one out! What other books did you use for your thesis?

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    2. (Besides this one and Blackbird House)

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  3. The only other one you haven't read is "I am one of you forever" by Fred Chappell. And that's normally not a book I'd recommend to you; it's kind of more of a guy book. But in the long run, I think you'd really like that one too. Lol. Maybe you need to read my thesis after all this...If I can find it. It's a collection of short short stories that are all connected (by one train ride).

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    1. Ahhh, you told me about that project; I didn't realize it was your thesis! If you can find it, I'd love to read it :)

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  4. That quote is amazing! Even if it's depressing, I have to read it now.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! It's definitely sad at times, but wonderfully written.

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