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Child of My Heart
Child of My Heart
Author: Alice McDermott
In Alice McDermott's first work of fiction since her best-selling, National Book Award-winning Charming Billy, a woman recalls her fifteenth summer with the wry and bittersweet wisdom of hindsight. — The beautiful child of older parents, raised on the eastern end of Long Island, Theresa is her town's most sought-after babysitter--cheerful, poised...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780312422912
ISBN-10: 0312422911
Publication Date: 11/15/2003
Pages: 256
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 61 ratings
Publisher: Picador
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

DebbieinMaine avatar reviewed Child of My Heart on + 112 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
We all would have liked to have had a babysitter as wonderful as this kind young woman. Taking care of rich summer people's children gives this heroine wonderful experiences in growing up and adds a richness to her own young life. Really nice audiobook.
74flyers75 avatar reviewed Child of My Heart on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
***SPOILER*** I wanted to finish the book because I wanted to see the ending but I did not like it at all. If you are an animal lover, you will need to skip over the detailed 3 or 4 pages about a cat getting hit by a car and in detail every article of clothing its blood was on. Also, The 15 year old was constantly groped by grown men who she was a babysitter for and this continued the entire book. She did not tell her father or hull off and slap him. The girls' days were very repetitive. Quick book to read
reviewed Child of My Heart on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Coming-of-age novel showing the summer for a girl and her life on the shore baby-sitting and caring for a cousin who is in failing health. The parents plan their life around giving every advantage to their beautiful daughter. The author gives insight and grace to everyday life in Theresa's summer season.
reviewed Child of My Heart on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was an adult version of the Babysitter's club series. I'm not sure what the point of the novel was or what exactly happened to Daisy.
reviewed Child of My Heart on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Pretty good book. Kept me reading to see where it was going (with the characters)
Read All 31 Book Reviews of "Child of My Heart"

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reviewed Child of My Heart on + 9 more book reviews
This is an absolute gem of a book. Written about a young woman's experience from the perspective of a grown woman looking down the long pipe of experience, it rings true on every page.
reviewed Child of My Heart on + 44 more book reviews
Reading this beautifully told story was like stepping into, and becoming a part of the story itself, to become an additional character, or wish you were. That is how real these characters became and how much you came to care about them. Told in a gently meandering stlye, full of the rich details of nature and emotion, each sentence a song unto itself. Theresa, the only child of older parents, smart, exceptionally pretty, living on Long Island and attending a private girl's school, spends her summers caring for neighbor's pets and children. Alone much ! of the time, though not lonely, she is not a part of any social group and doesn't appear to have any girlfriends.
The story takes place in the summer of her 15th year. Her young cousin Daisy, eight years old and a favorite of hers, comes to spend
a few weeks away from her large (eight children) family. Theresa has a genuine way with children and pets, gentle, respectful, patient, appreciative,wise, weaving magical, enchanting stories and making creative, intuitive games out of simple activities. They adore her, as you come to in the course of the story. She truly cares for them, in a way the other adults in the story can't seem to bring themselves to. In fact they fall shamefully short of not only understanding, but into the catagory of negelect. This summer is a turning point in Theresa's life, and although it includes a brief, strange entanglement with an artist, father of one of her charges, it is her relationship to Daisy, "poor Daisy" that closes the door on her own idealic childhood. The author, Alice McDermott is a master of both word and mood. I was moved by this book in a way I can't quite grasp or describe, except to say that as I read it, I lived it. That I can enter the story through the skill of and author is without a doubt, remarkable! Read this book
hentrain avatar reviewed Child of My Heart on + 4 more book reviews
This book was recommended to me via FABIL, and it was a dud. I think it must have been recommended b/c I like ann patchett's writing. Alice McDermott is an Ann Patchett wannabe. The story was distractingly unrealistic, full of awkward metaphors and odd descriptions. I gave it 1.5 stars because it has a racy subplot that involves the unrealistically sweet and capable 15 year old protagonist seducing an elderly, world famous painter (with rotting teeth). When near-miss statuatory rape is the highlight of a book, you know it's time to move on.
The senseless, gruesome deaths of numerous scruffy little animals provide a not particularly subtle foil to the main plot line.
izzystella avatar reviewed Child of My Heart on
Quite honestly, it was a little boring. A girl's summer as a babysitter on the East End of Long Island. Yawn......
reviewed Child of My Heart on + 44 more book reviews
Unabridged - 6 cassettes - 8.5 hours
Readnmachine avatar reviewed Child of My Heart on + 1410 more book reviews
Well-written but predictable, Alice McDermott's âChild of My Heartâ charts a Long Island summer when a precocious teen, collector of broken things, crosses the threshold of adulthood.

Growing up an only child on a part of Long Island which seems to have only summer people and their assorted young offspring in it, Theresa babysits, walks dogs, comforts the emotionally neglected neighbor kids, and opens her heart especially to her cousin Daisy, the middle child of seven siblings, whose fey presence immediately sets up an internal tension. The events of the summer's end advance inexorably, and some readers will drag their feet in an attempt to avoid what has been foreordained from the very beginning.

Theresa is also walking another tightrope â fifteen and beautiful, she attracts the attention of more than one of the adult males on the island, and here is where the story drifts into deep and uncomfortable waters. Theresa seems preternaturally aware of her own sexuality, neither encouraging nor discouraging her lecherous elder suitors, handling their attentions and her responses to them with an almost clinical detachment. The growing attraction between the teen and a 70-year-old artist is, frankly, uncomfortable to read, though the actions are never described in anything but G-rated terms.

Theresa is so capable with her young charges, so level-headed, so tenderly attentive to Daisy, that she is scarcely believable as a real teen. Beautifully written, yes â and the characteristics McDermott endows her with are absolutely critical to the unfolding of the plot. But there are moments when the reader wants her to simply break loose and BE fifteen years old â moon over a local boy, listen to pop radio, consider her shortcomings in a mirror, and daydream about what she will do when she grows up. That's all irrelevant to the story McDermott is determined to tell, so it's simply not addressed.

There are some chewy notions in here â child neglect that doesn't always depend on physical violence; the dangerous waters of burgeoning sexuality that borders on pedophilia; an adult society that is parallel to but not really involved with its young â but most of it gets buried under McDermott's portrait of a not-quite-woman shouldering the cloak of the Maiden Goddess.
reviewed Child of My Heart on + 222 more book reviews
Very good story, but sad and on the depressing side.


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