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The Crossley Baby (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

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Description

Bridget, Jean, and Sunny Crossley grow up in modest circumstances on Long Island, and all end up in the New York City of the 1980s. Free spirit Bridget, the oldest, is a well-traveled, sometime massage therapist in the East Village. Outspoken Jean is a corporate headhunter in double-breasted power suits who lives in a gleaming Upper East Side tower. Harvard-educated Sunny, the youngest and sweetest sister, drifts from eligible boyfriend to eligible boyfriend until she falls for a Harlem real estate developer and starts a family.

When Bridget dies unexpectedly during what should have been a routine operation, she leaves behind a ten-month-old girl named Jade. The big question becomes: Who should take the baby? The obvious and expert Sunny, or the never-at-home career woman Jean? The answer is, of course, more complicated than either sister could have anticipated.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Crossley Baby looks at first to be a novel about a family, but it's really a portrait of a (very difficult) lady. The Crossley sisters grow up poor and smart in a small town on Long Island. Later, they disperse over 1980s Manhattan, inhabiting very different corners. Bridget, the oldest, arrives from her travels in Nepal with a hippie wardrobe and a spaced-out attitude. Fresh from Columbia, acerbic Jean becomes a successful corporate headhunter. And the youngest, Sunny, Harvard-educated and pursued by glamorous men, marries an idealistic Harlem landlord and becomes a stay-at-home mom. When Bridget dies during a routine surgery, Jean-in-a-suit and Sunny-in-a-minivan are left to duke it out over the custody of Bridget's baby daughter Jade. The family dynamics catch fire nicely, but the book belongs to Jean. Witty, brittle, married to a secretive man and almost pathologically incapable of any show of emotion, Jean is an unlikely--but very likable--protagonist. Its a surprising pleasure to navigate throught the world with her. Author Jacqueline Carey has a disjointed, clever, often funny voice perfectly suited to Jean's off-kilter view of the world. Here she is at church: "Because Catholics have to attend mass every week, they value efficiency above all. The challenge is to speed up the ceremony without letting a fast walk break into a run." In short, Jean gets all the good lines. Without compromising Jean's dignity or slipping into sentiment, Carey reveals the emotional core of a woman with all the warmth of an ice cube. This is tricky work, beautifully done. --Claire Dederer

Bridget, Jean, and Sunny Crossley grow up in modest circumstances on Long Island, and all end up in the New York City of the 1980s. Free spirit Bridget, the oldest, is a well-traveled, sometime massage therapist in the East Village. Outspoken Jean is a corporate headhunter in double-breasted power suits who lives in a gleaming Upper East Side tower. Harvard-educated Sunny, the youngest and sweetest sister, drifts from eligible boyfriend to eligible boyfriend until she falls for a Harlem real estate developer and starts a family.

When Bridget dies unexpectedly during what should have been a routine operation, she leaves behind a ten-month-old girl named Jade. The big question becomes: Who should take the baby? The obvious and expert Sunny, or the never-at-home career woman Jean? The answer is, of course, more complicated than either sister could have anticipated.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


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