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The Blessings
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

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Published:
Grand Central Publishing 2014
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description
"Bursting with wise observations." — J. Courtney Sullivan, author of The Engagements and Maine
"Gleams like a jewel." — The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Stunning. . . Unique and unforgettable." — Glamour
Hailed as one of the best books of 2014 by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Elise Juska's The Blessings is a moving novel about a tight-knit Irish Catholic clan over the course of twenty years.

The Blessings rally around one another in times of celebration and those of sorrow, coming together for departures and arrivals, while its members harbor private struggles and moments of personal joy. College student Abby ponders homesickness in her first semester away from her Philadelphia home, while her cousin Stephen commits a petty act of violence that takes a surprising turn, and their aunt Lauren faces a crisis in her storybook marriage she could never have foreseen. Through the lens of one unforgettable family, this beautifully moving novel explores how our families define us and how we shape them in return.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/06/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781455552054
ASIN:
B00EXTVSEG
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Elise Juska. (2014). The Blessings. Grand Central Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Elise Juska. 2014. The Blessings. Grand Central Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Elise Juska, The Blessings. Grand Central Publishing, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Elise Juska. The Blessings. Grand Central Publishing, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
706631d8-5567-fe5e-2303-d42919ad409c
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:20:13
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 18:20:13
Last Metadata Check:
Aug 07, 2022 09:45:30
Last Metadata Change:
Jul 27, 2022 07:28:21
Last Availability Check:
Aug 07, 2022 09:45:33
Last Availability Change:
Jul 20, 2020 13:56:50
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Aug 11, 2022 02:08:35

OverDrive Product Record

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      • fileAs: Juska, Elise
      • bioText: Elise Juska's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Good Housekeeping, The Hudson Review, Harvard Review, and many other journals and magazines. Her story "The Way I Saw the World Then" was published in The Missouri Review and cited by The Best American Short Stories 2010. She is currently the director of the undergraduate Creative Writing program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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shortDescription
"Bursting with wise observations." — J. Courtney Sullivan, author of The Engagements and Maine
"Gleams like a jewel." — The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Stunning. . . Unique and unforgettable." — Glamour
Hailed as one of the best books of 2014 by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Elise Juska's The Blessings is a moving novel about a tight-knit Irish Catholic clan over the course of twenty years.

The Blessings rally around one another in times of celebration and those of sorrow, coming together for departures and arrivals, while its members harbor private struggles and moments of personal joy. College student Abby ponders homesickness in her first semester away from her Philadelphia home, while her cousin Stephen commits a petty act of violence that takes a surprising turn, and their aunt Lauren faces a crisis in her storybook marriage she could never have foreseen. Through the lens of one unforgettable family, this beautifully...
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title
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fullDescription
"Bursting with wise observations." — J. Courtney Sullivan, author of The Engagements and Maine
"Gleams like a jewel." — The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Stunning. . . Unique and unforgettable." — Glamour
Hailed as one of the best books of 2014 by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Elise Juska's The Blessings is a moving novel about a tight-knit Irish Catholic clan over the course of twenty years.

The Blessings rally around one another in times of celebration and those of sorrow, coming together for departures and arrivals, while its members harbor private struggles and moments of personal joy. College student Abby ponders homesickness in her first semester away from her Philadelphia home, while her cousin Stephen commits a petty act of violence that takes a surprising turn, and their aunt Lauren faces a crisis in her storybook marriage she could never have foreseen. Through the lens of one unforgettable family, this beautifully moving novel explores how our families define us and how we shape them in return.
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from February 10, 2014
        Several generations of the Blessings, a Philadelphia-based, Irish-American family, come beautifully to life in a deceptively simple tale that examines the foibles, disappointments and passions that tie family members together. Juska (One for Sorrow, Two for Joy) traces the trajectory of several family members’ lives over a 15-year period, starting with college student Abby, who comes to understand her family’s supportive and close-knit nature only after leaving for college. The novel goes on to introduce the other Blessings, including Abby’s siblings, Alex and Meghan; her parents, Ann and Dave; and many cousins, aunts, and uncles. The author brings a depth of understanding to the human condition, including in her descriptions of Abby’s cousin Stephen, on the road to becoming a ne’er-do-well; her uncle Patrick, a successful eye doctor, contemplating infidelity; and Meghan coming to terms with her eating disorder. Abby’s grandmother Helen’s dementia is among the more difficult family issues raised. Despite these challenges, the Blessings rally round each other—whether that attention is wanted or not—and the reader leaves feeling lucky to have spent some time in their presence. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2014
        Juska explores the collective experiences, traditions and loyalties of a close-knit family and the perspectives of individual members as they journey through a span of 30 years. Like many other middle-class Philadelphia Irish-Catholic clans, the Blessings are tight. They celebrate every holiday in time-honored fashion (men in front of the television or tending the grill; women preparing side dishes and cleaning up), rally together during crises and proudly acknowledge important milestones. It's not surprising, then, that when oldest brother John succumbs to cancer shortly after his father's fatal heart attack, his illness and death become the definitive reference points in the Blessings' lives. Widow Lauren, the mother of two young children, is an only child and relied on John to help her feel comfortable among the Blessings. She faces the death of her husband as many widows do--by withdrawing from others--but as time passes, she helps another family member and becomes an integral part of the clan. Her sister-in-law Kate is married to the youngest Blessing, Patrick, and blames his grief over his brother's death for her initial failure to conceive; later, Patrick evaluates the direction his life has taken. John's sisters cope privately with problems as their children grow older and the family continues to commemorate John's life on the anniversary of his death. Ann and her husband, Dave, become increasingly alienated and finally divorce; their eldest daughter pursues life and love in NYC, their academically gifted son does the unexpected, and their youngest daughter battles an eating disorder. Sister Margie has tried to stifle anxiety over a confession her husband made years ago, but now her eldest son is in trouble, and although she knows taking certain actions will only cause her more pain, she insists that her husband unbury the past and help him. Juska's story is like leafing through an old family photo album, where typically unremarkable moments are captured in black and white. What makes the album unique isn't its contents but the way each photo abuts or overlays the next. The author (One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, 2007, etc.) has created an ordinary fictitious family and stitched together a multilayered, sympathetic account of its members' lives.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2014

        This family saga explores the ups and downs of a close-knit extended Irish American clan in Philadelphia over a couple of decades. Like so many people, the Blessings discover that life often doesn't turn out to be what they had hoped. Among their trials are unhappy marriages, divorce, and teenagers who go badly off the rails. Most poignantly, the novel centers on the death of John Blessing, a young husband and father, and the effect this tragedy has on his widow, children, and entire family. In the wrong hands, a family story such as this could be either too sentimental or too much of a soap opera, but we are in good hands with award-winning short story author Juska. She is a shrewd observer of human nature and has an outstanding ability to bring her characters to life on the page. The author's wise decision to focus on a different relative in each chapter also makes the novel stand out. VERDICT This wonderfully readable work about family life will have you eagerly turning pages to find out what happens to characters about whom you really care. [See Prepub Alert, 11/18/13.]--Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2014
        The Blessings are a large, close-knit Irish Catholic family. Living within a short radius of Philadelphia, all four generations of the Blessing clan gather together for every life event, no matter how big or small. When young John Blessing is taken by a fast-progressing cancer, the family comes together as always, offering physical and emotional support to John's widow and two young children. The years go by, and new trials are faced, from medical emergencies to children leaving for college, but the shock waves of losing John reverberate through the family for many years to come. With each chapter, Juska takes readers into the life of a different family member, honoring the individuality that blossoms even amid the strong bonds of a family's deep love. She draws intimate and detailed sketches of each of these characters, but the ultimate portrait is of the Blessing family as a whole. This heartfelt tribute to the ups and downs of a large, devoted family is warm, uplifting, and recommended for readers from families of all sizes.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

popularity
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publisher
Grand Central Publishing
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