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The Resource Small blessings : a novel, Martha Woodroof

Small blessings : a novel, Martha Woodroof

Label
Small blessings : a novel
Title
Small blessings
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Martha Woodroof
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Tom Putnam, an English professor at a Virginia women's college, has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. For more than ten years, his wife Marjory has been a shut-in, a fragile and frigid woman whose neuroses have left her fully dependent on Tom and his formidable mother-in-law, Agnes Tattle. Tom considers his unhappy condition self-inflicted, since Marjory's condition was exacerbated by her discovery of Tom's brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess. But when Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the campus bookstore's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to dinner, her first social interaction in a decade, Tom wonders if it's a sign that change is on the horizon. And when Tom returns home that evening to a letter from the poetess telling him that he'd fathered her son, Henry, and that Henry, now ten, will arrive by train in a few days, it's clear change is coming whether Tom's ready or not. For readers of Helen Simonson and Anna Quindlen, Small Blessings is funny, heart-warming and poignant, with a charmingly imperfect cast of cinema-ready characters. Readers will fall in love with the novel's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life is veering irrevocably off track, the track changes in ways we never could have imagined"--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • In Woodruff’s charming debut, an affable Shakespeare professor’s world is rocked by three unexpected events in quick succession. When Tom Putnam first meets Rose Callahan, who has just been hired at the university bookstore, he’s instantly attracted to her. But aside from one brief affair 10 years earlier, Tom has been a devoted husband to fearful, damaged Marjory for more than two decades. Soon after the couple meets Rose, Marjory dies in a car crash, setting both her husband and her mother, Agnes, who has been helping Tom care for Marjory, free. But the biggest change comes when Tom receives a letter from his ex-lover, informing him that he has a 10-year-old son, Henry, who she’s sending to live with him. When Henry arrives, he’s only 6 and very clearly not Tom’s biological child, but Tom quickly learns how little that matters in the face of the love he, Agnes, and Rose come to feel for the boy. A sweet exploration of the way unexpected twists in life can bring surprising rewards. -- Huntley, Kristine (Reviewed 07-01-2014) (Booklist, vol 110, number 21, p35)
  • /* Starred Review */ Tom Putnam is a professor in a small Virginia college, a nowhere man marking time in a life filled with small classes and an increasingly confined home life. Sharing caregiving for his disturbed wife Marjory with Agnes, his feisty mother-in-law, leaves him little time for much else. Within the span of a few swift days, Tom's wife dies in a car crash and he receives a note from a former visiting poet and brief lover telling him of his son, whom she is sending to live with him. Ten-year-old Henry steps off the train with his birth certificate, a brief note, and his backpack. Amid funeral plans for Marjory, Tom and Agnes begin to make a home for Henry, with help from Rose Callahan who works at the college bookstore. Henry is a quiet, well-mannered boy with a rocky past who blossoms in the care of Tom, Agnes, and Rose. With many twists and turns and a cast of likable, very real characters, this is a thoughtful and enjoyable story. Readers will cheer for Tom and Rose who cautiously take a risk to choose happiness. What could have become a sappy tale in less capable hands is a warm, caring, and thoroughly entertaining debut that reads remarkably well. VERDICT NPR pro Woodroof is no novice writer, and her first novel will have readers eager for more. Essential for fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, 2/24/14.]— Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA --Susan Clifford Braun (Reviewed April 1, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 6, p85)
  • In this debut novel, the arrival of a spunky new manager at the local bookstore heralds a sea change in the college and community it serves.Tom Putnam's life has been virtually unchanged since he completed graduate school. He teaches English at a picturesque small-town college in Virginia. He lives in faculty housing with his wife, Marjory, a meek, troubled woman, and her mother, Agnes, who helps with Marjory's care. Tom is not necessarily happy, but he is dutiful, and he and Agnes make a good team. He enjoys his work and has a sort-of friend on the faculty, stuffed-shirt Russell Jacobs, and a sort-of nemesis, brash Iris Benson, but both are largely background to his daily, plodding existence. Late one summer, Rose Callahan appears on campus to invigorate programming at the bookstore. Simultaneously, immense changes descend on Tom's life: Marjory dies in an automobile accident, and a mysterious boy arrives on a train claiming to be the product of Tom's one, brief extramarital affair. Rose, though unconnected to these events, comes to the forefront of Tom's life as they unfold. With her forthright self-confidence and ease around others, Tom is drawn to her magnetically, and the feeling appears mutual. Soon, the caregiving duo of Tom and Agnes expand their circle to include Rose and the boy, Henry. Rose's signature qualities, however, also draw Tom's colleagues—and their instabilities—out of the woodwork, complicating the surprising ease of this new family's growth. With the sheer number of dramatic plot points, the novel should read like pulp, and there are quite a few loose ends to tie up in the conclusion, but Woodroof's light hand and compassion for her characters make the story flow naturally. The question of what makes a family is gently asked and answered throughout. A pleasant read about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances and the optimism that guides them.(Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2014)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10321721
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1947-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Woodroof, Martha
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3623.O6685
LC item number
S63 2014
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • College teachers
  • Husband and wife
  • Life change events
  • Fathers and sons
  • FICTION / Literary
Label
Small blessings : a novel, Martha Woodroof
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1030434
Extent
pages cm
Isbn
9781250040527
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2014000134
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250040527
  • (OCoLC)857982004
Label
Small blessings : a novel, Martha Woodroof
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1030434
Extent
pages cm
Isbn
9781250040527
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2014000134
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250040527
  • (OCoLC)857982004

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