The Third Child

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9780066211169: The Third Child

The renowned novelist and poet Marge Piercy tells a contemporary love story set in the twin realms of college and national politics

In the politically prominent Dickinson family, ambition comes first, and Melissa, the third child, has always felt that she comes last. Going away to college offers her a chance at a life free from her brilliant mother's constant scrutiny and her famous father's lack of interest.

There she meets Blake, a man of mixed race and apparently unknown parentage. His adoptive parents are lawyers whose defense of death- row cases has brought them head-to-head with Melissa's father, the former governor of Pennsylvania who is now a U.S. senator.

Melissa and Blake's attraction is immediate; their affair, fiery. Yet Blake is keeping a dangerous secret from Melissa, one that could destroy them -- and their families.

Dealing with themes of love, honesty, identity, and the consequences of ambition, this thoughtful, beautifully written story is a remarkable and provocative page-turner.

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About the Author:

Marge Piercy is the author of the memoir Sleeping with Cats and fifteen novels, including Three Women and Woman on the Edge of Time, as well as sixteen books of poetry, including Colors Passing Through Us, The Art of Blessing the Day, and Circles on the Water. She lives on Cape Cod, with her husband, Ira Wood, the novelist and publisher of Leapfrog Press.

From Publishers Weekly:

A privileged, lonely 19-year-old takes refuge in a doomed love affair in this 16th novel by Piercy (Three Women, etc.), a biting, contemporary take on Romeo and Juliet and an acidic commentary on Washington political culture. Melissa Dickinson is the neglected, needy third child of Republican senator Dick Dickinson and his cold, scheming wife, Rosemary. In her first year at Wesleyan, she meets Blake Ackerman, a classmate who is both dark-skinned and Jewish, qualities sure to distress her parents. Melissa is ripe for the attention Blake lavishes on her after he discovers that she is Dick Dickinson's daughter. He tells Melissa he's the adopted son of Si and Nadine Ackerman, liberal criminal lawyers whose defense of death row cases has been a thorn in Dickinson's side for years, but doesn't immediately inform her that he's also the mixed-race son of Toussaint Parker, a convicted "cop-killer" whose execution Dickinson, a former Pennsylvania governor, failed to stay. They fall into an intensely symbiotic relationship fueled by sexual compatibility ("Sometimes she felt as if they were rooting, digging through each other's bodies trying to sink deeper and deeper within") as well as by Melissa's resentment of her emotionally inaccessible family ("she had wanted to punish them for their long disregard of her") and Blake's desire for vengeance, which includes hacking into Melissa's parents' computer to find evidence that might destroy "King Richard's" career, but ends up destroying much more. Piercy's explosive resolution is rather abrupt and over the top, but it affirms that the most treacherous traps are those set by ignorance and innocence.
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Book Description Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.: William Morrow & Co, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 342 Pages. Book Description: The renowned novelist and poet Marge Piercy tells a contemporary love story set in the twin realms of college and national politics In the politically prominent Dickinson family, ambition comes first, and Melissa, the third child, has always felt that she comes last. Going away to college offers her a chance at a life free from her brilliant mother's constant scrutiny and her famous father's lack of interest. There she meets Blake, a man of mixed race and apparently unknown parentage. His adoptive parents are lawyers whose defense of death- row cases has brought them head-to-head with Melissa's father, the former governor of Pennsylvania who is now a U.S. senator. Melissa and Blake's attraction is immediate; their affair, fiery. Yet Blake is keeping a dangerous secret from Melissa, one that could destroy them -- and their families. Dealing with themes of love, honesty, identity, and the consequences of ambition, this thoughtful, beautifully written story is a remarkable and provocative page-turner. About the Author Marge Piercy is the author of the memoir Sleeping with Cats and fifteen novels, including Three Women and Woman on the Edge of Time, as well as sixteen books of poetry, including Colors Passing Through Us, The Art of Blessing the Day, and Circles on the Water. She lives on Cape Cod, with her husband, Ira Wood, the novelist and publisher of Leapfrog Press. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-918632870

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