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Rescue: A Novel Hardcover – November 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (November 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316020729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316020725
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Shreve's smooth if unsurprising latest (after A Change in Altitude), EMT Peter Webster is drawn to a woman he rescues at the scene of a one-car drunk driving accident. Webster is well intentioned, but alcoholic Sheila, with her dangerous history, could prove beyond his efforts to save her, though the two embark on an affair that evolves into marriage and parenthood with the birth of their daughter, Rowan. Sheila's drinking, meanwhile, escalates until she causes another accident, this time with young Rowan in the car, causing Webster to send Sheila away to avoid jail time. Years later, with not a word from long-gone Sheila, Rowan is a typically turmoil-ridden high school senior--moody, her grades slipping, drinking--and her tribulations prompt Webster to reach out to Sheila to help his daughter. Webster and Sheila are more type than character--good-hearted man, damaged woman incapable of love--and the paramedic rescue scenes feel mostly like opportunities for Shreve to show off her research. Still, the story runs like a well-oiled machine and should sate the author's fans. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Paramedic Pete Webster is worried sick about his daughter, Rowan, a high-school senior whom he has raised single-handedly ever since she was two. Rowan has adopted very untypical behavior, ignoring her studies and drinking heavily. It brings back bad memories of his ex-wife, Sheila. He pulled her from a car wreck while on the job and soon fell madly in love with her both for her beauty and her irreverent sense of humor. When she became pregnant, he married her though he was only 21. They were very happy until Sheila began drinking all day, every day. Now Pete is worried that their daughter believes she is doomed to repeat her mother’s mistakes; he decides to contact Sheila, whom he has not seen or heard from for 16 years. The prolific Shreve brings her customary care to this thoroughly absorbing, perfectly paced domestic drama. Alternating between the life-and-death scenarios Pete encounters on the job and the fraught family tension between father and daughter, Shreve pulls readers right into her story. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Since 2001, Shreve’s books have spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller lists; her sixteenth novel will no doubt follow suit. --Joanne Wilkinson

More About the Author

Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). After graduating from Tufts University, she taught high school for a number of years in and around Boston. In the middle of her last year, she quit (something that, as a parent, she finds appalling now) to start writing. "I had this panicky sensation that it was now or never."

Joking that she could wallpaper her bathroom with rejections from magazines for her short stories ("I really could have," she says), she published her early work in literary journals. One of these stories, "Past the Island, Drifting," won an O. Henry prize. Despite this accolade, she quickly learned that one couldn't make a living writing short fiction. Switching to journalism, Shreve traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where she lived for three years, working as a journalist for an African magazine. One of her novels, The Last Time They Met, contains bits and pieces from her time in Africa.

Returning to the United States, Shreve was a writer and editor for a number of magazines in New York. Later, when she began her family, she turned to freelancing, publishing in the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine and dozens of others. In 1989, she published her first novel, Eden Close. Since then she has written 14 other novels, among them The Weight of Water, The Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding in December, Body Surfing, Testimony,and A Change in Altitude.

In 1998, Shreve received the PEN/L. L. Winship Award and the New England Book Award for fiction. In 1999, she received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey, and The Pilot's Wife became the 25th selection of Oprah's Book Club and an international bestseller. In April 2002, CBS aired the film version of The Pilot's Wife, starring Christine Lahti, and in fall 2002, The Weight of Water, starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn, was released in movie theaters.

Still in love with the novel form, Shreve writes only in that genre. "The best analogy I can give to describe writing for me is daydreaming," she says. "A certain amount of craft is brought to bear, but the experience feels very dreamlike."

Shreve is married to a man she met when she was 13. She has two children and three stepchildren, and in the last eight years has made tuition payments to seven colleges and universities.

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Customer Reviews

I have read a number of Anita Shreve's books.
Carol H. Gordon
There was little to no character development and the story line was predictable.
mssoconfused
It riuned the book and I stopped reading it with a few pages to go.
betsy heiner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bella Lou on December 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am a big Anita Shreve fan and have read and own all of her books. I anxiously await their arrival. This one I got from the library and have to say I am glad I did not spend money on it. It is a maybe average book with none of what I enjoy and respect about this author. While I have not always loved all of her other books her writing has always captured me. Not this time...and honestly given the "story" the fact it all works out so perfectly is somewhat disappointing but unrealistic. I only gave it 3 stars (instead of 2) as I did feel compelled to finish it.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As Rescue begins, Peter Webster, a paramedic in Vermont, is living with his seventeen year old daughter Rowan. Webster, is concerned about his daughter, her grades are slipping, she's drinking, rebellious, angry and distant. She has not been accepted into the college of her choice, Middlebury. Webster is reminded of earlier days when he met Rowan's mother.

Eighteen years earlier when Webster was a new EMT, one of his first assignments was responding to a one-car accident involving a young woman, Sheila Arsenault. Sheila had been driving drunk and crashed her car. Hospitalized and in serious condition, she recovers from the accident, but doesn't seem to learn her lesson about drinking. Webster can't seem to stop thinking about Sheila, and the two immediately begin a physical relationship. When Sheila quickly becomes pregnant with Rowan, the relationship moves into high gear, even though Sheila has just escaped from an abusive relationship. Webster and Sheila marry, and Rowan is born soon after. Sheila is not prepared for the stresses of motherhood, and she begins sneaking alcohol. When her drinking results in an accident, that could have threatened the life of the couple's toddler, Sheila is sent away to avoid jail time, and Webster raises his daughter with the help of his parents. A crisis year's later, sends Webster searching for Sheila.

I was afraid of giving spoilers as I wrote this review, but then realized that the product overview gives away quite a bit of the sparse plot. I thought the title was perfect as Websters job involves "rescues", and he tries to do the same for the women in his life.

The story was a quick read, and for me there really were not any surprises or plot techniques that made this story anything more than an average read for me.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Anachronism on December 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One aspect of Anita Shreve's work I admire tremendously is her range. She is unafraid to tackle new concepts and scenarios. She is willing to tell stories about different types of people in very different situations. In Rescue, Pete Webster is a paramedic in rural Vermont who, at 21, impregnated and married an alcoholic beauty from Boston's suburbs.

These are entirely new characters for Shreve, and the story is compelling. Like most of her novels, she covers more than one important period of the protagonist's life. In that way, she is much more of a classic novelist than many of today's writers.

Webster's history is divided into two parts. We start with the crash scene where Webster meets Sheila Arsenault and extracts her from her ruined car. They date, and she is soon pregnant. They marry, and he has to balance work, an alcoholic wife and an infant daughter.

The second part reverses the first. Having raised his daughter, Rowan, from the time she was two, he struggles to get to know her as a young adult. High school graduation approaches and she is on the verge of making the same life-changing mistakes her mother made. He finds Sheila and brings her back into Rowan's life.

As a Shreve fan, I enjoyed the novel. It's filled with her insights into relationships and those little symbols and sayings that perfectly capture personal development. She is unusually gifted. The problem I have with Rescue is that it's sloppy and too short. We never get to know Sheila, except through brief encounters with Webster. We don't have enough to care about her, and understand why Webster would value her enough to want to bring her back to Vermont. We need to see her through more eyes, through more events. This is a book that too rapidly cycles through the major events.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mary J. Gramlich VINE VOICE on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Peter Webster was 21 when he literally saved Sheila Arsenault's life. His EMT team was responding to the call for medical assistance and they met. While these were less than ideal circumstances a relationship was formed and Sheila grabbed on with both hands to Webster's lifeline. Webster had the one and only thing Sheila craved - normalcy.

Sheila comes with excessive baggage to the relationship but Webster ignores it all and falls in love despite the huge problems. They have a daughter, Rowan and Webster prays that this will bring Sheila to her senses and have her stop the spiral of destruction she keeps putting herself into. But with all hopes and dreams this one for Webster is short-lived and he takes the matter of caring for his daughter in his own hands. Sheila cannot be a mother and a drunk and when he made her choose it left Webster alone to raise Rowan.

Life seemed ideal until Rowan hit 17 and beyond the regular adolescent angst Rowan turns angry toward him and Webster is powerless to figure out why. He reaches out to Sheila who has been gone for 15 years and the timing could not have been better as Rowan has found herself in a situation even an EMT can't save her from. Will Sheila being back help or hurt the life Webster has made he doesn't know but for Rowan any risk is worth taking.

This book is one that forces the reader to do self-examination in that it makes you think "what am I willing to risk for the sake of my child". More than likely it is everything and we are of course accepting of what the casualties this decision might bring. Anita Shreve always writes thought provoking books but this one hits home because we all at some time have to decide whether we are a help to another
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