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The Crossley Baby Hardcover – July 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345459903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345459909
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,369,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

The unexpected death of Bridget Crossley-the single mother of the eponymous baby-is the event that kicks this wry, quirky novel by Carey (Good Gossip) into gear. Make that low gear: narrative drive is not the author's strong suit. Opening in New York City in 1990, the story hinges on which of Bridget's two younger sisters will care for 10-month-old Jade: the childless, ambitious and rich Jean or the aptly named suburban mother, Sunny? Jean wants her, but Sunny thinks herself more suitable. Their battle is complicated by Jade's expected inheritance, the millions she should receive as a result of the malpractice suit over her mother's death. But Carey is more interested in character than plot: well over a third of the book is devoted to the backstories of the trio, who grew up on Long Island, raised mainly by their widowed father. As adults, the three sisters embody the range of choices for women of their generation: massage therapist Bridget is an East Village bohemian, Jean is haute yuppie, and Sunny went to Harvard but chose to become a stay-at-home mom. Yet the women are hardly typical or predictable. If the book is a little too cluttered with interior monologues, Carey is nonetheless an engaging and often funny writer ("Theirs had been a typical seventies family: one barely functioning parent, slouching teenagers picking at one another, bongs, an Irish setter missing a leg, bell-bottoms in odd rusty shades like a color TV gone bad"). Her sharp descriptions of the sisters' various milieus give the novel its piquancy.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By M. Eliason on August 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
not sure some people that read this realize that the author of this book is not the same who wrote the Kushiel fantasy series. So, if you think they are the same person, you will be greatly disappointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Katha Pollitt on September 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
From the reviews, I expected "The Crossley Baby'" to be yet another attack on "career women," another hymn to stayathome mothers. In fact, it's neither. Jean, the hard-driving businesswoman sister, is a wonderful comic invention -- watching her always get what she wants is fascinating, and , like the serpent in the bible, she gets all the best lines, too. Sunny, the "nice" suburban-mom sister, gets what she wants too -- but in the process she has to toughen up a bit and shed some of her illusions about what you can get with a smile. I loved Carey's dry wit--very sharply observed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Corn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At the heart of this wonderful book are three sisters, Bridget, Jean and Sunny, all of them very different from one another. Jean is an executive on the fast track, with a biting wit and hardened, calculating side. Sunny is a mother, wife and wonderful friend to those who know her. And Bridget...is the ethereal spirit who doesn't quite seem grounded in reality.
Although the book's title makes it seem as though it would focus on a baby, this isn't the case. I was absolutely riveted by this novel, which isn't so much about a baby (The Crossley Baby in the book's title) but about the various ways in which family members relate to one another and how an unexpected turn of events affect their connections, for better or worse.
Beautifully well-written, with the humor, detail and depth of a classic, this is a book to be savored. While updated for today's readers, it reminded me of Jane Austin novels, creating a whole world for the reader to inhabit, complete with people that seem to jump from the pages, eccentricities and all.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lea on August 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was so looking forward to this book after reading a "literary" review but was so disappointed. The premise was good but the book didn't deliver. I stuck with it to the end, but it didn't help.
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