Child Of My Heart


Book Review by Willard Manus

Alice McDermott's CHILD OF MY HEART (Picador) is her first novel since her prize-winning bestseller Charming Billy. Set on Long Island in the 60s, the book is a coming-of-age tale about Theresa, a precocious 15-year-old who is spending the summer baby-sitting the children of the rich and infamous. She is also responsible for the wellbeing of her younger cousin, Daisy, a working-class kid who has already been battered and betrayed by life.

Theresa, in the course of fighting off grief and evil in defense of her young charges, loses some of her own goodness (as well as her virginity), but comes out the stronger and better for it. McDermott, a masterful chronicler of Irish-American angst--as well as poetic realism--has extended her novelistic range in this strong, moving novel.