The Third Child

The Third Child

Book - 2003
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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.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2003.
ISBN: 9780066211169
Characteristics: 342 p. ;,24 cm.


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Apr 15, 2016

I'm a huge fan of Marge Piercy's work, but this book failed to engage on many levels. The characters are stale, stereotypical and cartoonish. The handling of race issues is clumsy. And the story, which is not terribly interesting, ultimately relies on an ending so improbable that it is hard to believe Ms. Piercy wrote it.

Aug 24, 2013

This novel paints a good picture of a politican's uptight and emotionally crippled family and of the politician's lack of principles and values for the sake of expediency. The third daughter has always felt to be an outcast and when she goes to college and meets the adopted son of criminal lawyers who have faced off against her father, she comes to life. The novel poses the question of the nature of their relationship - is he using her to seek revenge for his father's death?

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