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Blame by Michelle Huneven

Blame (2010)

by Michelle Huneven

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5164229,791 (3.55)26



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Patsy is a professor. And she’s a drunk. A serious drunk. So much of a drunk that when she finds herself, yet once again, at the jail, she isn’t shocked to learn that she has run into two people with her car while she was drunk. And killed them. Then remorse sets in. How do her actions that come from her remorse change her life?

Brilliant novel. ( )
  debnance | Apr 24, 2016 |
Loved the writing, somehow I wish it would have ended differently, although I don't know how I would have liked it to end. Great story though. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Loved the writing, somehow I wish it would have ended differently, although I don't know how I would have liked it to end. Great story though. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Patsy--who is used to alcoholic benders that leave her with little memory of the night before--wakes up in jail and is immediately taken to a meeting with her lawyer, detectives, and a prosecutor. She seems to have gotten in trouble somehow but she's not sure what all the fuss is about. Until someone explains: two people where found dead in your driveway, they were run over by your car. Patsy never remembers that night clearly, but she lives the rest of her life atoning for her mistakes. She is encouraged to go to Alcoholics Anonymous in prison and becomes a reluctant convert. Indeed, much of the book revolves around her involvement with AA, especially since she eventually marries a man she meets there who is a big part of the organization. The book follows Patsy through the years with the different friendships and family involvements she has (and also her therapy sessions) and the readers sees how she grows and changes as a person. Eventually a starling revelation brings all that has been happening inside her to a head and Patsy has some tough choices to make.
This is an excellent book for discussion, since it has such a powerful theme about how "blame" can affect an individual. Patsy's life was a great springboard for discussions about AA, the legal system, the prison system, marriage, relationships, and alcoholism. I would definitely recommend it to discussion groups and also to readers who like books that will stimulate their thinking about these types of topics. ( )
  debs4jc | Dec 2, 2014 |
Huneven's writing blew me away. It almost doesn't matter what the story's about. She's that good.

Characters to care about, non-stock people and situations, beautifully told. I highly recommend Huneven's writing. "Blame" is a pleasure to read.

Petrea Burchard
Camelot & Vine ( )
1 vote PetreaBurchard | Feb 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Huneven’s nervy third novel turns a potentially prosaic plot—vivacious, besotted intellectual blacks out, dries out, does time, changes ways, rebuilds life—on its head via zippy dialogue, smart pacing, and, most vitally, a third-act plot twist that magically avoids contrivance.
added by Shortride | editThe Atlantic (Oct 1, 2009)
"Blame" is noteworthy for its sharply drawn characters, most of whom are neither good nor bad but struggling in between. But its true power is in the questions it raises about blame, responsibility and consequence. Implicitly, it asks the reader, what would you do in Patsy's place and could you accept the consequences?
added by Shortride | editAssociated Press, M. L. Johnson (Sep 8, 2009)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374114307, Hardcover)

Michelle Huneven, Richard Russo once wrote, is “a writer of extraordinary and thrilling talent.” That talent explodes with her third book, Blame, a spellbinding novel of guilt and love, family and shame, sobriety and the lack of it, and the moral ambiguities that ensnare us all.

The story: Patsy MacLemoore, a history professor in her late twenties with a brand-new Ph.D. from Berkeley and a wild streak, wakes up in jail—yet again—after another epic alcoholic blackout. “Okay, what’d I do?” she asks her lawyer and jailers. “I really don’t remember.” She adds, jokingly: “Did I kill someone?”

In fact, two Jehovah’s Witnesses, a mother and daughter, are dead, run over in Patsy’s driveway. Patsy, who was driving with a revoked license, will spend the rest of her life—in prison, getting sober, finding a new community (and a husband) in AA—trying to atone for this unpardonable act.

Then, decades later, another unimaginable piece of information turns up.

For the reader, it is an electrifying moment, a joyous, fall-off-the-couch-with-surprise moment. For Patsy, it is more complicated. Blame must be reapportioned, her life reassessed. What does it mean that her life has been based on wrong assumptions? What can she cleave to? What must be relinquished?

When Huneven’s first novel, Round Rock, was published, Valerie Miner, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, celebrated Huneven’s “moral nerve, sharp wit and uncommon generosity.” The same spirit electrifies Blame. The novel crackles with life—and, like life, can leave you breathless.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Waking up in jail after an alcoholic blackout, history professor Patsy McLemoore learns that she accidentally killed two people, an event for which she spends decades atoning and transforming her life for the better before learning a perspective-changingtruth.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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