Thursday, 12 July 2012

Douglass Kennedy “A Special Relationship”


Today I will talk about a book  Douglas Kennedy "A Special Relationship" which is full of women characters: tragic and comic, suffering and relentless.

The main character is a Boston journalist, Sally Goodchild, who meets a London journalist, Tony Thompson, during their business trip. Neither he nor she looks seriously at their relationship, however when Tony is transferred to London, he offers Sally to join him and try to find a job in the London press.  As for Sally, she informs him gleefully that she is pregnant. This is, we can say, her last chance - she is thirty seven years old and she is determined to give birth. Tony is delighted, and offers her a marriage.

“So what is interesting in all that?” you might ask. Uh, the story just begins! Tony and Sally buy a small but nice apartment in London, and then it turns out that Sally needs to be hospitalized for several weeks before the childbirth. This is just after her transfer to the London office of the newspaper! The chief is not happy, and Sally realizes that she is out of job. Tony does not behave like a man; he panics, but tries to hold on.

A rich friend, Margaret, is the only Sally's friend in London (except for the neighbor, Julie) pays her a private room in the hospital. Sally realizes that it is not a desire to boast, but a kind gesture. But Tony revolts and Sally, with the struggle, persuades him to accept this gift.

The childbirth runs hard. Doctors do not say anything definite, but believe that there might be an oxygen deficiency which affects the brain of the baby. Cesarean operation. Sally suffers from pain. Coldish nurses and authoritarian doctor say nothing definite confining themselves to phrases "We hope" ,"One can assume that everything is fine ..." What woman would not have fallen into a panic in such a situation? And the doctors try to feed her with the maximum amount of sedation which she refuses.

She is allowed to go home, but a little Jack (that is how the father called the child without the consent of the mother) is still in the hospital. Sally realizes that something is wrong with her: she is tired of worrying, dulled, and her maternal instinct is weakened.

The entire care of the baby, when the baby is moved back home, falls on the shoulders of the tired Sally, and Tony writes a novel. In fact, he acts dishonorably! When Sally leaves for three days to attend the funeral of her ex-husband, Tony, backed by different evidences and the fact that Sally, three weeks after the birth, was in the hospital due to her depression, gets a court permission to stay with the child. He leaves with the baby.

May be Sally would have achieved nothing on her own, but she gets help from her little sister, neighbor and her friend. Sally begins to fight for her baby.


It turns out that her husband has long lived a double life - he has been living with a rich lady who is not able to have children, Sally played only the role of the incubator, which "hatches" the baby.

Different, very different women are in front of our eyes: the Lawyer, Jeannie Ricks, completely devoid of sympathy, who does not find the necessary witnesses and gets acquainted with the case almost five minutes before the hearing starts, all the blame for losing the process she shifts to the defendant and the Barrister, who is from the same league - ready to turn the facts inside out for any money; a Social worker, Clarissa Chambers, the elderly African, much seen in her lifetime, who monitors meetings of the mother with her son, leaving them alone in the last meetings and giving possibility to communicate with the baby that Sally misses so much; sympathetic neighbor, Julia, who finds an intelligent lawyer free of charge and encourages Sally to work as a Proofreader (it is very important: not working mother will not get a child); a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist - two women who treated Sally and came to the unanimous conclusion that she is able to take care for the son. In short, every image is a sculpture, they are so well done.

Former husband does frankly indecent things; he closes Sally’s health insurance coverage, access to the bank accounts and sends appraisers who want to sell their apartment. He collects all the gossip about her, in which he is actively helped by a "new mom". The point is that they will move to Australia, and Sally will be prevented from seeing her child.

But the good must also win, at least sometimes! Sally’s attorney finds witnesses who tell about ex-lovers of Tony and the fact that he did not take part in the education of children born from him.  Everyone who watched Sally witnesses in her favor. The child returns to the mother, the house is awarded to Sally and the baby. They are so good together that we have no doubt - this strong woman will raise a wonderful son.

Who has not read? I recommend!

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