The Pure Gold Baby

Margaret Drabble. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-544-15890-0
Anna, the eponymous golden baby, is born to anthropologist Jess Speight in 1960s London. Anna is sweet-natured, pretty, and, it turns out, developmentally disabled: she’ll never live on her own or learn to read. And though she’s fatherless, her mother is smart, dedicated, and loving, and the two are surrounded by a community of mothers who watch over each other. One of these mothers narrates Jess’s story from the vantage point of a friendship that has lasted to the present day. The passage of time—the narrator often compares their “innocent world” where cholesterol hadn’t yet been “invented” to the less innocent but more politically correct present—is a primary focus of the book, as is aging, changing views about care of the challenged and the disabled, and the randomness not only of genes but destinies: how much did Jess’s early trip to Africa influence her life? Why does one of the children in Jess and Anna’s neighborhood end up in jail? But the book merely circles these issues. Occasionally, as when Jess takes up with dashing photographer Bob, the narrator’s tone grows breathless, even ominous, and we expect a big event, but there is none. In the end, very little happens, and though Drabble’s intelligence is evident, the story drags. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4434-2536-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 10 pages - 978-1-4450-4127-8
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4434-2537-7
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-1-4450-4128-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-922147-51-6
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-544-15776-7
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4434-2538-4
MP3 CD - 1 pages - 978-1-4450-4129-2
Paperback - 291 pages - 978-0-544-22803-0
Hardcover - 291 pages - 978-1-78211-109-2
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