Saturday, September 7, 2013

Richard North Patterson's Loss of Innocence Coming in October New Sensitive, Emotional Drama...

Gracie Mansion, Rev. Martin Luther King press ...
Gracie Mansion, Rev. Martin Luther King press conference / World Telegram & Sun photo by Dick DeMarsico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"The crowd hadn't heard. When someone handed him a speech he'd scribbled down, Bobby waved it away. Then he got out of the car and climbed on the back of a flatbed truck. It was dark--only the floodlights turned on Bobby, surrounded by a crowd of black people who didn't know what had happened.
"I have sad news for you," he started out. Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight...
"For a moment, Ben half closed his eyes. "There were screams and wailing--this sound of raw pain. Then Bobby said, 'Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and justice between his fellow human beings, and he died in the cause of that effort.'
"The crowd went silent. 'For those of you who are black,' he went on, 'you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to love and understanding.' Pausing, Ben shook his head in wonder. "Then he quoted Aeschylus, of all people. 'Even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart. Until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grade of God.'
"The crowd was completely hushed. For a minute Bobby was quiet, too, then sort of willed himself to finish. 'So I ask you to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, but also for our country, a prayer for understanding and compassion. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man, and make gentle the life of this world.'"
"What struck Whitney first was how well Ben remembered the words, as though he had read them many times since Kennedy's death. To her astonishment, tears glistened in his eyes, and for a moment she thought of Peter telling her about his father. "There were riots all over America," Ben finished. "But not in Indianapolis." Then he added in a throwaway voice, "Anyhow, it's all gone now..."


Loss of Innocence
By Richard North Patterson

I was pleasantly surprised reading Patterson's novel due out next month. In his afterwords, he commented, "It's not easy for a sixty-four-year-old man to create a twenty-two-year-old woman as she emerges into adulthood over four decades ago, or to reconstruct the experiences and perceptions of a graduate of a private women's college of that time..." He then goes on to thank those that helped him with this... I must give Kudos to him--it's not easy to express the feelings and thoughts of women but he has done it. This book is dedicated to Vicky Kennedy and Phyllis Segal and in memory of friends Ted Kennedy and Eli Segal. I am sure this novel will speak to both Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Segal and the memories of both of their husbands.

In my opinion, this author has done an outstanding job, so much so, that as I read it, it came to mind often that the narrator sounded just like she, Whitney Dane, was writing her own story. Having read this author before and enjoyed his thrillers, this was quite  different--dare I say, more of a women's novel...  I wish I had realized that Patterson's last novel, Fall From Grace, was Ben Blaine's story, while this novel is the woman he fell in love with one summer...Perhaps I will go back and read it, but maybe not because this book almost speaks for how he got to be the man he later became..
This book is about my time period: Martin Luther King and then Bobby Kennedy had been killed. The Vietnam War was something that nobody wanted us to be involved with, but none really had taken action to get us out of it! War--something I'll never understand...

Ben Blaine had dropped out of Yale to work/travel with Bobby Kennedy and had been there when he was killed. He had also been with him when Martin Luther King had also died and Ben remembered exactly what Bobby had done that night after he had found out. He threw away his prepared speech and had just talked to the crowd about his personal feelings of King and how he knew they all felt.

Now Ben had come home, not knowing the direction he would have to take in the future. For now, he was house sitting in his hometown. There he met Whitney Dane.

Whitney is really the main character, but Ben came to be very influential in her life and helped her to make some of the hard decisions she finally made.

Whitney was still in college when she met Peter and fallen in love. Whitney came from a wealthy family, who came to Martha's Vineyard during the summer months. Ben, on the other hand, lived there all year round and came from an abusive family--at least his father was until Ben got big enough and turned the tables on him... The difference in "society" was real, but the two, individually, were very much interested in the same things...

Whitney became engaged to Peter, after having her father "bless" the couple. Thereafter, it seemed as if her  parents took over everything. Her father arranged a job for Peter, got him into the Reserves so that he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam, and got them their first apartment. In the meantime, her mother was making all arrangements, or nearly all, for her wedding.

It wasn't anything that Whitney had not expected. Normally, because she loved her parents, she would go along with their planning. But going into college and becoming more familiar with the outside world had allowed questions of right and wrong to enter into Whitney's life. She, for instance, found Bobby Kennedy would be her choice--except that her father was a Nixon man and even hoped to get a post of some sort if he were elected. When she came home for the summer and then met Ben, she learned more about the personal side of Bobby. He was gone by then, but all that had happened made her even more aware of the differences in her opinions from those of her family...

"They've shot Bobby Kennedy."
"Her father blinked, then realized why she had come. "I'll sit up with you," he said...
Senator Kennedy has been rushed to the hospital...
"Sudden tears ran down Whitney's face. "This is what I feared," her father said in a somber voice. "The Kennedys unleash the furies."
"No, Whitney wanted to say. In her unreason, she knew that believing Bobby Kennedy stirred dark and unknown forces was tantamount to wishing for his death. But she could not give voice to the fever in her brain, not to the man who had come to console her.
"His face unspeakably sad, Bobby's press secretary appeared to announce that Robert Kennedy was in surgery. Beside her, Charles sagged heavily into the couch. "He can't survive this, Whitney. At least not as he was."
"Still he stayed with her. Only when first light grazed the window did he say gently, "There's nothing we can do sweetheart. You should get some rest."
"I can't."
"Charles stood, kissing her forehead. Still gazing at the screen, she heard his footsteps on the stairs.
"Alone, Whitney kept a vigil for Robert Kennedy..."
"Anne gave her youngest
daughter a look that mingled
reproof and concern. 'When I
praise your sister, Whitney, that
doesn't mean I prefer her. It's
simply that you have different
qualities, as any siblings do.
You should concentrate on your
own life--your wedding, your
marriage, the family you'll soon
be starting. Let your father and
me worry about Janine..."
But these issues facing the world only loaded Whitney down even further than she had been. There had always been the issue of her older sister and her mother. At the engagement dinner, Whitney had started noticing her sister's actions and how she was looking. She tried to bring it up with her mother that night and at other times, but her mother wouldn't listen. She had always seemed to be living part of her life through Janine, both beautiful, both having men fall over themselves around them. But it seemed that Janine was drinking more and Whitney had seen her one night when she had returned home--more than she'd ever wanted to witness! And they seemed to not be able to communicate anymore. Whitney missed and loved her sister, but nobody seemed to want to listen to her.

What happens when at 22, you realize that you are an individual that is no
longer the same loving daughter, living with her family, abiding by the rules
established for her home life? Ben was a new friend with many thoughts and ideas different from what she'd always known. For one, he had hopes
of becoming a writer, just as Whitney had--with nobody from her family
willing to support and share that hope with her. But Ben was just the catalyst.

When everything tumbled down all around, Whitney found herself alone,
facing an unknown future... In many ways, I empathized with Whitney but fortunately never had to make those decisions to totally change my life. Could you? Would you? If you only had yourself to depend on, could you toughen up and move on? If you're a young woman between the ages of 18, say, and might find that this story will mean just as much to you as it did to me. The book begins and ends with Whitney as a much older woman. I've been looking back for quite a number of years now. Have you stopped to look at your life? This book just might be of great assistance to help you do just that.

Tears? Yes! Sorrow? Yes? Regret? Yes! But there is also forgiveness, love, and personal growth...I consider this a must-read and congratulate Richard North Patterson on taking a different path in his writing to acknowledge and remember his friends. It's a fantastic contribution to many of his female readers as well!


Richard North Patterson graduated in 1968 from Ohio Wesleyan University and has been awarded their Distinguished Achievement Citation. He is a 1971 graduate of the Case Western Reserve University's School of Law, and a recipient of their President's Award for Distinguished Alumni. He has served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Ohio; a trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco; and was the SEC's liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor. More recently, Patterson was a partner in the San Francisco office of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, now Bingham-McCutchen.

In 1993, he retired from the practice of law to devote himself to writing. He has served on the boards of his undergraduate and law schools, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, PEN Center West, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and was chairman of Common Cause, the grassroots citizens' lobby founded by John Gardner.

Patterson studied fiction writing with Jesse Hill Ford at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; his first short story was published in The Atlantic Monthly and his first novel, The Lasko Tangent, won an Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1979. Between 1981 and 1985, he published The Outside Man, Escape the Night, and Private Screening. His first novel in eight years,Degree of Guilt (1993), and his Eyes of a Child (1995) were combined into a miniseries by NBC TV. Both were international bestsellers, and Degree of Guilt was awarded the French Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere in 1995. Caroline Masters(originally published as The Final Judgment, 1995), Silent Witness (1997), No Safe Place (1998), and Dark Lady (1999) all became immediate international bestsellers. Protect and Defend (2000), about the controversial nomination of the first woman to be chief justice and her entanglement in an incendiary lawsuit regarding late-term abortion and parental consent, became Patterson's seventh consecutive international bestseller and received a Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood for its treatment of issues regarding reproductive rights.

Balance of Power confronted one of America's most divisive political and social issues—gun violence—and was chosen byUSA Today as its book-of-the-month selection for November 2003. Conviction (2005) focused on the law and politics of capital punishment. Exile (2007) dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was nominated for South Africa's leading literary award. The Race (2007) concerned a dramatic campaign for president and was Patterson's eleventh consecutive New York Times bestseller. Eclipse (2009) deals with human rights, Africa, and the geopolitics of oil. The Spire, is a psychological suspense novel that deals with race relations on a college campus. In the Name of Honor is about the high cost of war and secrets. The Devil's Light is about an Al Quada nuclear plot and the CIA officer racing to prevent the destruction of a major Western city. In his latest, Fall From Grace the mysterious, violent death of a prominent New England patriarch exposes a nest of dark family secrets.

Patterson has appeared on such shows as Today, Good Morning America, The CBS Morning Show, Inside Politics, Washington Journal, Buchanan and Press, Greta Van Susteren, and Hardball. His articles on politics, literature, and law have been published in the London Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News. A frequent speaker on political, legal, and social issues, in 2004 Patterson spoke at Washington, D.C., rallies in support of reproductive rights and against gun violence. His papers are collected by Boston University.

Patterson lives in Martha's Vineyard, San Francisco, and Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.

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