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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, August 18, 2008

Innocent Blood by P. D. James



I usually like P.D. James except for her hostility towards Christianity. But this book was a loser as far as I was concerned.

Philippa Rose Palfrey, a young woman who was adopted by a wealthy couple, is about to go up to Cambridge but she decides to discover her biological parents over her summer holiday. Her adopted parents are Maurice Palfrey, a well to do sociologist and his passive and bland wife, Hilda. Hilda's passion is her cooking and she works outside the home despite her desires to stay at home. Maurice was previously married and they had a son named Orlando. But when they died, Maurice chose Hilda as a second choice because she was so bland. When they couldn't have children they decided to adopt. Hilda always thought her inability to have children was something she had to make up for to Maurice. Phillipa was adopted at the age of 8. She has very little memory of her former life and none of her parents. But she's always felt like a sociology experiment and not a part of the family. Does she find her birth parents? Are they what she had imagined?

I hated every character in this book. I hated Maurice's smug, superior, cold personality. I hated Hilda's acceptance of being treated as nothing and her bland passivity, her weakness and inability to live her own life although she was really the most genuine character of the lot. I hated Phillipa's ingratitude, selfishness, denial of reality, childishness, her superiority, and her coldness. I hated Mary's lies, banality, acceptance of her past with little remorse. I hated Scase's hatred, his failue to forgive and get on with his life, his inability to live. He and his wife were parasites sucking the blood of those they hate and living on it. His wife was as much a monster as the one she hated. The best thing I got out of the book is the absolute need to forgive and live without being in bondage to hate and revenge. You become what you hate.

Phillipa has no reason for hating her adoptive parents. They have given her the best of everything and shown her love which she refused to return even from the very beginning. James writes about how Hilda would tuck Phillipa in at night and try to kiss her goodnight but Phillipa would lay rigid and turn her head away until Hilda gave up. By the time she is 18 years old, she has rejected them in every way and rejects them ultimately by looking for her adoptive parents and loving the dream of them instead of the very real adoptive parents who have tried to love her.

This does not change even to the end of the book. I could have kicked her. Most orphaned children would give their eye teeth to have what she had. No one abused her, no one molested her, she had everything she needed, attended the best schools, her adoptive parents were married and not divorced, etc, etc.

I particularly hated the ending. There was no resolution for any character except Scase. He was the only one to break free and I was glad for that. Hilda was somewhat released but not enough in my book. I started the book, ended up skimming most of it and then read the last quarter hoping it would get better. Waste of my time. Reviews are good for this book but my opinion is to leave it at the bottom of the pile.

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