Child of My Heart

Child of My Heart
by Alice McDermott
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23, 242 pp.

The narrator of Child of My Heart sums up the story: "Petey, who always used to ask, challenging and pleading at the same time, ’Do you like me? Do you like my family?’ Who has wept with his fists tight. Who would be plagued all his life by anger and affection, by gifts gone awry, by the irreconcilable difference between what he got and what he longed for-by the inevitable, insufferable loss buried like a dark jewel at the heart of every...

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.