Title: The Third Child
Author: Marge Piercy
Publisher: Harper Collins (2003)
Date Read: February 18, 2011 – February 24, 2011
Score: ♣ ♣
In the prominent political family of the Dickinsons, ambition comes first, and Melissa, the third child, has always felt she came last. Going away to college at Wesleyan offers a chance at love and a life free from her brilliant mother’s constant scrutiny.
Blake, a child of mixed race and apparently unknown parentage, has been reared by lawyers whose defense of death row cases has brought them toe-to-toe with Melissa’s father, the former governor of Pennsylvania, who is now a U.S. senator.
When Melissa meets Blake at college, their passion is immediate. Yet Blake is keeping a dangerous secret from Melissa, one that could destroy them–and their families. Dealing with themes of love, honesty, identity, and the consequences of ambition, this thoughtful, beautifully written story is a remarkable and provocative page-turner.
Melissa Dickinson is a girl with low self-esteem, which probably developed being neglected for years from her politically ambitious parents, Rosemary and Richard. When she finally enters college, she finds freedom, and a love affair that will turn her world upside down. Of all the people she falls in love with, Melissa falls for Blake Ackerman. But, nothing is at it seems. Blake’s adoptive parents are lawyers who have clashed many times with her father. At first, Melissa thinks nothing of the coincidence, but in the end, it was a foolish and grave thing to overlook.
This whole book was like a car crash. Messy, bloody, and horrible, yet I could not tear my eyes away from it. Everything was extremely predictable, and obvious. It follows the theme of Romeo and Juliet. That being said, we know right off the bat what’s going to happen in the end. Even if I wasn’t told that it was based off Romeo and Juliet, I would have guessed the ending anyway. I knew from the very beginning.
Melissa is so naive that it hurts. She has such a simple mind, that’s ultimately boring and annoying. She becomes completely dependent on Blake. Her motivation and drive is lost when he is not there. I found it extremely pathetic. There was one line the book that made me want to throw it across the room. “Blake makes me feel pretty.” Obviously, she has some issues that she needs to iron out.
Her male counterpart, Blake, was extremely easy to figure out. Throughout the whole book, Melissa constantly whined about how she did not understand him. His intentions were pretty clear from the first lines that left his mouth. If there’s any other character that annoys me more than Melissa, it’s Blake. It only makes sense since they do have one thing in common, and it’s that their too deep into their obsessions.
As the book goes on, they dig even deeper. Their motives became even clearer. Each of my predictions slowly began to come true every page I turned. The ending was climatic enough, but it left me disappointed. I’m glad to say that I don’t have to read this book ever again.