Windfalls Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Windfalls

Both Cerise and Anna become pregnant at a young age and are forced to make decisions that will affect their futures. Cerise decides to keep her child and is drawn into a world of isolation as a single, unwed mother. Anna has an abortion and moves on to a successful life as a photographer. At first, it seems as if these two stories are completely separate, as if the author at any time could have chosen to craft two distinctly different novels. But it is soon evident that these women need each other, even if they don't know it yet.
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Cerise's whole life is consumed with her daughter. She has no real identity without her role as mother because she hasn't had the time to figure out who she is. Her favorite time is coloring with her daughter on Saturday mornings rather than pursuing a dream or a man. Anna, however, ends her foray into young motherhood briefly and finds her talent as a successful photographer. Her life follows a more conventional path when she marries and has children in her twenties. These choices create questions, challenge beliefs, and force circumstances that each woman must face.
Cerise must deal with the aftermath of being a teenage mother. After a terrible accident involving her second child, she must try to figure out how she lost control over the children she had sacrificed everything to protect. Anna must try to assuage her guilt over her terminated pregnancy, and come to terms with how being a wife and mother has taken the place of many of her dreams. Her talents as a photographer seem to fade in direct correlation with her move to follow her husband's job opportunity.
It is only through the circumstances of motherhood that these two women make an impact on each other. Their two separate lives based on two separate decisions creates the catalyst that ultimately brings them together. Their circumstances are very different, yet are based on the same essential burden of giving life. It is their shared motherhood that provides the foundation of forgiveness, understanding, and fulfillment that each woman must come to terms with in her own life.
The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Breault

Atria, Apr 2004, 25.00, 352 pp.
ISBN: 0743470079

Renowned photographer Anna Walters loves her work, delights in being wife to college professor Eliot and raising their daughter Lucy. Her only blight is the abortion she once had. However, her idyllic lifestyle begins cracking when Eliot fails to attain tenure. Anna goes through a difficult birthing of their second child. As baby Ellen remains in intensive care, Anna becomes deeply depressed and has nightmares about the child that never was adds to her misery and self loathing.

When Cerise became pregnant in high school, she dropped out to raise her daughter Melody alone as the father Sam moved on to some other teen. To provide food and shelter, she works as a cleaning woman at a nursing home. Cerise liked her life with her little buddy, but lately an adolescent Melody has become disrespectful, nasty, and hangs with a bad crowd. Like her daughter who has found solace in promiscuous sex and drugs, Cerise has an affair that leads to a newborn Travis. As she struggles to earn money once welfare to work kicks in and takes her off the roles, Melody runs away and Travis dies in a fire. Not long afterward Cerise meets and commiserates with fellow lost soul Anna.

Though the action is nonexistent, WINDFALLS is a profound look at motherhood, but not through an apple pie lens.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Windfalls

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   Daughter because he/she is    -   physically ill Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Pregnancy/Child rearing    -   Yes Major part of story:    -   to abort or not abort    -   brat kid needs firm spanking Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   child/children

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Windfalls

Jean Hegland Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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