Cover image for Send no blessings
Send no blessings
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum, 1990.
A teenager in a large family that lives in a trailer yearns for love, approval, an escape from endless chores, and a chance to make something of herself. When a good and decent man, seven years her senior, falls in love with her, she realizes marriage to him could solve her problems.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.4 9.0 5289.
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FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A teenager in a large family that lives in a trailer yearns for love, approval, an escape from endless chores, and a chance to make something of herself. When a good and decent man, seven years her senior, falls in love with her, she realizes marriage tohim could solve her problems.

Author Notes

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was born in Anderson, Indiana on January 4, 1933. She received a bachelor's degree from American University in 1963. Her first children's book, The Galloping Goat and Other Stories, was published in 1965. She has written more than 135 children and young adult books including Witch's Sister, The Witch Returns, The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel, A String of Chances, The Keeper, Walker's Crossing, Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, Please Do Feed the Bears, and The Agony of Alice, which was the first book in the Alice series. She has received several awards including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Night Cry and the Newberry Award for Shiloh.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. Beth Herndon, 15, the oldest of eight kids, doesn't want a life like her parents in a broken-down trailer on the side of the road. She loves her family--even though she resents the constant drudgery and the lack of privacy--and she feels rooted in the West Virginia hills. But at the same time she wants to get away, make a life for herself, and then maybe come back. Her typing teacher seems to understand, but why does her father always put her down? Why does he push her to leave school and marry her nice boyfriend? The message is overstated, the characters too articulate ("I want to like myself"). But the family poverty is neither squalid nor picturesque. In a touching episode the parents save for months to buy the kids a set of encyclopedias from the supermarket, and the books are embarrassingly inadequate. Beth's a champion typist, but her poor spelling holds her back, and it's hard to find peace at home to study. There's a painful honesty about this story of a poor, nonacademic girl's struggle for independence. ~--Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

This rambling novel contains an odd mixture of trite and poignant elements. Though the plot manages to incorporate nearly every cliche of the rural coming-of-age story, the result is surprisingly endearing. Moving at an unhurried pace, Naylor's tale will leave persevering readers with a distinct picture of a busy and momentous year in the heroine's life. Between looking after her seven brothers and sisters and working part-time, Beth, 15, has plenty to keep her occupied. At school, she is the star of her typing class, a skill that could provide a way out of her family's cramped trailer, even out of West Virginia itself. But then there's Harless, Beth's 22-year-old boyfriend, who wants to marry her and start a family; even Beth's harshly critical father approves of this relationship. After considerable soul-searching and hard work, Beth sets a course that is right for her--and discovers, along the way, the true reasons for her father's nastiness. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

A child of Appalachia, 15-year-old Beth Herndon lives with her family in a trailer home by the river. Although her mother, Lorna, speaks of the eight Herndon children as blessings, Beth is determined to avoid a life of childbearing and drudgery. In her sophomore year, she discovers her aptitude for typing and envisions a secretarial career, until her deficiencies in grammar and spelling threaten the dream. Seeking the love and support that are lacking at home, Beth enters a romantic relationship with 22-year-old Harless. She comes to love him, and his serious intentions buoy up her sagging self-esteem, but Beth fears she is headed for marriage and Lorna's lot. Then Lorna loses her ninth baby and Beth's younger sister becomes pregnant. These unfortunate events convince Beth that a continued relationship with Harless could be disastrous. As the school year ends, concerned teachers award Beth a scholarship for a three-week career-planning seminar at a state university. She sets out for the university, but not before her father belatedly offers his love and approval. Naylor excels in portraying the hard life of the Herndon family--the crowded trailer, the meager meals, the many pregnancies. As in String of Chances (Fawcett, 1983), she vividly describes a teenager's role in home birth and child care. Although the plot weakens when Beth receives the unsolicited scholarship, the realistic and moving depiction of rural poverty and a girl's yearning for escape offset the pat ending. --Pat Katka, San Diego Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.