The Friday 56 – The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted over at Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple and go something like this.

Friday 561.  Grab a book, any book.
2.  Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
3.  Find any sentence, (or a few, just don’t spoil it)
4.  Post it.
5.  Add the post url, not your blog url to the Linky.
6. Tweet it #Friday56 (not an official Freda’s Voice rule)

This weeks Friday 56 was originally part of the National Blog Posting Challenge I was going to do last month. I just started reading it when I realized I hadn’t made my Friday 56 post yet. After reading page 56 and trying to decide which passage(s) to include I became even more intrigued by what led up to this and what’s to come.

The new baby had of course been offered to everyone to hold, when they asked, but it was painful to see how their faces changed confronting this phenomenon. Ben was always quickly handed back. Harriet came into the kitchen one day and heard her sister Sarah say to a cousin, “That Ben gives me the creeps. he’s like a goblin or a dwarf or something. I’d rather have poor Amy any day.”

The afflicted Harriet with remorse: poor Ben, whom no one could love. She certainly could not! And David, the old father, hardly touched him. She lofted Ben from his cot, so much like a cage, and put him on the big bed, and sat with him. “Poor Ben, poor Ben,” she crooned, stroking him. He clutched her shirt with both hands, pulled himself up, and stood on her thigh. The hard little feet hurt her. She tried to cuddle him, persuade him to soften against her . . . . Soon she gave up, put him back in his pen, or cage . . . . a roar of frustration because he had been put down, and shelf out her hands to him, , “Poor Ben, dear Ben,” and he grasped her hands and pulled himself up and stood grunting and roaring with trump. Four months old. . . . He was like an angry, hostile little troll. (p. 56)

~The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

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