Steel, Danielle: Mixed Blessings
(researched by Selena Stellute)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Published by Delacorte Press Bantam Doubleday Publishing Group, Inc. 666 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10103 The first copyright date of this novel is 1992.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition was published on extremely thin cloth, with rugged right edges.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
This novel contains 361 pages, with the text beginning on page 1.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
There is no formal introduction, however, Steel somewhat introduces the novel herself with a poem she has written named, "Beloved Miracle". On the previous page, she dedicates her novel to "the miracles of my life". This repetitive alluding to miracles better explains the title and has implications for the meaning and interpretation of her novel as a whole. Steel is introducing her readers to the miracles they will attest to by reading her novel.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
This novel contains no illustrations.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
This novel remains in good condition. It contains a dust jacket as well as a thin plastic covering over the dust jacket. The text is written in large print, and is very easy to read. The margins are wide on all four sides. A reader picking up this book would not be intimidated by enjambled lines, small print or narrow margins. The large print and the adequate space between the letters and paragraphs is not only a neat and practical method of publication, it also gives the reader the illusion that he is flying through the pages!
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The thin cloth used for this novel is in good condition. Its color still remains fairly white and not water-washed. It has held up physically well over the short time of 6 years. However, the rugged edges give the novel a worn appearance.
11 Description of binding(s)
Dark gray vinal binding on the exterior of the spine,with hard yellow cardboard actually binding the cloth pages together with glue. The dark gray forms a verticle rectangle over the spine and has a one inch margin on the front and back covers. Light gray carboard makes up the rest of the front and back covers. Transcription of the binding: outer cover: Danielle Steel (author's signature, silver print) spine: Danielle Steel [spaces as a seperation device] Mixed Blessings [spaces as a seperation device](vertical) [publication device] Delacorte Press (horizontal)
12 Transcription of title page
DANIELLE/STEEL [double line seperation device] MIXED/BLESSINGS [publication device] Delacorte/Press
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
There are no manuscript holdings under Danielle Steel.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
The font is large print--serif font.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
6 other editions found: No illustrations. Same cover art. Differences are found in page numbers and format. 1. Delacorte Press, 1992. Format: 560 p. (large print); 25 cm. 2. Delacorte Press, 1992. Format: 613 p. ; 25 cm. 3. Delacorte Press, 1992. Format: 369 p. ; 24 cm. 4. Delacorte Press, 1992. Format: 369 p. ; 25 cm. 5. Delacorte Press, 1992. Format: 398 p. ; 22 cm. 6. Delacorte Press, 1992. Format: 613 p. (large print); 22 cm.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
4 other publishers found: 1. Bantam, 1992. 2. Dell Publications, 1992. 1993. 3. G.K. Hall, 1994. 4. Macmillan Library Reference, 1994.
6 Last date in print?
1994.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Total copies sold the year "Mixed Blessings" appeared on the Bestseller list: 12/92: 1, 190,295 copies sold (Bowker Annual 1993).
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
2 advertisements found: 1. Publisher's Weekly. August 17, 1992. Short description found on the advertisement page for the Delacorte Press: December 1992 (italicized bold)
MIXED BLESSINGS (bold) Danielle Steel (bold) Fiction 0-385-29910-9 [bold dot separation device]$23.50/$27.50 Can. Large Print Edition: 0-385-30663-6 [bold dot separation device]$28.00/$34.50 Can. Signed, Limited, Slipcased Edition: 0-385-30664-4 [bold dot separation device]$150.00/$175.00 Can. [bold dot separation device]A Main Selection of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club
2. New York Times. December 6, 1992. Large ad found in the Book Review section: Everybody reads Danielle Steel (bold) 5x7 photograph of Danielle Steel a black circle half way down the picture which reads: "The Perfect Holiday Gift!"(white) just below the circle is a picture of the front cover, which extends below the bottom of Danielle Steel's photograph writing lining the bottom of the photograph: JEWELS[bold dot]NO GREATER LOVE[bold dot]HEARTBEAT [bold dot]MESSAGE FROM NAM[bold dot]DADDY STAR[bold dot]ZOYA[bold dot]KALEIDOSCOPE[bold dot]FINE THINGS[bold dot]WANDERLUST [bold dot]SECRETS[bold dot]FAMILY ALBUM[bold dot]FULL CIRCLE [bold dot]CHANGE[bold dot]THURSTON HOUSE[bold dot]CROSSINGS [bold dot]ONCE IN A LIFETIME[bold dot]A PERFECT STRANGER [bold dot]REMEMBRANCE[bold dot]PALOMINO[bold dot]LOVE[bold dot]THE RING[bold dot]LOVING[bold dot]TO LOVE AGAIN[bold dot]SUMMER'S END[bold dot]SEASON OF PASSION[bold dot]THE PROMISE[bold dot]NOW AND FOREVER[bold dot]PASSION'S PROMISE writing below picture of cover reads: A Main Selection of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club Also Available in Large Print horizontal writing extends the length of the entire advertisement and reads: Over 200 million copies of her books in print
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
2 other forms of media found: 1. Cassette recording. "Mixed Blessings: Talking Books", 1994. 2. Braille trascription of the novel. "Mixed Blessings", 1993. 1992.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
6 translations found: 1. "Nadzieja". Amber: Warszawa, 1996. 2. "Blagoslovenie". Kron-Press: Moskva, 1994. 3. "Aldott teher". Maecenas: Budapest, 1994. 4. "Tudo pela vida". Editora Record: Rio de Janeiro, 1994. 5. "Ch'ukpok ui chokon". Kimyongsa: Soul T'ukpyolsi, 1994. 6. "Una cruel benedicion". Grijalbo: Barcelona, 1993.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
1. Worldcat. Advanced search: type: serials. Worldcat site: http://gillian.prod.oclc.org.3056/html/adv search. No serials found.
2. Webspirs. Webspirs site: http://tikal.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/ webspirs/uva.cgi No serials found.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
1. Worldcat. Avanced search. Worldcat site: http://gillian.prod.oclc.org.3056/html/adv search. No prequels/sequels found.
2. Webspirs. Webspirs site: http://tikal.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/ webspirs/uva.cgi No sequels/prequels found.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Danielle Steel,revered as "America's #1 Best-Selling Author" was born on August 14, 1947 in New York, New York as the daughter of John and Norma(Stone)Schuelein-Steel. Steel married her second husband in 1977, then divorced and re-married her third husband, John Traina, a buisinessman. Danielle bore one daughter in her first marriage, one son in her second marriage and in her third marrige, aquired two stepsons, bore four daughters, and one son. Steel's nationality is American, however a signifant part of her education was completed at Parson's School of Design, France in 1963. Steel completed her education at New York University from 1963-1967. Steel resides at PO Box 1637, New York, New York, 10156-1637. She pracitices the faith of Christian Science. Her career past includes working as vice president for public relations at Supergirls, Ltd., New York (a public relations firm) from 1968-1971. Steel relocated to California to be a copywriter at Grey Advertising in San Francisco from 1973-1974. She has worked at other positions in public relations and advertising, and today she continues her extrememly successful profession as an author. The genre of her writings include Romance/Historical fiction, Children's fiction and Novels. Her agent is Morton L. Janklow Associates Inc., at 598 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022-1614. Steel was only 25 at the date of her first publication, "Going Home",1973. Her other novels include: "Passion's Promise", "The Promise", "Now and Forever", "Seasons of Passion", Summer's End", "The Ring", "Loving", "Remembrance", "Palomino", "To Love Again", "Crossings", "Once in a lifetime", "A Perfect Stranger", "Changes", "Thurston House","Golden Moments", "Full Circle", "Secrets", "Family Album", "Wanderlust", "Fine Things", "Kaleidoscope","Zoya","Star", "Daddy", "Message From Nam", "Heartbeat", "No Greater Love", "Mixed Blessings", "Jewels", "Vanished", "The Gift", "Accident", "Wings", "Five Days In Paris", "Lightening","Days of Shame","Malice", "Silent Honor", "The Wedding", "The Ranch", "Special Delivery", and "The Ghost". Her children's works include,"Amando", "Martha's Best Friend", "Martha's New Daddy", "Martha's New School", "Max and the Baby- Sitter", "Max's Daddy Goes to the Hospital", "Max's New Baby", "Martha's New Puppy", "Max Runs Away", "Max and Grandma and Grandpa Winky", "Martha and Hillary the Stranger", "Freddie's Trip","Freddie's First Night Away", "Freddie's Accident" and "Freddie and the Doctor". Others include "Love Poems: Danielle Steel and she is the co-author of "Having a Baby" (nonfiction). She contributes articles and poetry to numerous periodicals, including "Good Housekeeping", "McCall's", "Ladies' Home Journal" and "Cosmopolitan". Media adaptations of her works include: "Now and Forever" the movie was released by Inter Planetary Pictures in 1983, "Crossings" was made into an ABC-TV miniseries in 1986, NBC televsion made movies from "Kaleidoscope" and "Fine Things" in 1990, and aired "Changes" and "Palomino" in 1991. "Danielle Steel's Zoya" aired in 1996, "Wanderlust" and "Thurston House" have been optioned for movies,and "The Ranch" has been recored and released by Bantam Books Audio in 1997. Steel's novels are usually scrutinized by critics but loved by readers. Her first hardcover was published in 1980. She is consistantly included in hardback and bestseller lists, and she now has 125 million of her books in print. She often writes of women in powerful or glamerous positions who are torn between different priorities in their lives. "Mixed Blessing" in one of Steel's more serious novels, which deals with the issues of infertility. "Mixed Blessings" has been reviewed as "...definitely one of Steel's all-time best books".
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Danielle Steel's success on "Bestsellers" lists does not echo the esteem in which critics reguard her novels. "Mixed Blessings", first published in 1992, was included as a 1992 Bestseller in the hardback edition, and continued to appear on Bestseller lists through 1994. However, the power of the purse is not sufficient to convince literature critics that Steel's novels contain any substance. "She turns out one or two novels each year that float like helium to the top of the bestseller list...soap operatic sagas of riches, glamour, fame, crime, careers, ill-starred marriages, betrayals, intrigue and child-bearing (Carrol, San Franciso Cronicle).
"Mixed Blessings" is praised as one of Steel's most serious and important topics, as it deals with three different couples undergoing the setbacks of infertility. "Steel weaves the story lines expertly, keeping you interested until the last page. 'Mixed Blessings' is a great title, for these lives are full of mixed blessings. But love triumphs, despite life's hardships" (Allard, Houston Cronicle). Steel faced a great challenge when she wrote of such a complex subject matter. However, she is ridculed for touching on a subject matter which has no relevance in her own life. "'Mixed Blessings' is about infertility, a subject with which Steel would seem to have little conversance. As her 'Prolific and Proud' article for the ladies home journal indicated, she has publically celebrated her ability to deliver babies as regularly as the buns popping out of the oven for many years" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle). However, Steel "did her homework" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle), as she delivers a medically accurate account of infertility, which proves educational to the readers. Steel is also praised for improved plot and characters. "With a maturity and control she has not shown in other novels, she deftly weaves three complicated stories into a single, bold message about choice and destiny in modern life" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle). Steel instigates plot twists in "Mixed Blessings"--much appreciated instead of the predictable plots of her other novels. "But this time Steel is not so predictable toward the end: Indeed she tosses in a couple of plot twists that are generally surprising, and she really proves her mettle when introducing the guns of infertility technology...so we tend to root for Steel's six protagonists-- characters who are more distinictive and fully realized than others in previous books--as we root for them, we cheer for Steel, too: She takes a lot of risks with "Mixed Blessing," and by large measures succeeds" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle). Steel is often criticized for writing novels for televison--"...with one eye on the Big Eye"(Scott,Atlanta Constitution) and formulating novels easily made into a Blockbuster movie or a T.V miniseries. Steel has been nicknamed the "Dan Quayle of literature, the writer Americans love to loathe" (Harayda, The Plain Dealer). Harayda claims that critics would rather "... fertilize their tomoto plants or shop for flea-tick collars for their dogs" than read on of Steel's novels, and must be bribed in order to review Steel (Harayda, The Plain Dealer). Even Steels fans admit they read Steel "in order to give their brains a rest" (Harayda, The Plain Dealer). "Mixed Blessings" is considered more interesting than her previous novels, but as "trite" as the rest (Molton, Rocky Mountain News). "As with all Steel books, 'Mixed Blessings is almost hypnotic--you only look up to find large block of time have passed as if the reader is in another state of consciousness. Perhaps its because Steel's books require little or no brain waves. She tells you everything you need to know, not once, but usually three or four times. We know if a character is witty, brave or courageous because she tells us" (Molton, Rocky Mountain News). Gathering from the reviews above, "Mixed Blessings" or any Steel novel, is highly recommended for an easy day on the beach, but not to read in search of intellectual stimulation.
Beginning in 1994, criticism on Danielle Steel's novel shifted to criticism on the mini-series and made-for-T.V. movie that was adapted from "Mixed Blessings". These subsequent versions of her novel generally receive more favorable reviews, but continue to be considered soap-opera material. "NBC's latest adaptation of a Danielle Steel novel involves three couples experiencing difficulties with the earliest stages of parenthood. Sentimental- ity prevails over sexy romance in Steel's soft-touch movie" (Grahnke, Chicago Sun-Times). Steel's movie is written off as a "soaper": "But if you're in the mood for shameless bathos about childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, twins, adoption and surrogate mothers from hell, with lots (and lots) of kissing, this
soaper is for you" (Heffley, Los Angelos Times). Although movie reviews seem to go easier on Steel than literature critics, movie reviews are often sarcastic. "What? Another Danielle Steel sob story? Doesn't that woman ever run out of tissues? Apparently not, because Danielle Steel is back tonight, with the latest made-for T.V movie based--all together now--on still one more of her perpetually best selling novels. This one is called "Mixed Blessings" and (how can we say this?) its a pretty good piece of work--well told, nicely acted, steadily compelling. True, we don't often hold that opinion about a Danielle Steel TV novel. Most of them are supertrash, formula stuff. But somehow this one grabbed us and made us hang on until the finish line. Hey, we'rehuman after all" (Krupnick, The Star-Ledger of Newark, NJ). Steel's movie is referred to as a good love story--not a comm
on claim from literature critics. "What we are saying is that with "Mixed Blessings", the accent is primarily on the final word. There's nothing wrong with love stories, if they're well told. This Danielle Steel effort nicely fits that requirement" (Krupnick, The Star Ledger of Newark, NJ). Perhaps the fact that Steel's movies generally receive more favorable reviews than her novels is an indication that Steel's plots and characters are more suitable for television.
A list of reviews is included in supplementary materials.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Danielle Steel's success on "Bestsellers" lists does not echo the esteem in which critics reguard her novels. "Mixed Blessings", first published in 1992, was included as a 1992 Bestseller in the hardback edition, and continued to appear on Bestseller lists through 1994. However, the power of the purse is not sufficient to convince literature critics that Steel's novels contain any substance. "She turns out one or two novels each year that float like helium to the top of the bestseller list...soap operatic sagas of riches, glamour, fame, crime, careers, ill-starred marriages, betrayals, intrigue and child-bearing (Carrol, San Franciso Cronicle).
"Mixed Blessings" is praised as one of Steel's most serious and important topics, as it deals with three different couples undergoing the setbacks of infertility. "Steel weaves the story lines expertly, keeping you interested until the last page. 'Mixed Blessings' is a great title, for these lives are full of mixed blessings. But love triumphs, despite life's hardships" (Allard, Houston Cronicle). Steel faced a great challenge when she wrote of such a complex subject matter. However, she is ridculed for touching on a subject matter which has no relevance in her own life. "'Mixed Blessings' is about infertility, a subject with which Steel would seem to have little conversance. As her 'Prolific and Proud' article for the ladies home journal indicated, she has publically celebrated her ability to deliver babies as regularly as the buns popping out of the oven for many years" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle). However, Steel "did her homework" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle), as she delivers a medically accurate account of infertility, which proves educational to the readers. Steel is also praised for improved plot and characters. "With a maturity and control she has not shown in other novels, she deftly weaves three complicated stories into a single, bold message about choice and destiny in modern life" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle). Steel instigates plot twists in "Mixed Blessings"--much appreciated instead of the predictable plots of her other novels. "But this time Steel is not so predictable toward the end: Indeed she tosses in a couple of plot twists that are generally surprising, and she really proves her mettle when introducing the guns of infertility technology...so we tend to root for Steel's six protagonists-- characters who are more distinictive and fully realized than others in previous books--as we root for them, we cheer for Steel, too: She takes a lot of risks with "Mixed Blessing," and by large measures succeeds" (Holt, S.F. Cronicle). Steel is often criticized for writing novels for televison--"...with one eye on the Big Eye"(Scott,Atlanta Constitution) and formulating novels easily made into a Blockbuster movie or a T.V miniseries. Steel has been nicknamed the "Dan Quayle of literature, the writer Americans love to loathe" (Harayda, The Plain Dealer). Harayda claims that critics would rather "... fertilize their tomoto plants or shop for flea-tick collars for their dogs" than read on of Steel's novels, and must be bribed in order to review Steel (Harayda, The Plain Dealer). Even Steels fans admit they read Steel "in order to give their brains a rest" (Harayda, The Plain Dealer). "Mixed Blessings" is considered more interesting than her previous novels, but as "trite" as the rest (Molton, Rocky Mountain News). "As with all Steel books, 'Mixed Blessings is almost hypnotic--you only look up to find large block of time have passed as if the reader is in another state of consciousness. Perhaps its because Steel's books require little or no brain waves. She tells you everything you need to know, not once, but usually three or four times. We know if a character is witty, brave or courageous because she tells us" (Molton, Rocky Mountain News). Gathering from the reviews above, "Mixed Blessings" or any Steel novel, is highly recommended for an easy day on the beach, but not to read in search of intellectual stimulation.
Beginning in 1994, criticism on Danielle Steel's novel shifted to criticism on the mini-series and made-for-T.V. movie that was adapted from "Mixed Blessings". These subsequent versions of her novel generally receive more favorable reviews, but continue to be considered soap-opera material. "NBC's latest adaptation of a Danielle Steel novel involves three couples experiencing difficulties with the earliest stages of parenthood. Sentimental- ity prevails over sexy romance in Steel's soft-touch movie" (Grahnke, Chicago Sun-Times). Steel's movie is written off as a "soaper": "But if you're in the mood for shameless bathos about childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, twins, adoption and surrogate mothers from hell, with lots (and lots) of kissing, this
soaper is for you" (Heffley, Los Angelos Times). Although movie reviews seem to go easier on Steel than literature critics, movie reviews are often sarcastic. "What? Another Danielle Steel sob story? Doesn't that woman ever run out of tissues? Apparently not, because Danielle Steel is back tonight, with the latest made-for T.V movie based--all together now--on still one more of her perpetually best selling novels. This one is called "Mixed Blessings" and (how can we say this?) its a pretty good piece of work--well told, nicely acted, steadily compelling. True, we don't often hold that opinion about a Danielle Steel TV novel. Most of them are supertrash, formula stuff. But somehow this one grabbed us and made us hang on until the finish line. Hey, we'rehuman after all" (Krupnick, The Star-Ledger of Newark, NJ). Steel's movie is referred to as a good love story--not a comm
on claim from literature critics. "What we are saying is that with "Mixed Blessings", the accent is primarily on the final word. There's nothing wrong with love stories, if they're well told. This Danielle Steel effort nicely fits that requirement" (Krupnick, The Star Ledger of Newark, NJ). Perhaps the fact that Steel's movies generally receive more favorable reviews than her novels is an indication that Steel's plots and characters are more suitable for television.
A list of reviews is included in supplementary materials.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Danielle Steel's novel, "Mixed Blessings", is often revered as "...definitely one of Steel's all-time best books"--a phenomenal best seller by "America's #1 best-selling Author" (Contemporary Authors--Steel). "M
ixed Blessings" was published in 1992, and was included on Bestseller lists for both hardbacks and softbacks through 1994. Steel's novel ranked anywhere from #2-#8 on Bestseller lists during this time span. The consistent popularity of this novel can be
attributed to its serious subject matter--infertility. Readership may include those Americans who suffer infertility as a reality, those who wish to cure their curiosity and educate themselves, and for many, this novel offered Steel fans a chance to ind
ulge in a more meaningful subject matter. "Mixed Blessings" contains many redeemable qualities, as well as modern trends that add to its popularity. Steel's novel is praised for its serious issues, straight forward dialogue, plot twists, distinctive characters, medical accuracy, and its moral lesson. "Mixed Blessings" is praised as one of Steel's most serious and important topics, as it deals with t
hree different couples undergoing the setbacks of infertility. With her smooth tone, Steel engulfs readers in a saga in which three couples undergo hardships, confusion and depression due to the struggles of infertility. "...Steel has done her homework h
ere, and it shows. The deep pain some couples feel about childlessness--albeit laid on with a trowel by Steel--and the seeming salvation of medical technology provide perfect soap-opera tension, but Steel goes deeper. With a maturity and control she has
not shown in other novels, she deftly weaves three complicated stories into a single, bold message about choice and destiny in modern life" (Holt, The San Francisco Chronicle). Where Steel is often accused of "movie talk" or "movie-mag talk", "Mixed Ble
ssings" breaks this trend with its straight forward dialogue: "[Mixed Blessings contains] a very refreshing dialogue for Steel, who too often descends to movie talk (I love you, silly girl) or movie-mag talk (It was a band of love that brought them toget
her and kept them there, against life's winds, safe in each other's harbor") even in this novel" (Holt, The San Francisco Chronicle). Steel's novel is also praised for its plot twists and distinctive characters, usually absent in many of her other bestse
llers. "But this time Steel is not so predictable toward the end: Indeed, she tosses in a couple plot twists that are genuinely surprising...and we tend to root for Steel's six protagonists--characters who are more distinctive and fully realized than ot
hers in previous books" (Holt, The San Francisco Chronicle). Not only is this novel unique for presenting the issue of infertility in "Mixed Blessings", but it is praised for attaining medical accuracy--extremely useful and educational to readers. "As each couple begins the rigorous series of fertility tests, exa
minations, shots, time schedules and consultations with reproductive endocrinologists, Steel effortlessly educates her readers about such matters as whether the female's cervical mucous is ?inviting' enough to the sperm; how ultrasound tests ?see how her
follicle was maturing before ovulation,' and how postcoital tests measure sperm motility and number...and she really proves her mettle when introducing the big guns of infertility technology--in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, GIFT and sur
rogate mothers; as well as the negative side--the wreckage to reproductive organs than can result from embedded IUDs and the kind of ?silent infections' that give off no symptoms, no warning" (Holt, San Francisco Chronicle). Medical accuracy is apparent
in the following excerpt from Steel's novel, as Pilar, a forty year old woman, is attaining help from specialist Dr. Ward: "Thats true, we can check a few things, your FSH and progesterone levels, which could affect your ability to get pregnant, thyroid and prolactin, for the same reasons. We like to see your progesterone levels above a certain point to ensure conception. We can check your temperature every morning, and keep a basal body temperature, or BBT, chart. And we might give you a little boost with some clomiphene, just to see if that helps. Clomiphene isn't always useful in women ovary forty, but it might be worth a try if you're willing. It's a hormone that will fool your body into producing unusually high levels of progesterone, to help you get pregnant" (Steel, 176).
Steel's novel contains contemporary characteristics that have captured readers of the 1990s. First, the soap-opera craze that began in the 1980's carried over to the 90s, and many of Steel's readers enjoy her soap-opera-like novels. Steel's novels are
often referred to as "...soap opera sagas of riches, glamour, fame, crime, careers, ill-starred marriages, betrayals, intrigue and child-bearing" (Carrol, The San Francisco Chronicle). The first noticeable soap-like characteristic is when the scenes sudd
enly change from one couple to the next, among the three couples. Steel places extra space between paragraphs, where a soap would flash to another scene. The circumstances are very much like a soap as well. For example, Barbara and Charlie both did not
grow up with families; Barbie left her home after being molested by her brother, and Charlie grew up in an orphanage. Both of these circumstances are very characteristic of soaps--characters from unfortunate, mysterious backgrounds. Events in this novel
also change direction extremely quickly like those in a soap-opera. An example of this is when Diana has finally decided she is happy without children: "We're so free. We can do whatever we want, go wherever we want, whenever we want to. We don't have
to think about anyone but ourselves, and each other. I can get my hair done with out worrying about rushing home to baby-sitters...maybe for a lifetime it would be pretty selfish, but for right now, I think I like it" (Steel, 298). Andi replies "Hallel
ujah" and then the phone rings--a phone call which offers them an adoption opportunity, and they have a child within three days. Whether Steel is criticized for producing novels that are soap-opera material, they are what Americans of the 1990s are readi
ng, and attribute the popularity of "Mixed Blessings" and her other novels. Steel not only focuses on infertility--a timelessly important issue, but infertility is more of a modern reality of the 1990s. Since the beginning of the decade, individuals have become more open to discussing infertility with doctors and friends, and
more readily seek aids or alternatives to procreating. Statistics of infertility are extremely high. One in every 10 American couples struggles with infertility (Lore, The Atlanta Journal). There are 2.1 million infertile married couples, 6.1 million
women ages 15-44 who are impaired in having children, 1.2 million women who visited an infertility doctor in 1995 and 59, 142 vitro fertilizations were given in 1995 (Rotstein, Pittsburg-Post Gazette). Steel hits home when she presents the struggles of m
arriage due to the pressures and devastations of infertility. "[Childlessness] can strain a strong marriage and break a fragile one...couples facing infertility often find it hard to communicate" (Lore, The Atlanta Journal). The tribulations of women be
cause of infertility is not a matter of weakness, but of the hardships they must undergo. "The stress on women struggling with infertility is equal to that experienced by people with cancer or heart disease...only those with AIDS and chronic pain score
d higher. The 1993 study also reported that 63 percent of women who had experienced both infertility and divorce said the medical condition was more stressful than the breakup of their marriage" (Lore, The Atlanta Journal). Steel's subject matter of inf
ertility is extremely important to Americans of the 1990s. It also seems virtually perfect that Steel chose the title "Mixed Blessings" for her novel, as one woman who has undergone fertility procedures explains: "You feel angry one moment, and then so
blessed the next" (Lore, Atlanta Journal). The creation of "Mixed Blessings" into a mini-series and a movie seemed to increase the novel's popularity, yet the reviews of the television versions are more harsh. Television seemed to turn Steel's phenomenal novel into a night-time soap-series
, which further demeans her subject matter of infertility--causing it to appear petty. "For those in need of happier endings, this tirelessly manipulative momma-trauma hokum is about baby-craving romantics who seek the help of fertility doc Bruce Weitz"
(Roush, USA Today). Television seems to concentrate on the more shallow face-value of her novel, and fails to portray the serious content and issues this novel confronts. "But if you're in the mood for shameless bathos about childbirth, miscarriage, abo
rtion, twins, adoption, and surrogate mothers from hell, with lots (and lots) of kissing, this soaper is for you" (Heffley, Los Angeles Times). Positive reviews of Steel's movie prove to be extremely sarcastic. "What? Another Danielle Steel sob story?
Doesn't that woman ever run out of tissues? Apparently not, because Danielle Steel is back tonight, with the latest NBC made-for-TV-movie based--all together now--still one more of her perpetually best-selling novels. This one is called "Mixed Blessing
s" (and how can we say this) it is a pretty good piece of work--well told....True, we don't often hold that opinion about a Danielle Steel TV novel. Most of them are supertrash, formula stuff. But somehow this one grabbed us and made us hang out on the
finish line. Hey, we're human after all" (Krupnick, The Star-Ledger). It is ironic how much of a distinction there is between "Mixed Blessings" and other Steel novels, yet television fails to recognize it. "Mixed Blessing"'s transition into television makes it very comparable to Peyton Place, both as a novel and a soap-opera series. Steel is often accused of writing her novels " with one eye on the Big Eye" (Scott, Atlanta Constitution) and formulating
novels easily made into a Blockbuster movie or TV miniseries. Likewise, Peyton Place is described as "...Grace Metalious' blockbuster novel about the dark and seemy secrets of a New England town, Peyton Place" (Chicago Tribune). Peyton Place was an extr
emely scandalous best-seller in the 1950s, and has not been forgotten since. "[Peyton Place] was a soap opera about affairs, murders, rapes and illegitimate offspring in a cozy New England town and was a massive best-seller...Here are all the elements of
the Peyton Place Formula: small town lust, good and bad kids of each sex, and the threat of public scandal" (Gabrenya, The Colombus Dispatch). Like "Mixed Blessings", the television aspect of "Peyton Place" focuses on the scandals, rather than the valu
able lessons to be learned. Grace Metalious, author of "Peyton Place" is considered to be one of the most "...influential artists of the fifties" next to Hugh Hefner, publisher of Playboy magazine, and Elvis Presley (Howe, Omaha World Harold). In the same way, Steel is
considered to be "America's Best-selling Author"--thus, influencing America of the 1990s by her art as it reaches many readers. Interestingly, Metalious and Steel are both in the limelight as public personas. Grace Metalious is described," ...a housewif
e in Gilmantown, N.H. shocked New England in the 1950s with her frank portrayal of roughness and lust in a small town. The book sparked a film and a television series and Metalious' life became as chaotic as those characters in her book. She divorced an
d later remarried school teacher husband, George...[and died] in 1964 at age 39 from chronic liver ailment" (The Boston Globe). Just as Metalious led a scandalous life, Steel is often ridiculed for her lifestyle. Steel has been divorced four times, her
most recent divorce with businessman John Traina. Danielle has one daughter from her first marriage, one son from her second marriage, and two stepsons, four daughters and one son from her third marriage (Contemporary Authors--Steel). "Will there be a f
ifth husband for Danielle Steel?" is a popular question (Carrol, The San Francisco Chronicle). Steel is often ridiculed for touching on a subject matter in "Mixed Blessings" which has no relevance in her own life. "'Mixed Blessings' is about infertil
ity, a subject with which Steel would seem to have little conversance. As her ?Prolific and Proud' article for the ladies home journal indicated, she has publicly celebrated her ability to deliver babies as regularly as the buns popping out of the oven f
or many years" (Holt, San Francisco Chronicle). However, Steel certainly did her "homework" and created an extremely accurate, emotional account of the struggles of infertility. "Mixed Blessings" is essentially popular for a simple, obvious reason--due to its moral lesson. The title itself so eloquently capsizes Steel's overall message and purpose in creating this novel, as does the text. "Steel waves the story expertly, keepi
ng you interested till the last page. "Mixed Blessings" is a great title, for these lives are full of mixed blessings. But love triumphs, despite life's hardships" (Allard, Houston Chronicle). This moral lesson--to accept life's mixed blessings--does n
ot lie dormant in Steel's novel. Instead, she clearly spells it out for the reader, as one of her characters reflects: "Its all so strange, you expect one thing and you get another, you pay the price for everything in life, I guess...the good, the bad, the dreams, the nightmares...it all comes rolled up together. Sometimes its hard to tell them apart, and thats the hard part...Life has a way of blessing us once its punished us. We've been hit hard...but perhaps he will be the greatest joy we share for the rest of our lives" (Steel, 373). Not only does this novel offer an exciting plot, intriguing characters , and an opportunity to learn about both the emotions and medical procedures associated with infertility, but the reader also gains a sense of appreciation for both the joys and sorrows that life offers.
Sources for #5 can be found in Supplementary Materials: Text 2.
Supplemental Material
Sources for assignment #5: Allard, Helen. "Steel at her best in 'Mixed Blessings'". Houston Cronicle. Dec 13 '92. Bane, Vickie L., Benet Lorenzo. "The Lives of Danielle Steel: the unauthorized biography of America's #1 best -selling author". St. Martin's Press: NYC, '95. Carrol, Jerry. "Danielle Steel's Plot Thickens". The San Francisco Cronicle. Nov 22 '95. Chicago Tribune. "Reader's Guide. What we were reading 40 years ago this month". Nov 30 "97. Contemporary Authors. Virgo: Other Databases. Steel, Danielle. Grabrenya, Frank. "'Abbots' Lacks The Fun of Prototypal 'Petyon Place'". The Colombus Dispatch. Apr 4 '97. Grahnke, Lon. "Steel Even Goes Soft With Baby Stories".Chicago Sun Times. Dec 12 '95. Haradyda, Janice. "Heart Be Still! Can You Measure Up To Steel?. The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, OH. Jan 17 '93. Heffley, Lynne. "'Mixed' a sudsy take on the quest for parenthood". Los Angelos Times. Dec 11 '95. Holt, Patricia. "Steel Captures Despairs of Infertility". The San Francisco Cronicle. Dec 7 '92. Howe, G. Woodson. "'The Fifits'" Frizzies". Omaha World-Harold. Dec 8 '97. Krupnick, Jerry. "Danielle Steel puts supertrash in credible tale of three infantile couples". The Star Ledger of Newark, NJ. Dec 11 '95. Lore, Dianne. "The Baby Chase; Part Two Infertility: Biology's Cruel betrayal: Though the successes get all the publicity, many couples fight long, costly and often losing battles to have a child'. The Atlanta Journal. Dec 22 '97. Molton, Marty. "Latest Danielle Steel effort brings 'Mixed Blessi;ngs'". Rocky Mountain News. Dec 20 '92. Newsday. "Movie Highlights today". May 12 '97. Publisher's Weekly. Mixed Blessings--book reviews. Oct 26 '92. Rotstein, Gary. "Infertile Couples Face a Maze of Hope, Strai;n and Science Series: Baby Boom/Baby Bust". Pittsburg Post-Gazette. Apr 26 '98. Roush, Matt. USA Today. Dec 11 '95. Scott, Jeffery. "Steel soapers resurface o;n NBC". Atlanta Consti;tution. Nov 23 '94. Stashenko, Joel. "Experts: Consider Fetus Reductions". Ap Online. Apr 30 '98. Steel, Danielle. "Mixed Blessings". Delacorte Press: NYC, 1992. The Boston Globe. "Ask the Globe". Aug 9 '97. The Fort Worth Star Telegram. "Northeast Talk About the Town". may 18 '97. Wolf, Mark. "Infertility's Agony Inability To Have Children Can Spawn Tremendous Stress and Guilt". Rocky Mountain News. Dec 7 '97.
Allard, Hellen. "Steel at her best in 'Mixed Blessings'". Houston Cronicle. Dec 13 '92. Carrol, Jerry. "Danielle Steel's Plot Thickens". The San Francisco Cronicle. Nov 22 '95. Grahnke, Lon. "Steel Even Goes Soft With Baby Stories". Chicago Sun Times. Dec 12 '95. Harayda, Janice. "Heart Be Still! Can You Measure Up To Steel?". The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, OH. Jan 17 '93. Heffley, Lynne. "'Mixed' a sudsy take on the quest for parenthood". Los Angelos Times. Dec 11 '95. Holt, Patricia. "Steel Captures Despair of Infertility". The San Francisco Cronicle. Dec 7 '92. Krupnick, Jerry. "Danielle Steel puts supertrash in credible tale of three infantile couples". The Star Ledger of Newark, NJ. Dec 11 '95. Molton, Marty. "Latest Danielle Steel effort brings 'Mixed Blessings'". Rocky Mountain News. Dec 20 '92. Publisher's Weekly. Mixed Blessings--book reviews. Oct 26 '92. Roush, Matt. USA Today. Dec 11 '95. Scott, Jeffery. "Steel soapers resurface on NBC". Atlanta Constitution. Nov 23 '94.
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