"Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.
For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever." (from Goodreads)
I really enjoy reading Emily Giffins books. When I saw this, her latest, at the library, I knew I had to snatch it up. I cannot imagine how it must feel to put a child up for adoption. It is something I am in full agreement with, as it is usually better for the child, but it would be one of those chapters of your life that you could never forget and let go of. I also couldn’t imagine an 18-year old showing up on my doorstep saying they were my daughter.
I am glad that Giffin did not make Marian and Kirby instant friends and just so happy to finally be a part of each other’s lives. I feel that is unrealistic. A situation like this one needs time for a relationship to be formed and evolve. And that is what she did. The story is told from different points of view, so we know how Marian and Kirby are feeling and that they both are unsure, feel out of place at times, and neither really knows what to expect from the other. A quiet bond slowly forms, almost without the characters, and the reader, realizing it.
Kirby’s family are fairly supportive of her decision to find her birth mother (although they do not find out until after she has done so.) Her sister thinks it is great and is her biggest cheerleader. Her dad is there to push when need be, although he finds himself feeling different when the thought of a birth father is brought to light. And her mom is trying her best to be supportive, but feels threatened and, I think, worries that she will lose her daughter that she has been having a hard time connecting with lately. I think the portrayal of this family is realistic and shows the good and the bad of adopted children searching for where they came from biologically. This is a somewhat neat and tidy portrayal, but there are definitely aspects of the story that are not. We see how the characters are not perfect and mistakes have been made. Big ones. Some would say unforgivable ones. It can be easy to forget that as people grow, they change, and we do not stay the person we were when we make a mistake. This can be seen in this story.
If you are a fan of Giffin’s work, or chic-lit in general, I recommend this book to you. I found myself wondering what was going to happen next and what else Giffin could possibly throw into the mix. I give this book a 4/5.
Next Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot