Thursday, January 14, 2010

Book #8 of 2010

"The English American" by Alison Larkin

Despite loving her English mum and dad dearly, Pippa Dunn — adopted as an infant from America — never feels she fits into her family. Her fear of abandonment has her looking for the wrong men, in order to leave them before they leave her. At the age of 28, Pippa goes to America seeking her birth parents: beautiful, artistic Billie and her married lover, Walt, who gave up their daughter for the sake of their relationship. The first blush of parental love is intoxicating, with Pippa seeing her traits in others and feeling truly free to express herself. Then reality (Billie’s possessiveness, Walt’s evasiveness) sets in, and Pippa faces the issue of nature versus nurture. Pippa’s long-distance correspondent through all this is fellow adoptee Nick Devang, but her true source of support is right in front of her.

Is this a great book? No. It is a good book though. I enjoyed the insight into British culture and laughed at some of the author's perceptions of America (and, consequently, Americans). I found myself increasingly annoyed by Pippa's birth parents -- especially Billie -- and wondered when she would see them for their true selves. A bit of a too tidy ending, but overall not a bad read. If I were giving out stars, I'd say three out of five stars.

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