Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: The English American by Alison Larkin

The English American: A NovelTitle: The English American

Author: Alison Larkin

Pages: 336

Source: Library

Rating: 7/10

Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge

First Sentence: "I think everyone should be adopted."

Summary (From back of book):

Twenty-eight-year-old Pippa Dunn is a cheerfully awkward fish out of water -- an untidy redheaded bundle of energy in a posh, buttoned-up London neighborhood. She has always loved her adoptive English parents and sister, Charlotte, while knowing that she was adopted -- or, as her parents tell her, "You were chosen, darling." But not knowing where she truly comes from, Pippa starts to wonder ... who are her birth parents? Are they ebullient and creative, like Pippa? Are they rich and charismatic? Is she a long-lost Kennedy daughter?

When she learns that her mother is a free-spirited redhead (like Pippa!) living in Georgia and that her father is a politically inclined businessman in Washington, D.C., Pippa takes the plunge and crosses the pond to discover her roots. She is soon caught between two opposing cultures, two sets of parents, and two completely different men. Pippa is about to learn the real meaning of "nature versus nurture," of "culture clash" -- and of the full richness (and chaos) of her identity as an English American.

My Two Cents:

This book started out a little worrisome to me. There was just something about it that didn't catch me quite right, and I was worried that that would be the case for the book's entirety. Luckily, something just seemed to click into place about 40 pages in, and then I finished the book rather quickly.

I absolutely adored Pippa. She was smart, funny and entirely herself, regardless of the way others thought she should act. She reminded me a lot of a grown-up Anne of Green Gables or Pippi Longstocking (Not just because of the red hair!) because she just did and said whatever she felt like doing or saying instead of conforming to the conventions that everyone else did. I felt very connected to her as a character, also, and I cared about what happened to her.

Larkin's writing is good, but there's nothing really special about it. It's clear and easy-to-read. This is a book that could be powered through in a few hours, if the reader were so inclined.

The one thing I wasn't very fond of in this book was that Pippa's birth parents were just so out there it was almost a little hard to believe them. I know that Larkin was trying to show that Pippa realizes that her "real" parents are the ones who raised her for 28 years, so there had to be something "wrong" with the birth parents, but there was just a little too much villainization (Is that a word?) of the birth parents for my liking. I almost would've preferred to see that the birth parents were just *normal* people who welcomed Pippa into the fold of their lives.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think anyone who likes books about the "odd duck" child in a family, or who was the "odd duck" in a family, could relate to and enjoy this book.


Esme said...

What a great book-this is going on my wish list.

baileythebookworm said...

This looks like a good read. I vaguely recall having seen the cover somewhere (I'm a sucker for cover art), and thinking it seemed like an interesting book. I'll have to see if I can snag a copy!

Jenners said...

I always felt like the odd duck in my family (only girl, oldest by 4 years) but, years later, when I talked to my brothers, I found out each of them felt the same way.

Mystica said...

This is definitely going to be on the TBR list.

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