Friday, August 10, 2012

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

About book: 

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.

My thoughts:

I loved this book!  It was the perfect novel to fall into after reading that horrid book, Gone Girl.  I knew exactly what to expect - drama, change, and then a happy ending.  Did I get what I expected?  You bet! Which is why I enjoy reading women's fiction - there are always relatable characters and everyday situations that make it easy to connect with the story.  Sometimes I like my reading to be rather easy going, that way I can dip in and out of the story if need be, or I can simply sit and read the whole book at once to get my fill.  With Emily Giffin's latest novel, Where We Belong, I was able to dip in and out of the story every morning for a week as I walked on the treadmill - it was my work out music.

So what exactly was I working out to?  The story of Marian and Kirby, a birth mother and her daughter who seem to find each other at exactly the right time.  Marian was living it up in NYC, hoping to marry her boyfriend, who also happened to be her boss.  Kirby was graduating from high school soon and contemplating what to do with her life. When she turned eighteen, Kirby found out her birth mother's address and decided to go to NYC and meet her.  She wanted answers and was hoping to get them from her.  Marian wasn't expecting to open her front door and come face to face with the daughter she had given up for adoption eighteen years ago.  Talk about your past catching up to you.

With this book we get teen pregnancy, the contemplation of abortion, adoption, birth parents, teen angst, relationship drama (familial, friendship and romantic), shop lifting, depression and heart break.  This is a book that deals with some pretty heavy issues, but somehow tackles them in a way that does not bog down the reader.  Instead, the writing manages to be light, engaging and serious all at the same time.  You get to learn all about Marian's past and present in alternating chapters that provide her perspective one chapter and then Kirby's perspective the next.  I like it when authors employ this method, because its nice to be able to see where each character is coming from when they are experiencing the same moment - like when Marian tells her ex-boyfriend that he is Kirby's father.  We feel Marian's nervousness, shame, guilt and sadness, while also getting to know how annoyed, upset, and disappointed Kirby found the whole situation to be.   And its not just the writing that captivates you, but also the characters.  You can't help but connect with them.  Marian and Kirby are both relatable in different ways, that you cant' help but see bits of yourself in them.  They are strong, independent and unique women who are insecure and filled with emotions that they just want to keep buried deep down inside themselves. Giffin is able to create a story with such authenticity and ease that you forget you are reading a work of fiction and easily imagine you are watching one of those true story movies on Lifetime.  Or at least that is how I felt. 

At the end of the day, Where We Belong is a quick read that will have you laughing, crying and smiling.  Its a book about love and the ways in which we choose to abandon it, embrace it and enjoy it.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys Giffin's works or women's fiction - you will not be disappointed!


Mrs. Fry said...

I enjoyed your review. sounds good. I might have to read this one!

Nadia said...

Carole, thanks for stopping by! And yes, I'd love to add my link to your Books You Loved August Edition. I'm heading over to your site :)

Brenda, thanks! Check it out - its definitely a good read :)

Bellezza said...

I haven't read any of Emily Griffin's books although I think I own two. Your review makes me want to look on my shelf for which ones I own and open them immediately!

Also, I just received Gone Girl so I'm wondering if I'll "dislike" it as much as you did. Probably, we're so simpatico in our opinions.

Nadia said...

Bellezza, they are simply light reads that make you think. Definitely check out the ones you already have. And, now I can't wait to find out what you think of Gone Girl - maybe you'll see something I didn't. Either way, can't wait!

Carole said...

Thanks for linking in, Nadia. And thanks a bundle for following Carole's Chatter. Have a great week.

Melissa said...

Glad you enjoyed the book! I like the picture at the top of your blog. :)

Nadia said...

Carole, I'm glad you asked me to link in :) Hope you are having a great week!

Melissa, I loved the book! So good! I thought it was a funny pic, so I used it. Plus, I love Quirk Books :)