Pippa Dunn is adopted. She’s had a good life, growing up in England and traveling the world with her parents and sister. Yet, even though she’s mostly happy — she has abandonment issues with her relationships — she wonders: who is she, really? Who are the people who gave her life? What are they really like? So she sets out on a quest to meet her birth parents and, she hopes, to figure out herself.
She sets up a meeting with her birth mother, who, by all accounts (except for Pippa’s, at first), is crazy. Needy, clingy, paranoid … you name it, this woman is mentally unstable. Pippa tries for a connection, but finds that — after a while — it’s best to just get out. She finds her father — she’s a product of an affair — and while she initially connects with him, Pippa discovers that he, too, is not what she wanted, needed or expected.
The whole book is her journey to this conclusion: while it’s nice to know the people who gave you your genes, that does not a family make. It’s an interesting journey, though. I liked the tension between British customs and manners and American ones, which created much of the tension in the book. There was a bit of a romance, as well, but mostly it was about self-discovery.
In that journey, I felt that there was something missing. Perhaps the pacing was off: I felt too much time was devoted to Pippa’s discovering her parents and not enough to developing anything else; everything happened overly fast at the end, wrapped up in a neat little bow. Perhaps it wasn’t British enough, or funny enough: I didn’t laugh as much or as often as I hoped I would. It also lacked a wit that I think would have helped the book overall in the end. Perhaps it was that I’m not all that interested, right now, in self-discovery: there was a lot of Pippa flailing around, trying to figure out who “Pippa Dunn” really is. I can respect that, but it’s a journey for much younger, much less settled people, which I am not. I’m sure it would mean more, as well, to someone who was adopted, or had adopted a child.
All that said, it’s a fun, light, entertaining read.
Rated: Moderate, for language. It’s mostly pretty good, but there are a few f-bombs littered through it (I think four tops), at really odd times, which is quite jarring. There’s some off-screen sex, and the whole thing revolves around an (ongoing) affair.