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Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Flashback

From October 2002:

Family Album by Patricia Kay. Women's fiction.

Isn't it interesting how certain themes show up in several books at the same time? It's like there's something in the air prompting different authors to write about the same topic. And it's also interesting how different those books can be.

Not to quibble, but I'd really call Family Album more "women's fiction" than "romance". There's a love story, with Hannah and Simon renewing their relationship after the upheaval, but it's more about the entire family and what happens when the son she gave up for adoption comes looking for his birth mother.

It felt very real. Nobody was a bad guy, nobody was more right than anyone else, they were just all caught in the situation, and it was interesting to explore those emotions.

I had to laugh at what you said, Annie---as soon as I read in a book that someone has been keeping a secret, I know it's going to turn out badly for them. In real life? I don't know. I can understand Hannah's not telling Simon she'd had a baby she'd given up for adoption when she first met him---it's not the sort of thing you just blurt out until you know someone better. And then when she did know him better, he had such a vehemently negative opinion of women who gave up their babies for adoption that she was afraid to. And I can also understand how years can go by and she was still telling herself that someday she'd tell him.

I had a harder time understanding Simon's anger toward women who gave up their babies for adoption. I understand he felt rejected by his birth mother, but surely he'd have preferred that to abortion. Was it because he didn't have the kind of love he wanted from his adoptive parents and felt that something was lacking that his "real" mother should have given him? Still, there's no one right answer to this problem. Of course, ideally, all babies would be wanted and loved and raised by their biological parents who love each other. But it's not a perfect world, and thank heavens for women courageous enough to have a baby they for whatever reason cannot or feel they cannot raise and give it up for adoption to people who can't have a child of their own.

Once again we have the very realistic nice but self-centered teenage girl. Not only is she mortified by having a crush on her half-brother, but she finds out she's not her mother's only child as she's thought for all her life. A lot to deal with.

I thought it was very realistic, too, that Simon admits at the end that they're not all going to be one big happy family.
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