The Family Tree
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The Family Tree

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3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  6,282 ratings  ·  877 reviews
Dana Clarke has it all - a husband, Hugh, who she adores, a beautiful home in a wealthy area, and a baby on the way. When her daughter, Lizzie, is born, what should be the happiest day of her life turns out to be the moment that her world falls apart.
Paperback, 330 pages
Published November 5th 2007 by Harper Torch (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Christy
Feb 22, 2008 Christy rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one. Unless of course they want to give me some money for my copy!
This is one of those books that could have been SO good. Two white parents, have a baby....she's awfully African American looking....hmmm.. let the fun begin. But it was so annoying and borderline offensive I nearly didn't finish it. The "startling surprise" was so predictable you can see it coming a mile away. The side story about the snobby knitter was unnecessary and had no real impact on the story except to make it longer. As the mother of three beautiful bi-racial children, I am intrigued b...more
Christine
Feb 26, 2008 Christine rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Christine by: book club
This book was bad on so many levels, I'm not sure where to begin. The characters were flat, unsympathetic, and completely stereotypical. (A bit ironic, given that I *think* the point was an observation of race relations and perceptions.) The writing was ok at best, with the dialog often coming across as forced. The plot was completely unbelievable from page 1 to the end.

I don't give books such scathing reviews lightly, so let me delve into some details...

I'm afraid I was completely unable to sus...more
Nan
As I look over the reviews for this novel at Goodreads, I'm shocked by just how negative so many of them are. But, as I looked over the "rating details," a small fact became clear to me. This book is "front-loaded" with negative reviews because so many people have liked those reviews. In all, only 3% of the reviewers gave this book one star, but six of the first ten reviews I saw were one star. This seems especially bizarre considering that 14% of reviewers gave the book five stars.

Also, I as I...more
Sherese
This book took two seconds to read but Ms. Delinksy should have done some research on the Black experience because this woman has absolutely no clue about it as evident with her latest novel. I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of the dialogue between characters and the author's misinformed ideas of what it means to be Black/African-American. In this day in age does anyone really believe the one drop rule? Who goes around saying I'm 1/16 black so I need to redefine who I am completely....more
Yvette
Okay, I am torn about what I want to write about this book. First off, I did enjoy it. It was an easy read and entertaining. Did I love it, no. Why? Although the story was good, the characters were lacking depth. They were shallow. I couldn’t connect with them. The author introduced them but left us wanting more. For example, Corinne, whose husband was arrested for fraud… Okay- and? We were left wanting more. Also, Ali’s mother had this useless Cameo appearance. It was so unnecessary. And what a...more
Sara
I really disliked this book. It seemed unrealistic to me that a situation like this would create such controversy. The main premise is that a fairly young couple welcomes a new arrival into their lives only to find that it doesn't look like either one of them and more specifically, that it's skin is darker than theirs. I found the stereotypical characters vaguely offensive and the writing rather weak. I would go into more detail, but it's just not worth it. Read it, if you want to shut off your...more
Amanda Robinson
Nov 23, 2007 Amanda Robinson rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: bad
If it were possible to give less than 1 star I would. The writing style was like a stoned high schooler writing the day before a paper was due. Things were thrown in that had nothing to do with the story, I am guessing it was to keep the "mystery" going but it didnt.
The statement from the incredibly waspy woman "I am african american" actually made me laugh.

I recommended this book to my husband just so he could see how bad it was, he didnt make it through the first chapter.
Maryann
Apr 09, 2011 Maryann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't get offended so easily
Shelves: romance, family
I don't understand all the poor reviews. Being a child of a mixed heritage, I wasn't offended at all.
The book is about a white couple conceiving a black baby. Everyone's shocked of course and throwing around accusations and suggestions.
The father of the baby, Hugh is from a well-known and very wealthy family with a history of trying to help the minority races of America as well as being overly proud of their "white" heritage. Hypocrisy at it's best. The mother of the baby, Dana has little know...more
Roxanne / RoMoSquare
I picked this book up at Costco without having heard anything about it before. Total judgment of a book by its cover, but the description on the back of a white couple who unexpectedly give birth to a black baby intrigued me. This was an interesting look at how we look at ancestry, race, and the definition of family. I liked that the author did not shy away from some of the really deep issues with race that we still have in this country. I thought she bordered on lecturing in some instances, tho...more
Pamela
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maudeen Wachsmith
Brief Synopsis: Happily married Caucasian couple has baby with disctinctly African-American features. Husband knows his family lineage (he is a Mayflower descendant); the wife knows nothing about her father other than his name. Like the movie "Crash" this makes you wonder about your feelings and brings up a lot of interesting issues. Setting: Coastal New England town, present day. Read in one sitting. I had been disappointed with several of this author's last few books but this subject matter in...more
Jessica
Jan 28, 2008 Jessica rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: 2008
Gah! Made of hate! This book just was not my cup of tea; surprising, since it had been recommended to me by several people.

The cast of characteres was full of the types of people I hate, it discussed issues that were pretinent and PC about 10 years ago, and the structure was a mess.

Along with the main story line, there were about three or four overlaping sub-plots, starting at various places along the primary plot. However, when the primary plot finished, so did the book. Those sub-plots were ju...more
Jennifer
This is one of those books that everytime I walked into Barnes and Noble, it was front and center, so I figured I would give it a try.

Its was definately not worth it. While the subject matter is interesting...white couple gives birth to a child with African-American features...I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable. The whole book just seemed a little "woe is me" for my taste. I think its important to write books with this subject matter, this book completely missed the mark...more
Jo Sansevero
I have read many of Ms Delinshy's books and this one was especially good. All of us carry around a history inside of us, our nationality is just one of the things that we can pass onto our children. We have the baggage of our health and the baggage of our mental health brought about by our parenting methods. Some of these you can see like the child in this book a nationality difference others remain hidden to appear at random through out out lives. I enjoyed the book.
Sarah
I was first attracted to this book by the cover, it intrigued me, so I picked it up. At first, when I looked at the cover, I thought that it was about an adoption story. White woman, dark-skinned child, that’s the first thing that popped in my head. Hugh and Dana, who are both white, are about to have their first child. When Dana gives birth, they are surprised that their baby, Lizzie, is dark-skinned. Hugh’s family ancestry can be traced back to the Mayflower, whereas Dana has never known who h...more
VLynch
This book is incredible. It makes you think about the "what if this happened to me, how would I react?" and most important, "How would my spouse react?". And could I understand my spouses reaction? It's about human reactions to life, and how we handle them. Dana, finds herself in what only can be described as her own personal hell, at the same time she should be celebrating the life of her new beautiful baby. I found this book beautifully written, and while it gives you something to think about...more
Sarah
General plot of the book: White couple in snooty New England have a black baby. The story follows the emotions involved with race and the family lies/cover ups that are common place and could lead to such an event.

What I think the book: This is this first book in awhile that I was interested in from the start. I related to the characters of the new parents, and they were pretty realistic. (All except for how quickly they were active after the birth of the child.) There is realistic discussion a...more
Debby
A "lily white" couple gives birth to a very apparent Caucasian/African American daughter. Who's to "blame"? Where's the "black blood" in the family? How will family and friends react?
An interesting premise for a book about deep-seated roots of racism, bigotry and long held and strongly protected family lies and secrets. By the end of the book every character seems to have a secret of some sort.
daysgoby
The FIRST time my husband brought up DNA testing on our infant to establish parentage, he would have been out on his rump.

I like Delinsky, but I think this was a poor effort on her part. The main character was very naive and almost stunned throughout most of the book, and the baby - supposedly the main character of the book? - was no more than an afterthought.
Joanne
Really enjoyed this book,a quick read and an entertaining mystery. It also made you think how would you handle these problems if they happened in your life, which character would you find yourself like?
Rebekah
It is odd to think that a story about race and bigotry could have this wonderful knitted fabric woven into and through it, but Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky does have just that. Dana’s husband’s family is blue through and through researched and documented, so when the baby is born with distinctive African traits all eyes turn on Dana. Her mother bore her out of wedlock and she never was willing to go looking for a man who never came looking for her. Now her husband feels he must. He is a lawye...more
Vicky
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina
Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky was in the library’s Look!Read! section and I decided to give it a shot but I found the book to be just okay. Nothing really special. The characters were pretty caricatured at the beginning, making it hard to get into. There were several interesting story lines and but the people weren’t super fascinating or thought provoking for me.

It’s not really about genealogy though, its about race.

“We’re all for minorities-civil rights, affirmative action, equality in the w...more
bookczuk
An okay quick read. Not mind altering, but had moments of interest and made me itch to get my hands on some yarn!

From the Publisher

Dana Clarke has always longed for the stability of home and family-her own childhood was not an easy one. Now she has married a man she adores who is from a prominent New England family, and she is about to give birth to their first child. But what should be the happiest day of her life becomes the day her world falls apart. Her daughter is born beautiful and health...more
Natalie
Sometimes I loved this book. Sometimes it was only pretty good.

For me, the idea of having a child who looks unexpected hit very close to home. My son was born (almost a year ago!) with a cleft lip. I had that hesitancy of showing him to the public, of sending birth announcements with photos, etc. We were prepared - we had found out an an ultrasound. But it was still scary to take him into public and wonder what people might say when they looked at him. Fortunately, no one ever said anything rude...more
Lauren
The novel “Family Tree” by Barbara Delinsky was recommended by my school librarian. I figured that I would give it a shot as the plot sounded incredibly interesting, but unfortunately it did not live up to the librarian’s great review. I think that the novel was decent but held a lot of potential that wasn’t thoroughly developed by Delinsky.
The story is about a young Caucasian couple who have a black baby. The themes of judgment and acceptance are explored throughout the novel. I enjoyed the pl...more
Angela
This novel is a delight to interpret because of the remarkable plot. The author Barbara Delinsky starts the story with a wealthy Caucasian couple whom just had a baby but with a few unexpected physical features that shocks their whole family, friends and peers. Hugh, the father becomes very inquisitive as of why his child was born with a different colour that had no relations to his family, until he finds out about his great-grandfather after all the drama he had created with his wife and his g...more
Marti
Wow - I was surprised at the number of varied responses by other readers.

I found the book a fast read and I wanted to find out the ending. I did think that in some cases the characters did come off as pretty shallow, but I think when big revelations come in a family - you do end up with some pretty shallow responses - like not in my family!

I do think the explanations of which family had an inaccurate view of their family tree was a bit formulaic but again i wasn't ask upset about that as I thoug...more
Jacqueline
In my opinion, I do not recommend this book. The way how the plot is set up does not make sense. For example, the way she explains that Dana’s family heritage was unknown, made it a mysterious turn. Also, I found it very unclear, since they didn’t explain Dana’s family heritage properly. When Dana and Hugh were told that they had a new born baby girl, Hugh couldn’t believe that his baby looked African American. The way his parents treated him in the book made him look like trash and that African...more
Wei-hsuan
Since I read this book, I can tell that my perspective of a "perfect family" has been renovated again. The reason why I recommend this book because the theses of Family Tree are about faith, loyalty, and race. Actually, I adore Barbara's style of writing. Even though I did not know her well before, the diction she used makes the whole story more vivid. Especially, she created the story based on "mixed race family" and the mystery of descent. This issue attracted me, and it is more splendid than...more
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36492
I was born and raised in suburban Boston. My mother’s death, when I was eight, was the defining event of a childhood that was otherwise ordinary. I took piano lessons and flute lessons. I took ballroom dancing lessons. I went to summer camp through my fifteenth year (in Maine, which explains the setting of so many of my stories), then spent my sixteenth summer learning to type and to drive (two sk...more
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