Shea's Reviews > Where We Belong

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
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's review
Feb 16, 2012

liked it
Read from August 15 to 20, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Many of Giffin's novels bring up a good question about life, and this book raised the question: what is family? Are they the people you're born to or the ones who raise you? I think Kirby shows us that it's a little of both--ultimately she feels at home and understood with her adopted family, but she realizes what she comes from and why she is who she is when she meets her birth family.
I love the quote on page 363, where the two families are at Kirby's house after graduation. Seeing them together, she realizes they are all part of her family, but that finding where she came from doesn't mean that her adopted family isn't just as important, because they are the ones that know her. Her mom is telling stories of her when she was younger (a sad part, since Marian realizes she'll never have memories of her daughter as a young girl) and Kirby gets "this funny feeling inside and then realize(s) what it is. It's the feeling of belonging. Right here where I am. In this house. WIth my parents and Charlotte. The people who know all my sotires, from the beginning. The people who know me." It shows why family is important--because they are the only ones in our lives who know us as well, if not better, than we know ourselves. And, it's interesting to me to think Kirby had to find her birth parents to really appreciate what she has with her adopted ones. Not because her birth parents are so horrible, but because her adopted ones are so great.
It was great to see her meet her birth dad and for her to finally feel understood and accepted, and to see that people can make it in life following their dreams. I loved her relationship with Conrad, and the one she made with her grandfather as well.
I liked this book, but it wasn't my favorite of Giffin's; I would probably give it a 3.5 if I could. Like I said, I do like how Giffin doesn't shy away from big issues in her books: she talks about cheating, and divorce, and adoption, and not wanting to have kids...things that real people deal with.
Overall the thing that bothered me most about this book was Marian. Sure, there were times I liked her (a little), and definitely there were times I felt bad for the woman, but overall I just didn't get her. I really liked Conrad. He was so sweet, even as an 18 year old boy, that I felt like you kind of had to root for him. And I never really got why Marian didn't tell him the truth. I know she tried to explain, but to me it was really just her selfishness. And even if she was only 18 at the time, I feel like it was such a big lie that I can't forgive her for it (so who can blame Conrad if he doesn't?). I just feel like she gave up a huge chance for happiness in her life just because she was scared. The fact that her father never came clean and talked to her about it bugs me too. I think maybe he could have changed her mind if he talked to her about it. I think deep down Marian would have kept the baby if anyone would have told her she could make things work; ultimately, that's why she didn't tell Conrad, if you ask me.
I also wasn't a huge fan of the ending. Normally I like when an author kind of leaves it up to the reader to figure out, but this time I wanted to see how things ended up between Marian and Conrad; I felt unsatisfied after the ending. Would Conrad forgive her? Would they get back together? I guess if you think the major conflict is with Kirby and Marian/Conrad then that conflict is resolved by the end, but let's face it, the real (interesting) story here is between Conrad and Marian. Or, maybe I just think that way because I love Conrad so much :)

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