Stacy's Reviews > Where We Belong

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
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's review
Jun 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read on June 30, 2012

I received this book free from Goodreads First Reads.

This book was more in the 3.5-3.75 range; I liked it, but I can't say I loved it. I felt like it dealt sensitively and believably (if a bit simply and romanticized, which was to be expected) with a difficult subject. 36-year-old Marian is confronted one night with the daughter she gave up for adoption 18 years ago. A daughter that is a complete secret from everyone but Marian's mother, including from the girl's father. Kirby is understandably dealing with the "Why don't I fit in?" "Where do I come from?" "What do I want to do with my life?" questions that you'd expect from an adopted teen on the verge of graduation. Kirby's appearance makes Marian question her own life--her past choices and whether her present happiness is real or perceived. And then there's the complication of Conrad--the super-hot, uber cool, teenage love she ran away from...

Overall, I'd classify it as a satisfying beach read--not too deep, but not too fluffy. But I'd have preferred it to be a little more complicated and a little less predictable. I can't say it was truly compelling nor memorably touching. (view spoiler)

The one thing that really aggravated me (and since I read an ARC, part of me wondered if they'd change it in the final version, but there are so many pop culture references that I assume it will not) was the timeline. The teenage encounter that engendered our young heroine was dated from July 1995. As someone who graduated college AND got married in 1995, I am all too well aware that it was NOT 18 years ago (close, but no cigar). And when you add in the months of pregnancy, that actually puts this book's "current day" at April-May 2014. Two years from now, that won't seem odd, but I just don't expect my currently set books to actually be occurring two years in the future. It's just weird and mildly disconcerting, especially when the past events could just as easily have been set in 1993. I guess she didn't want to do that because she wanted to make Pearl Jam's "Small Town" an integral part of the story? It did come out in 1993, though it was in October, which would make it too late for a summer fling theme song. Anyway, it's a minor thing but it just bugged me, and I think it was part of the reason I couldn't lose myself in the story--May-July 1995 was a big time for me, so it was impossible for my brain to let the math go. And since the current day activities were so very 2012, it's a valid criticism--who knows if people will still be updating their Facebook status two years from now? I'm sure there'll be a new big thing by then!

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Christy I had the same reaction about the dates. My not quite 16-year old sons were born in the summer of 1996 so it was obvious to me that her timeline didn't quite work.

Emily I'm glad I am not the only who noticed the timeline issue!

Stephanie I searched through reviews to see someone else who caught on to the timeline. My niece was born in 1996 and she'll be turning 17 in May. And my husband graduated from high school in 1996 and he's only 34, now, in 2013. It really bugged me!

Stacy Thanks, y'all, I'm glad it's not just me. It's really too bad Giffin and her editor apparently lack basic math skills. :)

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