Maimoona Rahman's Reviews > Who's Your Daddy, Baby?

Who's Your Daddy, Baby? by Lisa Pell
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's review
Jul 19, 2012

really liked it

Who’s Your Daddy, Baby is a modern-day paternity search for a man who sowed his wild oats in a strict Christian community in the mountains of southwestern Virginia about half a century ago, and like everything else today, this story evolves into a Facebook twist.

Lori McGuire Pomay, a married career woman in her forties, goes to a fertility clinic wanting to conceive through IVF where genetic testing reveals that the Dad she has known all along cannot be her biological father. She embarks on a funny, wild, and occasionally bitter hunt for her biological father, piecing together evidence from letters her late mother had saved from the time of conceiving her, talking to relatives, and calling up relatives of potential paternity contenders.

This novel is a window to the world before the sexual revolution of the 60s when society was moralist, and morals were double standards of sexual behaviour. Men could be players, but single pregnant women could not hold a decent job. It takes two to tango, but it was almost always the woman who had to pay for forbidden love–unless the father or a kind enough man agreed to tie the knot with the pregnant woman–because “men are viewed as good ole boys having fun if evidence of their sexual indiscretions turns up.”

Reminiscent of Mamma Mia, this book reads like a memoir, which surprisingly helps readers suspend disbelief. Inspired by her own personal hunt for her biological father, Pell mostly employed narration of Pomay’s discoveries instead of traditional dramatisation.

If you enjoy genetic science, genealogy, wild West slang of the 50s, and have a knack for reading through old letters in the heirloom, then give this book a try.

My favourite line in the book: Paul McCartney might say this was a mystery only “your mother should know.”
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