preppea's Reviews > Where We Belong

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
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Sep 28, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: coming-of-age, contemporary, romance, chick-lit, zz-reviewed

What an amazing and thought provoking novel about adoption, the choices we make, and the long-lasting impact they have on those around us. This story constantly had me thinking - about what it would feel like to be adopted, to adopt, or to put someone up for adoption.

The book comes from two points of view - Kirby - a teenage girl who seeks out her biological mother when she turns 18 and Marian - a 36 year old television producer who put a baby up for adoption at age 18 and has worked very hard ever since to achieve the "perfect" life.

I could completely relate to Kirby - she was different from her parents and there were so many times that she felt so alone because she didn't share the same passions as anyone else in her family. The validation that comes from knowing why you have an ear for music or are not that good at school is a powerful thing. It gives you a feeling of belonging, of understanding why you are the way you are, or maybe just a feeling that you can put some of the blame on someone else for something you aren't good at... I know I am constantly looking for parallels in my childrens' strengths and weaknesses in myself or my husband - if nothing else it makes you feel like you have some headway on understanding where they're coming from and how to help them.

After meeting her biological mother and hearing about her biological father, I think it gave Kirby confirmation - a sense of acceptance in herself because she finally had validation of why she was the way she was. Even though it hurt her adoptive parents that she felt the need to seek out her bio parents, I think she showed through the book that if anything it made her appreciate her adoptive parents more, not less. And I liked that Emily Giffin showed that it was never about trying to find a replacement or to gain something they weren't able to give to her, it was really just about getting answers for things she questioned within herself, completely natural teenage insecurities she had about herself.

Marian certainly grew up the most in this book - at the beginning of the book she was so impersonal and it was so touching to finally see her opening up to Kirby and giving the kind of support Kirby deserved. I think it was a great touch of Emily Giffin's to show this initial side of Marian because it really gave some insight as to why she was able to do what she did to Conrad and also showed Kirby that she really had grown up in the best possible place for her and that she was lucky to be where she was - with parents who were mature enough to be parents and who were ready to love and support a daughter.

Overall I thought the book had a lot of really touching, heartfelt and thought-provoking moments and although I think the book had a complete and beautiful ending - I'd still love to read more and see everything tied up in a perfect bow in a novella or a spin-off novel... Just saying.

**Reviewed by Michelle on I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews
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