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The English American | [Alison Larkin]

The English American

When Pippa Dunn, adopted as an infant and raised terribly British, discovers that her birth parents are from the American South, she finds that "culture clash" has layers of meaning she'd never imagined. Meet The English American, a fabulously funny, deeply poignant debut novel that sprang from Alison Larkin's autobiographical one-woman show of the same name.
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Publisher's Summary

When Pippa Dunn, adopted as an infant and raised terribly British, discovers that her birth parents are from the American South, she finds that "culture clash" has layers of meaning she'd never imagined. Meet The English American, a fabulously funny, deeply poignant debut novel that sprang from Alison Larkin's autobiographical one-woman show of the same name.

The very English Pippa knows how to make a proper cup of tea, has attended a posh English boarding school, and discusses the crossword rather than exchange any cross words with her proper English family. Yet Pippa - creative, disheveled, and impulsive to the core - has always felt different from her perfectly poised, smartly coiffed sister and steady, practical parents, whose pastimes include Scottish dancing, gardening, and watching cricket.

When Pippa learns, at age 28, that her birth parents are from the American South, she feels that lifelong questions have been answered. She meets her birth mother, an untidy, artistic, free-spirited redhead, and her birth father, a charismatic (and politically involved) businessman, and she moves to America to be near them. At the same time, she relies on the guidance of a young man with whom she feels a mysterious connection - a man who discovered his own estranged father and who, like her birth parents, seems to understand her in a way that no one ever has before. Pippa feels she has found herself and everything she thought she wanted.

But has she? Caught between two opposing cultures, two sets of parents, and two completely different men, Pippa is plunged into hilarious, heart-wrenching chaos. Her birth father turns out to be involved in neoconservative activities she hates, and the mesmerizing mother who once abandoned her now refuses to let her go. And the man of her fantasies may be just that.

Larkin's compulsively readable first novel unearths universal truths about love, identity, and family with wit, warmth, and heart.

©2008 Alison Larkin; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Author and narrator Alison Larkin lights up the earphones with her portrayal of Pippa Dunn, an English young woman who discovers that her birth parents are Americans. Pippa decides to go to America to meet them and ends up finding herself—and true love. Larkin's heartfelt narration conveys Pippa's mixed up feelings of confusion and guilt—as well as the story's humor. Larkin moves delightfully between the various British and American accents. With gentle humor, she pokes fun at both American and British cultures while making it clear she loves them both. This audio experience is like watching a great romantic comedy. Have the tissues ready at the end—the romance is that good! Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award." (AudioFile)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (990 )
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4.1 (340 )
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  •  
    Holly Jo 02-17-10
    Holly Jo 02-17-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "British Chick Lit"

    If British Chick Lit is what you are looking for, this is it. Very cute, entertaining, and funny. I really liked the heroine. The narrator was great!! If I were to rate this versus my other favorites like The Help, and Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, I would rate it lower than a 4. BUT, in the world of Chick Lit... this is a 4.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Marietta, GA, United States 12-22-09
    Barbara Marietta, GA, United States 12-22-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Will appeal to less-demanding listeners"

    This is a well-written story that goes nowhere. The writer/reader draws from her own life but crassly insults Americans with dozens of lines like "In England it's considered rude to interrupt someone before they have finished speaking...". She also makes no distinction between the many regions and classes of Americans, and the vast distinction between state and regional laws (particularly regarding adoption). Her birth family is filled with cliches dragged out of "Hotel New Hampshire" and worse, and her red-baiting father must have grown up in the 1930s and 40s, not the late 1970s, which he is supposed to have. Larkin does a pretty good job with accents (I'm a New Yorker living in Georgia, so I do know) and her narration is exceptionally good for author-read, but the material is too wacky and her characters too enamored of Ayn Rand.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-18-09
    12-18-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great accents, good listen"

    I enjoyed the listen, good book, not fantastic but good. The ending was good and I enjoyed the book, not entirely predictable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 12-18-09
    Amazon Customer United States 12-18-09 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointingly boring-kind of lacking plot"

    I just could not finish this book. I tried and tried. I got halfway through, but most of that was a struggle. The author was also the narrator, and she was a very good narrator. But there was no arc to the story. It was like a bunch of little steps, one bit after another, but no plot, no storyline, almost no conflict or mystery or anything to grab you. It was just kind of bland and boring. And there were many miss opportunities for ... I don't know what to call it, maybe deeper analysis, or discussion of implications, but most of them were missed.

    If I remember correctly, this is a novel based on true experience. Maybe that's the problem. There were a lot of irrelevant and boring details that might have been interesting if this were the memoir of a remarkable, unusual or famous person, but were boring as part of a novel.

    Sorry, Alison. If the person in the book is anything like you, then you seem like a delightful, funny, and interesting person. But the book itself isn't doing it for me.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Gulf Breeze, FL, USA 03-09-09
    Cynthia Gulf Breeze, FL, USA 03-09-09
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    "touching, funny, sweet"

    I adored this story. I am an adoptive parent who knows how it feels to totally love your children without any reservations despite the fact that they didn't come didn't come from my own body. They come from my soul. Larkin understands this relationship and portrays it beautifully in this touching yet funny story about Pippa Dunn. I realize my own son and daughter may go on a similar souling searching journey at some point in their ives. Larkin added another intereting layer to the search for "who am I?". Her character also has the burden of the tug of war with the British and American parts of her personality. The story is priceless. There's fun look at the differenced between the two cultures. I highly reccomend the audiobook for any parent or child.. adopted or not. I hated for the story to end, but I was thrilled that it concluded with a romantic happy ending. Larkin's performance was wonderful too.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caryn Collingswood, New Jersey, United States 01-19-10
    Caryn Collingswood, New Jersey, United States 01-19-10 Member Since 2009

    glasercb

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I tried to like it but it was impossible"

    I really hated this audiobook! would have given it 0 stars if I could. I didn't expect a great deal but I didn't find it touching or amusing or funny at all. The characters were boring, whiney and unsympathetic. Usually I like when authors read their own work but I don't think Ms. Larkin did any justice to her story. Definitely not worth the cost!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Talma haifaIsrael 09-08-08
    Talma haifaIsrael 09-08-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "i loved it"

    i loved the book and alison larkin as the narrator was exquisit and the best i heard till now. do you have other audible book by her or read by her but not children books? thanx

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle Seattle, WA 05-29-08
    Kyle Seattle, WA 05-29-08 Member Since 2013
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    "cute"

    It's not perfect, but it is still a very nice little novel. A bit chick-lit for me. But,the reading is superb, which more than makes up for any minor flaws in the writing. Definitely worth a listen when you're looking for something light and cute.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia Yarmouth, ME, United States 05-17-08
    Marcia Yarmouth, ME, United States 05-17-08 Member Since 2008
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    "The most entertaining book of the year"

    Spending time with Alison Larkin and Pippa is like spending the day with a best friend at the theatre. You just cannot believe how wonderful the performance has been and that your best friend fully understands exactly how you feel. The English American is pure joy. That does not mean that the characters don't have depth, personality and interesting perspectives on the world. They do. They seem so real that you believe you

    know them.
    Reading the book in hard back is probably wonderful, but listening to the book and having Allison bring each character to life takes the reader to an entirely different experience. After I finished listening to the book I googled Ms. Larkin and spent time on her web site. She is Pippa which is why she can tell Pippa's story in such a lively manner.
    My only regret is the Pippa aka Alison doesn't live in Maine and cannot come to my house for dinner. It would have been pure joy and my friends would just love her. Marcia Feller wife of Robert


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 04-27-14
    Elizabeth 04-27-14 Member Since 2009

    I have a great passion for life and enjoy books that make you think

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    "Amazing journey!"
    Where does The English American rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Alison Larkin is an amazing writer! She managed to show us values from England and America and allow a connection with broken characters who are somehow redeemed from daring to experience life! Thanks!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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