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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 (1002 )
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  •  
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 05-19-08
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 05-19-08 Member Since 2010

    Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great characters"

    I really enjoyed the story and the narration. I was a little hesitant about this book because the autor narrates it herself, which I don't always like. But this author was a very good reader and made each character come alive with her different voices.

    The characters were very vivid and I wanted to strangle Billie by the end of the book for being such clingy nutcase, but all in all I really enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Morris Plains, NJ, USA 05-05-08
    Sally Morris Plains, NJ, USA 05-05-08
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    3
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    "Wonderfull, wonderful audio book!"

    I listened to this extraordinary audio book on a long car journey with my husband who bought it knowing nothing about the author. We both absolutely loved it. It's a wonderful story, voiced by the most talented narrator I have heard in a long time. The fact that Alison Larkin is also the author of this amazing story blew us both away. We had to stop at a lay bye to listen to parts of it because we were so totally in to the story. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who loves a really terrific story. It made me think about how much of who I am is nature and how much is nurture and how much of who I am is my choice. And the love stories are so sexy. I loved it!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggieck Chicago, IL 12-04-08
    Maggieck Chicago, IL 12-04-08 Listener Since 2005

    Maggie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book, well worth reading"

    I chose the English American, mainly because my mother's maiden name is Larkin and she was always a very strong Anglophile, so I probably came to the book for different reasons than the average reader.

    That being said, I found the book by turns heartbreaking and delightful. I so wanted Pip's (birth)mother to not be the woman she was. I wanted her (birth)father to be less impressed with his own self-importance. But I also cheered for Pip and her own journey of self-discovery which she wouldn't have taken otherwise.

    Finally I think the unsung hero's of the story are Pip's (adoptive) parents. Not every parent has the love and faith necessary to let their child explore where they came from, without feeling rejected by that child. Bravo, to them for loving thier daughter so much they let her become who she truly is.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer El Paso, TX USA 06-13-09
    Amazon Customer El Paso, TX USA 06-13-09 Member Since 2007

    angelwings35

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    "Lost momentum"

    This started out SO good, although I thought the author seemed to be trying too hard to sound like "Bridget Jones' Diary". Then, all of a sudden it just seemed to meander off, and I lost complete interest. Just could not muster interest to complete it. Sorry.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    I love audiobooks KS 06-22-08 Member Since 2014

    Legalu

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    "Fun, fun, fun!"

    Normally, I avoid books read by the author. I'm glad I made an exception in this case. Sometimes, I just want a funny, easy to listen audio. However, if it's not well written and read, it's just annoying. I will listen to this one again on a long car ride with my daughters.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dot Juneau, AK, United States 05-06-13
    Dot Juneau, AK, United States 05-06-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Were the political views pertinent to the story?"

    I liked this story very much. It was well written, entertaining, and insightful in many ways. We have adopted children in our family and I can appreciate that they will want to know their heritage.

    It was annoying that the author added a lot of her personal political views that were neither pertinent to the story nor necessary. I seriously doubt that the airheaded English girl she described would have been as well informed about American politics as this girl whose only obsession was to learn about her birth parents in America. As a conservative Republican I took exception to many of the Liberal ideas she espoused and found it disgusting that every character who had serious character flaws were Republican. It is too sad if she does not realize that there are many dumb, uninformed, and dishonest Democrats.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Morris Plains, NJ, USA 06-09-09
    Jane Morris Plains, NJ, USA 06-09-09
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    "No wonder we love Brits!"

    I read the book first but then bought the audio version. I'm SO glad I did! What a joy it is to hear this compelling story as read by the talented author. Larkin's posh accent serves as the perfect aural counterpoint to the book's heroine, the unabashed AND unapologetic ragamuffin, Pippa.

    As someone who has lived in many U.S. towns and cities--including the South--I am amazed by Larkin's breadth and accuracy of "real" American voices. I can't wait to listen again!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Dalkeith W. AustraliaAustralia 04-24-08
    Susan Dalkeith W. AustraliaAustralia 04-24-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Trite"

    This book tries too hard and as a result it is trite and silly. The characters are plastic, the reader's voice tiresome and the story itself more than a bit unbelieveable. I was bored.

    3 of 12 people found this review helpful
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