This book is painfully slow. I'm usually not one to stop reading a book until it's finished, but it was so boring that I had to put it down and go back to it three different times. I finally got through it, and I'm still not sure what the actual story line of the book is supposed to be. I felt like there was no real ending, and all of the characters just kind of tapered off. About 3/4 of the way through, it gets exciting for a minute when all the "secrets" piece together, but nothing becomes of them. At all. I also feel that there are inconsistencies throughout the book. For example, one of the characters says that she is driving home, yet the other character had stormed off with the car, so where did this car magically come from? Another character states that he threw his cell phone out of the window, but when he gets a new phone, he transfers all of his contacts. Did he memorize his whole contact list? Just little things like that. Overall, I wouldn't bother with this book. If you feel like you must read it, I'd check it out from the library and save your money.
I've read everything that Sara Shepard has put out, but could not get through this book. I've honestly tried several times and can only get in a few chapters and get bored or literally fall asleep and never have the desire to finish it, which is not something I ever do. I couldn't get into it at all.
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I felt obligated to finish this book because it was a Vine selection. I didn't ever really feel drawn in or invested in the characters, unfortunately, so this became a tedious experience. Every person in this book was insincere, obsessed with appearances, and shallow. No one had any spiritual center or moral backbone. Yet--they weren't evil (which would have at least been kind of interesting). I plowed through anyway, hoping that something interesting would happen. It never did.
I hate giving low reviews and just couldn't bring myself to give this one star. I'm sure there are readers who are looking for a book that's lightweight and easy to digest during a train commute. If that's you, and if you liked the author's previous books, go for it. If you want anything substantial, you may want to skip this.
I didn't like the stereotyping in this book. Biracial may be the new black, but Scott's character was especially grating. Instead of keeping it real, the author presents us with an adoptive son who is OF COURSE totally misunderstood and unappreciated but is at heart a good and honorable person. OK, never mind that he can't hold a job, is prone to seething silences, drives a car with a Free Mumia bumpersticker (Mumia is a political prisoner in the same sense that Saddam Hussein was a victim of circumstance), and has no sense of commitment or loyalty. The message, of course, is that who you are inside is more important than the clothes you wear or your language, but here's a kid who was adopted into an old-money white family and who nonetheless embraces a thug identity. I mean, okay, fine, Scott wants to re-connect with his origins/birth circumstances and never really felt like he fit in, but is his choice limited to being "fake white" or "ghetto"?
So, I felt manipulated and a bit offended.
If this novel had been streamlined a bit and if only a few of the plotlines were developed, it could have been pretty interesting. The Scott/Charles/Joanna triad could have worked, and Scott's search for his birth mother could have been worked into that. Or eliminate the Scott issue entirely by making him normal and reasonably well-adjusted, and concentrate on the Moms--Sylvie and Catherine--and their search for meaning. And get rid of that crazy Bronwyn!
The author showed glimmers of humor, which unfortunately then faded. And every so often, something a bit surprising would appear--like a profanity--that didn't seem at all consistent with the tone or the style.
Oh well. This book ate up only a few nights of my life, and I guess it was a better use of my time than eating Doritos while watching episodes of Hillbilly Hand Fishing.
Sarah Shepard is a good writer and overall I enjoyed the writing. But I thought the author did a grave injustice to this book and to the reader. We are priviliged to much introspection from 3 characters, but very little interaction and dialogue between or among the characters. While Scott is perhaps the most interesting character, we only get insight into his feelings in the epilogue. The problems that move the plot along are solved or addressed off camera so to speak..or are they? We don't really know. Shepard doesn't tell you. She does hint in some cases. So ultimately we don't get closure from the characters resolving their issues with one another...with life... I read the book cover to cover and kept hoping the author would let me in...everyone just drifts off. And I was left with the feeling of ...huh...what just happened? Is this really the end? Totally unsatisfying read!