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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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • W.Denis
  • Savannah, GA, United States
  • 12-05-08

A very happy book

I loved it. If Barbara Rosenblat had read it, it would have been worth a ten. I wish authors wouldn't read their own books. There are so many very good readers for audio books now especially women readers.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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Completely engaging, poignant, funny, uplifting

What made the experience of listening to The English American the most enjoyable?

Alison Larkin is my favorite narrator - bar none, so I loved that fact . I think the most enjoyable aspect was learning that my favorite narrator was adopted and raised in England but found her birth parents in the US and not only is she my favorite narrator, but also one of my favorite writers now too.

What did you like best about this story?

I love Pippa Dunn, the heroine. She's completely appealing and you root for her from the get go. Also noting is what it seems - you think the story is going one way and then it surprises you each time.

What about Alison Larkin’s performance did you like?

Everything. You feel like she's talking to you.

If you could rename The English American, what would you call it?

The All-American Brit?

Any additional comments?

It's fantastic. Love it, love it, love it.

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  • Story

Great

Story was moving and kept you in suspense. Each time I would listen I wanted to know more and more. Personally I did not like the character Billie. I thought she was rude. Anyways. Good book

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This is a WONDERFUL audiobook!

Would you listen to The English American again? Why?

Yes! It's funny, moving, authentic, fast paced and one helluva story.

What other book might you compare The English American to and why?

It's unique. Not a story anyone has heard before. We're in the hands of a masterful storyteller. The writing is as good as the narration. Wow.

Have you listened to any of Alison Larkin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I've listened to many of her narrations and I only just found out she is a bestselling novelist as well as one of my favorite narrators! And her own book is my favorite so far!!!!!

If you could take any character from The English American out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I'd take Pippa Dunn out to dinner because everything she says enchants me. Also I have a friend who was adopted who really reminds me of Pippa. This is the first story with an adopted heroine that I've read and you just know this is what it would feel like to be adopted. I love the journey she goes on. I love the book. And the fun the author has with the culture clashes between England and America.

Any additional comments?

This is a great audiobook. Glad to see it won a well deserved award.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Funny, moving, deliciously comic

What did you love best about The English American?

I love that there's not an inauthentic moment in this book. It's heartfelt, funny and a totally gripping story. I didn't know that Alison Larkin - who is one of my favorite narrators - was also a novelist. I can honestly say that this is my favorite listen on Audible so far. A hidden gem.

What did you like best about this story?

Pippa is the sort of character you can't help but love. I also love the hilarious observations about the differences between the Brits and the Americans.

Which character – as performed by Alison Larkin – was your favorite?

Pippa - and Billie who is outrageous and Larkin performs her with a flawless accent. I also loved her portrayal of the English parents!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Too many to count but the end is incredibly moving.

Any additional comments?

Here's a chance to listen to a top narrator read her own bestselling novel which I understand is autobiographical. All I can say is, WOW!

  • Overall
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  • Story

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!

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  • Tez L
  • Los Angeles, CA USA
  • 04-08-14

Very enjoyable

What made the experience of listening to The English American the most enjoyable?

Relate-able, easy to listen to, funny. I loved how she evolved, Larkin has written the evolution of herself very well, I loved it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I really loved her adoptive parents and everything about them, their concerns, their fears, their love---I could really feel all of it.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Fantastic Story and Narrator

Would you listen to The English American again? Why?

I would - it is very entertaining, and the author/narrator is so charming!

What did you like best about this story?

Both the English/American view, as well as the adoption view (I have an adopted daughter). Thoughtfully insightful - wonderful.

What does Alison Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her excitement, charm and personality.

Who was the most memorable character of The English American and why?

Alison!

Any additional comments?

Loved it!

  • Overall
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Not attractive

The whole time I was waiting for something else to happen... Maybe it was my mood but i found it a bit boring.

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Dreadfully Boring

What disappointed you about The English American?

Kept waiting for the story to get interesting but after a few chapters I still found my mind wandering due to boredom.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Her lisp kept distracting me.