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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)

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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

  • Overall
  • Jane
  • Morris Plains, NJ, USA
  • 06-09-09

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

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Dalkeith W. AustraliaAustralia
  • 04-24-08


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