Posts Tagged With: adoption

Digging to America by Anne Tyler


Synopsis from Amazon:

Friday August 15th, 1997. Two tiny Korean babies are delivered to Baltimore to two families with nothing in common. First there are the Donaldsons, decent Brad and homespun Bitsy and a host of relatives, taking delivery with characteristic American razzmatazz. Then there are the Yazdans, pretty, nervous Ziba and carefully assimilated Sami, with his elegant Iranian-born widowed mother Maryam, receiving their little bundle with wondering discretion.

Every year, on the anniversary of ‘Arrival Day’ the two families celebrate together, with increasingly elaborately competitive parties, as tiny, delicate Susan and wholesome, stocky Jin-ho, take roots and become American…

Full of achingly hilarious moments and toe-curling misunderstandings, Digging to America is about insiders and outsiders, pride and prejudice, young love and unexpected old love, families and the impossibility of ever getting it right…

I finished this book last night and still don’t really know what to make of it. I enjoyed the book but there were times when it was dull and because it centres mostly around the “Arrival Day Parties” a lot of time was skipped over and events missed out – like the death of a family member, and by the end I didn’t even know how old the girls were.

However, Tyler covers a lot of issues in the book, such as adoption, parenting, death, nationality and what links people and forms friendships. It was interesting to see the girl’s friendship develop over the years, and to see how that turned out, as well as the parents. I think Tyler successfully addressed the issue of nationality, and whether an immigrant can feel a citizen in a new country. She also seems to ask why people adopt and why they do it from foreign countries, and whether this makes them saviours in some ways. I think she writes in a way that this would be a good discussion book.

Another problem I had was there were too many characters, and a predictable storyline. When romance blossomed I wasn’t surprised and I struggled to remember who was who. Because of the book spanning so long and many events being missed out I felt no connection to the characters unfortunately and there isn’t a particular one that stands out in my mind as my favourite.

Overall it was a good read with a lot of depth in key issues such as nationality and adoption, but it isn’t my favourite book of the year.


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Stained Souls by Ferran O’Neill

How well do any of us really know the people we surround ourselves with?  Sandra Reid is a Police Officer returning to work after the tragic death of her husband.  Although a gentle start would have suited Sandra better, she finds herself landed right in the middle of a gruesome case, about someone with murderous intentions who is targeting women with a secret in their past.  Sandra finds herself getting drawn further and further into a case, where the person they are after always seems to be one step ahead.  As Sandra’s own family suddenly find themselves in danger, Sandra and her boss Jeff seem to come up against one dead end after another.  Matters are not helped by several people who have good reasons to want to hide their own parts in past events, but sometimes you just can’t keep the truth hidden forever.

I really enjoyed this thriller.  It rattles along at a fair old pace, and there are plenty of twists and turns – several of which I did not see coming – and I never could have guessed the twist at the end!  There are several threads to the story, and throughout the book, we see them drawing together, and learn how they are intertwined.  I did need to concentrate on the story – the whole direction of the story can change in just a few pages and a lack of concentration could really cause confusion – but that is not a complaint and it did not spoil it at all for me.

For those of a queasy nature, it’s worth mentioning that there are a few very descriptive gruesome moments!

If you like psychological thrillers, or good crime stories, I would recommend this book.  I look forward to more from this author.

Published by four o’ clock press, at

Price £9.99 (22.10.2008 on

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