Review: Where We Belong

There are a few books that I’ve read, where I’ve been trucking along happily, really enjoying the story and then I turn a page and suddenly it’s over. The ending couldn’t be more jarring if it had ended mid-sentence. It kind of leaves me feeling a little sour about the whole thing, even though I did enjoy reading it.

Obviously, what I’m trying to say here is that I liked this book although I did not like the ending. To be fair, it wasn’t a really terrible ending. I mean, it could have been “all a dream” or someone could have unnecessarily died right at the end. I wanted the romantic “leads” to wind up together and they didn’t, and it left me feeling wanting. On the one hand, that makes me feel slightly betrayed as a reader, because I read fiction in order to be swept up into a story and my expectations were not met. On the other, however, doesn’t that show how good the novel was at making me root for these two characters to wind up together, that I am so disappointed that they did not?

Either way, let that be a warning for anyone who reads this book. Marian is a single woman at the end of this book. I do feel that it was well written, though. The perspectives go back and forth several times between Marian, a woman in her late 30s who is a successful TV producer and kind of high-strung, and 18-year-old Kirby, who is kind of a meandering young woman who doesn’t give a shit about just about anything. As the story progresses, they sort of blend together, keeping their distinctive personalities, but sharing the good sides of each other. Marian kicks back and relaxes a little, and begins to follow her heart rather than her rules. Kirby begins to see the good in people and starts to care more about her family and her future. Each character’s “voice” is distinct and clearly separate from the other, which is kind of difficult to do.

Giffin tends to interweave characters from her other books in her novels, and so I was delighted to recognize Claudia from Baby Proof, which I read several years ago. This makes me hopeful that Marian, Conrad, or Kirby will show up in a future novel (or maybe they have before!).

I realize that I haven’t detailed anything about the plot (other than the fact that this is not a satisfying love story), but you can glean pretty much all of it from the book jacket. Kirby is adopted, Marian is her birth mother. They begin a relationship and it is complicated. Which sounds like a boring book, but I did really enjoy reading it. I found it difficult to put down particularly when Marian and Kirby go to meet up with Conrad, who is Kirby’s father and Marian hasn’t seen since she first discovered the pregnancy.

I enjoyed this very much, but that ending. It cost my review one star. I bet in the movie version, they would end up together.

4 stars.

This book fulfills the book by an author you love and haven’t read yet requirement for the challenge.

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