Family family A novel

Laurie Frankel

Book - 2024

"India Allwood grew up wanting to be an actress. Armed with a stack of index cards and a hell of a lot of talent, she goes from awkward 16-year-old to Broadway ingenue to tv star. But while promoting her most recent project, a film about adoption, India does what you should never do - she tells a journalist the truth: it's a bad movie. Like so many movies about adoption, it tells only one story, a tragic one. But India's an adoptive mom herself and knows there's so much more to her family than tragedy. Soon she's at the center of a media storm, battling accusations from the press and the paparazzi, from protesters on the right and advocates on the left. Her daughter Fig knows they need help - and who better to call ...for help than family? Because India's not just an adoptive mom. She also had a baby she gave up for adoption her senior year of high school. That baby is now sixteen, excited to meet her birth mother and eager to help, but she also has an agenda and secrets of her own. It turns out what makes a family isn't blood and it isn't love because no matter how they're formed, the hallmark of true family is this: it's complicated"--

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New York : Henry Holt and Company 2024.
Main Author
Laurie Frankel (author)
First edition
Physical Description
386 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Frankel's latest (after One Two Three, 2021) is a novel that challenges society's long-held definitions of family. Television star India Allwood has starred in a movie that portrays adoption in a traumatic light. When a reporter calls India to get a quote about the movie, India tells her that adoption doesn't always mean trauma--and social media explodes. As India tries to repair her reputation, her ten-year-old adopted daughter, Fig, is scheming behind the scenes. India placed her biological daughter, Rebecca, for adoption when she was only sixteen, and Fig has found her. The next thing everyone knows, Rebecca is there, and she's made a viral video, further stirring the media frenzy. Soon India is surrounded by the people who have made her life what it is. Much of the story takes place in the past, chronicling India's history and her persistence in following her dreams. Despite the implausible premise, Frankel finds the truth of modern family within the sparkly, funny characters. Suggest this warmhearted tale to readers of Jennifer Weiner.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In Frankel's exuberant if didactic latest (after One, Two, Three), an actor and adoptive mother faces online backlash over her new movie. India Allwood stars in Flower Child as a woman who gave up her daughter for adoption as a teen. After she and the film are accused on social media of capitalizing on others' trauma (the movie suggests the characters' drug addictions are the result of the adoption), she is unapologetic. Her adopted daughter, Fig, a fifth-grader, wants to help her mother, and she believes the public needs to know about Rebecca, the daughter India gave up for adoption as a teen. Fig tracks down Rebecca, now a headstrong teenager, online, but it turns out she has her own story to tell. She does so in a video that goes viral, further complicating the controversy around India and Flower Child. The emphasis on India's strong opinions often makes the novel feel like a soapbox for Frankel, who has written in an author's note and elsewhere about being an adoptive mother. (In one scene, India insists that a birth mother's choice to give up her child can lead to a "win-win" situation for the birth mother and the child.) Still, Frankel offers a hilarious and sobering view of adoptive parenting through her portrayals of the cheerful and honest India and Rebecca's open-minded adoptive mother, who pledges to tolerate top 40 music, because she recognizes that "shitty but trendy music was an unfortunate but unavoidable stage of adolescence." When Frankel's not banging her drum too hard, this is great fun. (Jan.)

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Review by Library Journal Review

Frankel (One Two Three) has written a funny, heart-wrenching, deeply personal story about the meaning of family and holding fast to one's beliefs. India Allwood has been a talented, determined actress from a young age. She works her way from stage plays in college to Broadway and finally to a TV role in Hollywood. After starring in a melodramatic movie about adoption, India tells a reporter that she believes the film misrepresents adoption; as an adoptive mother herself, India knows firsthand that not every such story is tragic. The media feedback to India's interview is ruthless, and soon secrets from her past come to light. Suddenly her career is at risk, and India must decide if she wants to save face or continue defending her choices. India is the star of Frankel's novel, but the supporting characters are warm and vibrant, each getting their own opportunity to shine. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of Frankel and those who enjoy literary fiction featuring witty dialogue and thought-provoking topics.--Carmen Clark

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A very unusual, and very Frankel, adoption story. Fans of Frankel, author of the groundbreaking trans-parenting novel This Is How It Always Is (2017), will feel at home from the earliest sentences of her latest, to wit: "Whereas for Fig's mother it all began, quite a bit after the birth of the universe, with Guys and Dolls." Fig's mother, in this case, is India Allwood, whom we meet in 1998 as she gets the lead in her high school's production of Guys and Dolls, the beginning of extremely illustrious careers in both acting and, it turns out, motherhood, the latter eventually defined as "solving impossible-to-solve problems while also experiencing deep crises of faith while also being kind of annoyed while also never getting enough rest." See--Frankel's back! Without giving away too much of her dizzying plot, which is supercharged with cliffhanger chapter endings and parallel reveals, the novel is dedicated to the premise that not every adoption story is one of trauma--a position publicly advocated by the eventually world-famous actress India Allwood, who gets herself in big trouble with her proclamations, and also by Frankel in an author's note. Along the way we will enjoy many fine young characters (Kevin Wilson fans who haven't yet tried Frankel should) and classic Frankelisms: "One of her mother's life theories was any argument had to have two buts. One objection wasn't going to convince anyone." "When she started breathing again, India wondered if it was possible to refall in love with someone based on parenthesis usage alone." For all the narrative hijinks it's these pithy formulations and nuggets of life wisdom that are the real draw. As India tells Bex, the daughter she gave up in high school, now back in her life trying to save her from her own public relations mistakes: "Regardless of how they get made, family is a force to be reckoned with." Full of warmth, humor, and sound advice. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.