Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Family Sold Separately: British coming-of-age novel

Family Sold Separately: A NovelFamily Sold Separately: A Novel by Kate Long

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a random pickup from the library, on a rare occasion when I actually went there physically instead of having my husband pick up or return books on my behalf!

I was impressed by the Sarah Bird endorsement on the back of the book. It took a few pages to get captured by the book, but once I settled in I really enjoyed it.

It is a very BRITISH book...more so than so-called "chick lit," which is often written halfway for American readers. I've been married to a Brit for 20 years now (and have known him for 23), and I had to ask him a few vocabulary questions every now and then...such as "what is a penguin?" (It's a chocolate bar...coincidentally, he even happened to have one in his possession, because a British friend gave him one the other day!)

Family Sold Separately is about an 18-year-old girl who has grown up with her slightly crazy, going-blind, and grumpy grandma. Her dad was killed in a car crash when she was a baby, and her mum abandoned her. She's overweight, lacks self-confidence, and desperately craves a sense of identity and belonging.

She doesn't quite get all of that by the end of the book, but she's on her way. The book has the type of ending my husband would's not all neatly tied up at the end. The characters are complex, and the writing funny (and sad) and lively. I will definitely seek out her other books.

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