Monday, January 5, 2009

Digging to America - Anne Tyler (Jackie's Review)

The book revolves around two very different families who, unable to have children of their own, adopt Korean baby girls. The families meet at the airport when the new babies arrive in America.

It is an interesting premise for a book, as the two families are very different, both in background, and their attitudes to bringing up children. The Iranian family immediately dress their new baby in jeans, while the American family acquire traditional Korean costumes and read her Korean folk stories. The book revolves around the 'arrival day' parties that the families throw each year to commemorate the day they were united with their babies.

There were lots of interesting subjects raised in the book, from national identity, and customs, to adoption and methods of childcare, but unfortunately they were not investigated in any depth. The characters were too numerous for us to generate any real feelings for them, and the plot failed to develop beyond the repetition of the party each year. By the end of the book I was very bored with it, and had lost count of the number of 'arrival day' parties that had occurred. The characters were well observed, but they were too ordinary, and nothing exciting happens to them during the course of the book. This could have been overcome by having an emotional insight into their lives, but unfortunately this failed to happen.

Overall, I was very disappointed in this book, and won't be rushing out to read her others.

Originally reviewed here.

1 comment:

Terri said...

Jackie, I had a similar reaction to the book - I didn't get the whole party thing either - a party for giving up pacifiers, a party for toilet training -- it was just too much of that with no substance. I'm not a Tyler fan.