Friday, July 15, 2011

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
An unexpected love story…

Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior with a full scholarship, acquaintances instead of friends, and a family she's ashamed to invite to Parents' Weekend. With the income she'll receive from donating her "pedigree" eggs, she believes she can save her father from addiction.

Annie Barrow married her high school sweetheart and became the mother to two boys. After years of staying at home and struggling to support four people on her husband's salary, she thinks she's found a way to recover a sense of purpose and bring in some extra cash.

India Bishop, thirty-eight (really forty-three), has changed everything about herself: her name, her face, her past. In New York City, she falls for a wealthy older man, Marcus Croft, and decides a baby will ensure a happy ending. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to technology, and Annie and Jules, to help make her dreams come true.

But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Marcus' daughter Bettina, intent on protecting her father, becomes convinced that his new wife is not what she seems…

With startling tenderness and laugh-out-loud humor, Jennifer Weiner once again takes readers into the heart of women's lives in an unforgettable, timely tale that interweaves themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy and donorship, the rights of a parent and the measure of motherhood.
Review:

Written by one of my favorite adult authors, Then Came You has been high on my wish list for a while now, so when the chance finally arrived to read it, I was thrilled to say the least. Thankfully, Then Came You is yet another fabulous novel by Weiner. Inspiring, compelling, and heartwarming, it manages to pick you up within the first chapter and not let you down until the very last.

Then Came You tackles the heavily discussed topics of surrogacy and egg donorship within the lives of four very different women. It all began when India Bishop decided that there is only one way to secure the dream-worthy live with her new, wealthy husband she imagines and deservers: a baby. The problem? She’s unable to have one, which brings Jules, the egg donor, and Annie, the surrogate, into the picture. Jules, a poor college student, and Annie, a young mother who wants to be the giver instead of the taker for once, are facing problems of their own, problems that will-hopefully-be alleviated with the money promised. Too bad Bettina, India’s daughter-in-law, doesn’t see the promise nor the goodness in India and her plans, and after a meeting with a promising detective, Bettina sets out to not only reveal India’s secret past, but also ruin India. However, what happens when a surprising development leaves these women in disarray and…dependent on one another? Will they come to see the light in each other and their own problems as well as lives, or will everything end badly? Only time and more pages can tell in this promising new novel!

As mentioned above, Then Came You introduces four very different as well as unique women, and best of all, the book allows the reader to see from all their point of view in switching narration, allowing each woman and their voice to be fully established and developed throughout. What I loved the most about the characters was, even though they came from different backgrounds and faced a variety of problems, they still strived towards the same three universal goals: happiness, love, and security. While I sometimes had a hard time relating to and understanding some of them at times, I was still able to relate to and like each one in many ways the end.

The plot of this was another high point of the novel. Not only because of the character development it inspired and developed through its many plot lines, but because of the way it brought lots of drama as well as heart and charm to the novel. I always find the issue of surrogacy and egg donation interesting and with the POVs of the three different characters involved directly with the process, Jennifer managed to give this topic a new spin. I always enjoyed that this novel involved more than just the baby. It involved plenty of the character’s own dilemmas, such as Annie’s need to be the moneymaker instead of the homemaker, Jules’s desire to be more than the addict’s daughter as well as the issues that arose with her own sexuality, and Bettina’s wanting to break out of her own shell, to also become more than just the offspring of a much-talked about person. Last but not least, India’s storyline was fascinating as well. Not only because of her mysterious past, but also because of the question of whether or not she was just a gold-digger that arose within the novel.

Weiner’s writing was also up to par. I felt she did a great job of bringing the characters and plot lines to life, and she seamlessly switched between narrators, giving each one the perfect amount of screen time so to say.

The only aspect of Then Came You I was not wild about was the fact that this novel took a couple of chapters to get going completely.

Other than yet, The Came You is definitely worth a read. Not only because of the complex characters it introduces, but the many thoughts and questions that arise about life, love, and happiness throughout. I simply can’t wait to see what Jennifer releases next!

Grade: A-

Then Came You is now out!

Source: Publicist at Engelman and Co.- thanks, Irina!

To find out more about Jennifer and her books, be sure to check out her website as well as this interesting and new interview about Then Came You and other topics. 

4 comments:

  1. Heard so much about Jennifer Weiner and really want to read her books! Glad they sound good!

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  2. I haven't gotten my hands on this book yet, but I'm looking forward to it! I love that Jennifer Weiner writes so consistently well. I always know her latest book will be as good or better than the last one!

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  3. Great review, Lauren. I finished this book this weekend but haven't written my review yet.

    I completely agree that it took a few chapters to get into it. It also took me a few chapters to remember who each woman was and what her story was. I like books with multiple characters, but not when I'm confused about who they are.

    I adore Weiner and this book was good, but definitely not my favorite book by her.

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  4. I really have enjoyed all of Weiner's work that I have read and this one is no exception. She builds strong characters and ties them all together, while giving each of them their own storyline which I enjoy. The plot flows easily as we learn about the past of the characters and how that effects them. She also builds amazing strong female characters that I appreciate. Yes, they are usually flawed in some way, which I think makes them relatable to the reader, but they have a strength you can admire too.

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