Tuesday, November 8, 2016

TLC Book Tour Book Review: The Survivors Guide To Family Happiness

About The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (October 25, 2016)
Three women, three lives, and one chance to become a family…whether they want to or not.
Newly orphaned, recently divorced, and semiadrift, Nina Popkin is on a search for her birth mother. She’s spent her life looking into strangers’ faces, fantasizing they’re related to her, and now, at thirty-five, she’s ready for answers.
Meanwhile, the last thing Lindy McIntyre wants is someone like Nina bursting into her life, announcing that they’re sisters and campaigning to track down their mother. She’s too busy with her successful salon, three children, beautiful home, and…oh yes, some pesky little anxiety attacks.
But Nina is determined to reassemble her birth family. Her search turns up Phoebe Mullen, a guarded, hard-talking woman convinced she has nothing to offer. Gradually sharing stories and secrets, the three women make for a messy, unpredictable family that looks nothing like Nina pictured…but may be exactly what she needs. Nina’s moving, ridiculous, tragic, and transcendent journey becomes a love story proving that real family has nothing to do with DNA.
“Dawson (The Opposite of Maybe, 2014, etc.) is a generous storyteller, creating characters who are both complex and unexpected while being wholly relatable.” Kirkus Reviews
“Maddie Dawson has been a longtime favorite writer of mine because she has the gift of tapping into the emotions and complexities of a woman’s heart and effortlessly combining tension with joy. She’s done it again with The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness. Put it on your list of not-to-be-missed fiction.” —Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, cofounder of She Reads and author of The Things We Wish Were True
“Like authors Liane Moriarty and JoJo Moyes, Maddie Dawson is one of those gifted writers who spins seemingly comic, romantic tales that tackle our most universal longings for love, connection, and family. In her newest book, she delivers the story of two sisters given up for adoption. Their journey to discover each other and the mother who gave them up is by turns heart-wrenching and laugh-out-loud hilarious. I loved every witty sentence.” —Holly Robinson, author of Chance Harbor and Beach Plum Island
“Maddie Dawson has done it again. Witty, warm, and full of insights into life’s maddening complexities, her novels should come with a warning label: May cause tears, laughter, or all of the above.” —Sarah Knight, bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
“In this heartfelt novel, Dawson (The Opposite of Maybe, 2014) weaves together the stories of three very different women who are bound by blood, delving deeply into the true meaning of family.” —Booklist
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Review: When I started this book, I wasn't sure how I was going to make it to the end. I have to say from the start, Nina was a character I had problems with . She was so flighty and unlikable to me. 

I can't pretend to understand how someone that is adopted might feel, but while she was grieving for the lost of her adoptive mom, she was worried about finding her "birth" mother. OK, Nina calls her, her "real" mother. I took exception to that, because in my eyes, just because a woman pops out a baby doesn't make her a mother. A mother is someone that gives love and care to a child.

It was really her love interest, Carter that started to get me to warm to her and how desperately she wanted to have family connections. She was definitely very persistent and that's what really made me come to like her. Then there were Carter's teenage children, Tyler and Indigo (Kayla). Indigo really takes to Nina and helps her along the way when it comes to her search for her mother.

In the course of things, she finds she wasn't adopted from birth. She was actually with her mom for awhile and she has a sister. The two of them connect haphazardly.

Lindy is everything that Nina is not. She's settled with her high school sweetheart and has a family and a great career.  The development of the relationship of these two sisters is the other thing that makes the story. Nina wants all the family she can get, whereas Lindy is more cautious, but they slowly bond and become friends as well as sisters.

Then there is the unraveling of their mother's story. Pheobe is a character that you have a myriad of feelings for. She's had an interesting and messed up life. As her story unravels you feel more and more sympathy for her.

This book is so full of quirky characters that you can't help but love for all their faults and flaws.

It took awhile to get into the story, but once I did, I really came to enjoy it.

Rating: 4 flowers


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm glad you stuck with this one and that you eventually really got into it! Virtual high five to Carter for that. :)

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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