Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Then She Found Me, Elinor Lipman

Posted by lea at 11:54 AM
Imagine you grew up as part of a loving adopted family. Your adoptive parents pass away (they were pretty old) and suddenly you're contacted by Kerri-Ann Kennerly. She says you're her long-lost daughter, torn from her tender 17 year-old bosom, and now she wants a relationship with you.

This is the situation that faces April Epner, protagonist of Then She Found Me. April is a realist - a quiet school teacher who isn't interested in fashion or fortune. Her birth mother, it transpires, is a flashy fashionista who hosts a third-rate talk show and loves fame and all its trappings. Having reached a 'certain point' in her life, Bernice makes contact with her only child, which is the catalyst that sets the story in motion.

Elinor Lipman is an old hand at bringing everyday, flawed characters to life, and she does so again with true mastery in Then She Found Me. Bernice is wonderfully drawn and colourful as a conflicted drama queen who wants to redeem herself with April, despite the selfishness with which she's lived the past 36 years since giving her up. There's also a surprising love interest for April, and only Lipman could make this guy endearing so that you're actually rooting for him.

Then She Found Me is written with a great balance of light wit and deep pathos, and recommended for people who don't need Hollywood excesses in their stories (tear-jerking dramatics, violin-inducing romance, etc).

Oh and yes, it's Helen Hunt and Bette Midler you see in the image. Helent Hunt both directs and plays April in the movie version, and it's pretty good. Low key. Midler's great.

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