In this warm, wise novel about the many forms family takes, an adoptive mom and rising Hollywood star speaks her truth.
Good to know
India Allwood grew up wanting to be an actor. Armed with a stack of index cards (for research/line memorization/makeshift confetti), she goes from awkward sixteen-year-old to Broadway ingénue to TV superhero.
Her new movie is a prestige picture about adoption, but its spin is the same old tired story of tragedy. India is an adoptive mom in real life though. She wants everyone to know there’s more to her family than pain and regret. So she does something you should never do—she tells a journalist the truth: it’s a bad movie.
Soon she’s at the center of a media storm, battling accusations from the press and the paparazzi, from protesters on the right and advocates on the left. Her twin ten-year-olds know they need help—and who better to call than family? But that’s where it gets really messy because India’s not just an adoptive mother…
The one thing she knows for sure is that what makes a family isn’t blood. And it isn’t love. No matter how they’re formed, the truth about family is this: it’s complicated.
Why I love it
BOTM Editorial Team
Family is…messy. As a child, my mother would tell me time and again: no matter how insane you think your family is, everyone else’s is equally (if not more) messed up. While she may have had a conflict of interest in that conversation, I’m inclined to believe her. Reading Family Family reminded me of these conversations with my mother: cathartic, honest, and just plain funny.
Actress India Allwood is more than the protagonist of this novel—even in her own universe, she’s a star across theater, film, and television. Her ascent to fame, though, is no walk in the park. When promoting her latest movie—one that tells an adoption story that ends in pain—catastrophe strikes. Tired of hearing the same tragic story time and time again as an adoptive mother herself, India publicly denounces the film. In her children’s attempt to help clean up the ensuing media chaos, the whole family is forced to reckon with India’s past. Through the events that follow, India and her children are reminded that family isn’t blood. Family is love, hard work, and most of all: complicated.
Even through its mess, India’s story is a love letter to family. Laurie Frankel is a master at sharp dialogue and her writing is compulsively readable—she takes the most intense moments of life and injects them with both hilarity and heart. A thought-provoking and uplifting read, Family Family is a book that you won’t be able to put down.