Marian Caldwell, a thirty something, is at the top of her career. A successful producer of a hit TV series, she spends her days and nights with her handsome, successful boyfriend in New York. She has everything she could ever dream of, except sometimes she’s reminded of an incident that took place 18 years ago and tries to bury it deep.
Despite being adopted, 18 year old Kirby is a well-adjusted teenager, trying to figure out her place in the world, when she makes the life-changing decision to seek out her birth mother and ask her why she was given away. From the moment she meets Marian, she turns her life upside down, as the two women try to figure out what to do with the other woman who doesn’t seem to belong.
As Marian and Kirby embark on a journey that could change both their lives, they realise that sometimes the destination isn’t always important, but the trip it took to get there.
Like most of Emily Giffin’s novel, Where We Belong was a highly enjoyable read, and perfect for a lazy afternoon where all I wanted to do was just “read one more chapter”!
As usual, Marian and Kirby were both well-developed, interesting characters, that kept my attention, as the story flipped through both of their stories. While very successful at her career and professional life, Marian wasn’t as put-together as you would imagine, and I really enjoyed this about her. She still regrets giving Kirby away for adoption and thinks of her often. She struggles to move forward with her life, even though she still hasn’t forgiven herself for what she did, and there’s a part of her that longs to go back and change things.
On the other hand, Kirby isn’t exactly what you would expect. She isn’t overly rebellious or trouble-maker, and doesn’t want to hurt her parents when she decides to look for Marian. Even she’s a bright girl, Kirby isn’t very good at school, and wonders if college is for her. For the most part, she read as a very realistic teenager, except sometimes her voice was a bit mature for her age.
Giffin’s strength remains in her characters, and this is where the major action of the story was. Even after Marian and Kirby met for the first time, there was tension remaining there between them in all the things they said and didn’t say. It’s not like Kirby has dramatically run away from home in order to be with Marian, and so she tries to figure out a way to include the woman who gave birth to her, while not hurting the people who raised her.
The ending was a bittersweet one, and unlike most of Giffin’s stories, doesn’t end with a happily-ever-after. Things are happy enough, but there’s a tinge of realism there too. Marian made her choices 18 years ago, and while she can regret them and feel guilty over them, she can’t turn back the clock, which was an interesting lesson to take away.
All in all, an enjoyable, quick read.
So for that: 4/5.
Thanks for reading,