Saturday, July 23, 2011

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

I picked up Then Came You because of a review I read in that literary giant, People Magazine.  I'm willing to take recommendations wherever I can find them. 

The story reads very much like a Jodi Picoult novel.  It is told through the eyes of four women:  India, Bettina, Jules, and Annie.  They are all related through the process of surrogacy.  India is the younger bride of a wealthy older man, and Bettina is his daughter from a first marriage.  Jules is the egg donor and Annie is the surrogate.  I don't want to review too much of the plot, but there are some twists and turns in the story.  What I thought would be a story about wealth and social status ended up being about families and how they are created.

Strengths of Then Came You:

There is a sign in my house that reads "Friends are the family one finds along the way."  That sentiment sums up the book for me.  The four women do become a sort of extended family for baby Rory by the end of the book.  I found myself most interested in Annie's story.  There was a real life quality to her that made her likable, and I could really understand the choices she made in the book.

Weaknesses of Then Came You:

The narrative shifts between the women much like a Picoult novel.  However, Weiner's writing was not as crisp as Picoult's.  There were many times when it was clear what would happen even when the perspective changed.  Also, the second half of the book is loaded with Bettina, who was my least favorite character. 

Bettina's mother, the first wife of India's husband, was underutilized in the novel.  The author gave her an interesting back story.  I'd have been interested in bringing her more to the forefront, especially in the second half of the book.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, a chick lit book with some meat and substance.  I'm going to give it 4 stars.  If you've read it, I'd love to know what you think!

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