THEN CAME YOU by Jennifer Weiner

THEN CAME YOU

KIRKUS REVIEW

Four women confront the quandaries surrounding modern motherhood, in Weiner’s fraught latest (In Her Shoes, 2002, etc.).

The four narrators of this cautionary tale of motherhood wouldn’t be where they are without serious parenting issues. Trust-fund baby Bettina’s father, Marcus, a Wall Street kingpin, was so devastated when her mother decamped to Taos to follow a guru, that he fell prey to an airbrushed gold digger, India, who, Bettina believes, not only tricked him into marriage but into reproducing by surrogacy. Jules, a work-study student at Princeton, becomes an egg donor to earn enough to put her father, a formerly respectable high school teacher whose career and marriage exploded after a drunken vehicular felony, through rehab. Annie, happily married, still anguishes over the expense of raising two rambunctious boys and maintaining a ramshackle family farmhouse on her husband Frank’s salary as a TSA officer. To replenish the family coffers, Frank reluctantly agrees to let her become a surrogate mother—very reluctantly, it turns out. India, abandoned by her own mother, fled to Hollywood from Connecticut at 18. Failing to take Hollywood by storm, she reinvented herself as a publicist, shedding years and pounds with the aid of false documents and surgical enhancements. At 37, India, a rising Manhattan PR star, ensnares Marcus by helping him order coffee at Starbucks. Bettina hires a detective, discovering India's real age (43) and other truths so shocking that they cannot be revealed until the end of the novel. Nonetheless, her brothers and her laid-back Buddhist mother refuse to help her dislodge India—there’s plenty of money to go around, after all. Besides, could that unfamiliar discomfiture Bettina is experiencing be sympathy for her stepmother? And could India actually be factoring love into her calculations of Marcus’ net worth? 

The conflicts enmeshing all these characters, as each becomes embroiled in Marcus and India’s “assisted gestation” scheme, are gripping, and Weiner’s elucidation of socio-economic determinism is as sharp as ever. However, the ending does not so much jump the shark as de-fang it.

Pub Date: July 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4516-1772-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2011




BEA 2012 RECOMMENDED FICTION:

Fiction THEN CAME YOU by Jennifer Weiner
by Jennifer Weiner
Fiction CANADA by Richard Ford
by Richard Ford
Fiction THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker
by Karen Thompson Walker
Mystery PATIENT ONE by Leonard Goldberg
by Leonard Goldberg

MORE BY JENNIFER WEINER

FictionALL FALL DOWN by Jennifer Weiner
by Jennifer Weiner
FictionTHE NEXT BEST THING by Jennifer Weiner
by Jennifer Weiner
FictionBEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Jennifer Weiner
by Jennifer Weiner

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionEVERYTHING CONCEIVABLE by Liza Mundy
by Liza Mundy
FictionKINSHIP THEORY by Hester Kaplan
by Hester Kaplan
FictionTHESE GIRLS by Sarah Pekkanen
by Sarah Pekkanen