Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren Sharkey is a story of misunderstanding, approval and hope. It’s a story about adoption and an adopted child that I haven’t ever seen before.
I’m not adopted, so I can’t really understand what it means to the child. I’ve seen tons of movies about adopted kids, and most of what I see is the child not really feeling like he or she belongs anywhere. I would expect that many adopted kids fight feelings of unimportance.
I’m not adopted, but I understand sometimes not feeling like I belong in my own family.
Maybe that’s why I related to Rowan, the main character in Inconvenient Daughter. She does a lot of things I wouldn’t, but I understood her reasoning behind it. I understand it, because I’ve been there.
Title: Inconvenient Daughter
Author: Lauren J. Sharkey
Number of Pages: 232
Genre: General Fiction
Rowan is a young lady from Korea, adopted by American parents. She knows she’s lucky. As time goes on, though, she starts to blame her mom, and convinces herself that her mom hates her. This sends Rowan on a journey of searching for herself, and for the reason why her biological mother “abandoned” her.
Excerpt from Inconvenient Daughter
I ran past tables with blue, red, yellow, and purple chairs before sitting in the last available green, chair, quietly taking in the room. The blackboard at the front of the classroom was blank, while the one on the far wall had a chart with each student’s name, accompanied by small boxes to the right. I saw some boys and girls placing their backpacks into the cubbies beneath it but was too afraid to take off my backpack without permission.
I rested my head on the Cinderella lunch box Mom bought at the Disney Store especially for my first day, inhaling the scent of crayons and pencil shavings. The boys across from me were giggling and one asked, “Who is that lady?”
I followed his finger and noticed Mom was still at the front of the classroom talking to Patty and Mrs. Matthei.
“That’s my mommy.”
“Why don’t you look like your mommy?”
“I don’t know,” I said honestly. “My mommy says I’m special.”
“My brother is ‘special.’ He can’t go to school with normal kids ’cause he’s retarded. Are you a retard?”
“No!” I did not know what a retard was.
“She’s adopted,” the girl next to me explained. “My mom said your real mommy is in China but she didn’t want you, so she gave you to a lady in America who can’t make babies.”
“Gross,” the boy said, pushing his chair away from the table. “That’s worse than cooties!”
The rest of the children pushed their chairs back — no one cared about my Cinderella lunch box with its matching thermos.
I looked at my mother. While I couldn’t remember what color my eyes were, I knew they were not blue. They were not round. They were not hers.
I like the premise of this book. It reads very similar to The Bell Jar, in that it’s all first person, and the reader is aware that as crazy as everything sounds, it also all makes perfect sense.
This book also reads like a memoir, even though it’s fiction. Once I realized this, it made the book easier to read and figure out.
Rowan is a good, complex character. I appreciate that, even though as she’s searching for herself, she seems to come to conclusions rather abruptly. I feel like this would have made a better series, rather than a standalone book. She states how she thinks her mom feels about things, then states things like, “Mom wouldn’t know for years that….” This feels abrupt as well.
This book jumps all over the place. At points, I couldn’t tell if we were reading about 5 year old Rowan, or 24 year old Rowan, or college Rowan. At one point, Rowan is in kindergarten, and suddenly jumps to High School, with no buffer. This made the book rather confusing.
All in all, this book is good, but feels like it needs some further editing, to make the jumps between Rowan’s ages a little more cohesive. She’s a very good character; I found myself relating to her quite a bit in many different situations. I just wish the book read more like fiction, instead of a 16 year old’s diary.
I didn’t like this book, but I also didn’t hate it. Inconvenient Daughter had some really great parts, but had other parts that diminished the whole. For me, this book was average, and worth reading once. Unfortunately, I don’t see myself reading it again.
This book was given to me by Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was honest, and I hope I was kind in my honesty.
Have you read this book? Do you think you will read it? Please let me know in the comments below! What did you think of the Rowan character?
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