Monday 21 January 2008

Book ~ "Family Tree" - Barbara Delinsky (2007)

From ~ When Dana and Hugh Clarke's baby is born into their wealthy, white New England seaside community, the baby's unmistakably African-American features puzzle her thoroughly Anglo-looking parents. Hugh's family pedigree extends back to the Mayflower, and his historian father has made a career of tracing the esteemed Clarke family genealogy, which does not include African-Americans. Dana's mother died when Dana was a child, and Dana never knew her father: she matter-of-factly figures that baby Lizzie's features must hark back to her little-known past. Hugh, a lawyer who has always passionately defended his minority clients, finds his liberal beliefs don't run very deep and demands a paternity test to rule out the possibility of infidelity. By the time the Clarkes have uncovered the tangled roots of their family trees, more than one skeleton has been unearthed, and the couple's relationship, not to mention their family loyalty, has been severely tested. Delinsky smoothly challenges characters and readers alike to confront their hidden hypocrisies. Although the dialogue about race at times seems staged and rarely delves beyond a surface level, and although near-perfect Dana and her knitting circle are too idealized to be believable, Delinsky gets the political and personal dynamics right.

This is the first book I've read by Delinsky and the theme intrigued me.

I did enjoy the story but there was so many storylines going on (though I didn't get confused). Hugh lost his trust in Dana briefly but still insisted on the paternity test so he'd have proof that Lizzie was his to show others. He cared more about what people were going to think than on how this was affecting Dana. Then he expected her to be understanding and forgiving.

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