FAMILY FAMILY by Laurie Frankel

FAMILY FAMILY is the perfect book club pick. Funny and wise, it raises thought-provoking questions about what makes a family.

Across multiple timelines, readers join India Allwood on her journey from spirited teen dreaming of a life on the stage, to studying hard as an undergrad, landing a role on Broadway, snagging an agent, and finding fame as a T.V. superhero. She’s a true individual with strong opinions and many quirks. (She turns her index research cards into makeshift confetti, kept in her pocket for moments of spontaneous celebration.)

Her star is still rising when she lands the lead role in a movie about adoption—and dares to criticize the depressing storyline. To a journalist.

As the adoptive mother of Jack and Fig, her 10-year-old twins, India argues adoption can be happy not traumatic. It isn’t about settling for second best, nor is it about loss—children losing their real families, or parents losing the hope of having biological children. Adoption has always been her first choice, and as the story unfolds, we learn why.

Her public comments, however, lead to a media storm that threatens her career. According to her agent: “Somehow you’ve managed to make a whole lot of people who agree on absolutely nothing, including the problem, agree that whatever it is, it’s all your fault.”

With paparazzi and protestors surrounding their house, Jack and Fig embark on their own secret P.R. mission. Their plan brings a supporting cast of lovable, off-beat characters into the middle of the crisis. “Families are like flashlights,” Fig explains. “It’s good to have extra.”

What happens next proves that family can be a sprawling, entwined mess that doesn’t depend on DNA. Nor is love enough, because people who love each other have different needs and dreams. Maybe her extended family can help India rediscover her dreams.

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