Monday, November 14, 2011

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

Published in 2010. 435 pages.
Audiobook read by Cassandra Campbell.

Barbara Delinsky is a new-to-me author. Perusing the audiobook shelves at the library, I recently happened upon Not My Daughter, one of two of Delinsky's books that I had previously put on my to-read list. (The other is Family Tree.) Reminded of the 2010 Lifetime movie The Pregnancy Pact (which featured the incredible Camryn Manheim), I decided that I was in the mood to listen to this book while providing "mom taxi" services. Within a day of beginning the audiobook, I was back at the library to pick up a paperback copy because I realized that I wasn't going to spend enough time in the car to move through the story quickly enough!

Not a knitter, I nevertheless loved the symbolism provided by this hobby of the characters of the book. The emotions connected to both "being knit together in love" and "coming unraveled" are depicted well in the story.

I found Not My Daughter extremely compelling, and ultimately thought-provoking on both a personal and a societal level. How does a mother deal with her unfilled expectations of her child? How much is a mother responsible for the (bad) choices of her child? What does it mean to love - and to forgive? What is a family? Are the changing definitions and configurations of "family" positive developments, or do they undermine what family is supposed to be?

I'd like to read another book by the prolific Delinsky, but which one should I read next? Have you read any of her books? If so, what do you recommend?



  1. I've read several of her books. Off the top of my head, I remember Not My Daughter, Family Tree, and While My Sister Sleeps, but my favorite was Shades of Grace. It's one of her older books that's been re-released, and probably the only I remember with any clarity, even though I read it back in the 1990s.

    Shades of Grace is about a strong woman running a business, her daughter, and her granddaughter. Grace is the grandmother, and she has Alzheimer's. Her daughter doesn't want to admit it, and Grace has managed to hide it so far. I read the book about the time my mother's Alzheimer's was diagnosed, and this was the first book I'd ever noticed where the main character had AD (Alzheimer's Disease).

    Delinsky has written scores of books -- Barnes & Noble has ten pages of her books at 30 to a page, though there are several editions of some novels. So you might simply want to look down a list and see how many stars a book has from its reviewers. She's a consistent writer, for the most part, with books that satisfy me while I'm reading them -- and then I forget them, except for Shades of Grace.

  2. Bonnie: Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough response to my question! I've added Shades of Grace to my to-read list.

  3. I'm going to read/listen to a Delinsky book some day. I don't think I have any on my TBR shelves or on my iPod at the moment, though.