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Any Other Family (Hardcover)
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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
The New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters returns with a striking and intimate new novel about three very different adoptive mothers who face the impossible question: What makes a family?
Though they look like any other family, they aren’t one—not quite. They are three sets of parents who find themselves intertwined after adopting four biological siblings, having committed to keeping the children as connected as possible.
At the heart of the family, the adoptive mothers grapple to define themselves and their new roles. Tabitha, who adopted the twins, crowns herself planner of the group, responsible for endless playdates and holidays, determined to create a perfect happy family. Quiet and steady Ginger, single mother to the eldest daughter, is wary of the way these complicated not-fully-family relationships test her long held boundaries. And Elizabeth, still reeling from rounds of failed IVF, is terrified that her unhappiness after adopting a newborn means she was not meant to be a mother at all.
As they set out on their first family vacation, all three are pushed into uncomfortably close quarters. And when they receive a call from their children’s birth mother announcing she is pregnant again, the delicate bonds the women are struggling to form threaten to collapse as they each must consider how a family is found and formed.
About the Author
Eleanor Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Weird Sisters and The Light of Paris, and the editor of the anthology A Paris All Your Own. An adoptive mother herself, Eleanor lives with her family in Colorado.
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“[A] full-bodied exploration of family ties, especially those made by choice…While the adult relationships endure peaks and valleys that reflect the Colorado landscape, the younger generation appears to have its feet planted on solid ground. Isn’t that the goal for any family, in ordinary time and otherwise, no matter how it came together?” –The New York Times Book Review
“Brown thoughtfully explores the ways a chosen family’s dynamics work, or do not, through the voices of three adoptive mothers of four biological siblings….Brown’s experience with adoption brings emotional depth to her chronicle of each woman’s anxieties.” –The Washington Post
"A tearjerker that nails the issues of fertility, adoption, and raising kids, this is a conversation starter about parenthood you don't want to miss." –Real Simple
“[A] treat of a novel…[Brown] examines the pressures placed on mothers while considering what makes a family and comes up with a wonderful answer: commitment and love.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Brown explores the meaning of motherhood and the limits of a blended family in her vivid character study of four biological siblings adopted by three sets of parents, set across the span of a single (and singular) vacation.” –Entertainment Weekly
“This novel is about what it means to be a family. It follows three sets of parents and the changes, hopes, and complications that arise when they find themselves connected by their adoptions of four biological siblings.” –Southern Living
"[A] character study that digs into boundaries and belonging." –TIME
“Brown herself is an adoptive mother and it’s clear from the story she’s written that she thinks deeply about the issue. There’s real empathy written into each character and the novel serves as a hearty endorsement for open adoption, when the biological and adoptive parents both play roles in a child’s life….[Readers] who appreciate fiction that shows them how others choose to live, will enjoy the heart at the core of Any Other Family.” –Associated Press
“In an absorbing and entertaining book, Brown challenges parents to face the complexities of adoption today.” –The Denver Post
“Brown is skilled at creating characters and expressing a wide range of reactions and feelings as her story progresses….[A] compelling tale about a complex arrangement.” –Centennial Citizen
"Insightful...[Brown's] characters wrestle convincingly and compassionately with the challenges of their particular experience....Thoughtful, compelling and ultimately hopeful, Any Other Family asks hard and necessary questions about adoption, privilege and what truly makes a family." –Shelf Awareness
“Rewarding…Brown has a sure hand in portraying the adoptive women; their smart, lively dialogue sparks as the characters try to define the boundaries of a family. Overall, Brown entertains with her colorful cast and engaging conceit.” –Publishers Weekly
“Told in the alternating perspectives of the three adoptive mothers and interspersed with written adoption applications from eager parents-to-be, the novel moves thoughtfully, precisely, and sometimes humorously through the psyches of the parents, pushing the readers into the quick-paced, perfectly detailed story while never forgetting the looming questions of family and belonging. A prismatic story of family, adoption, and how the people we choose to keep close shape who we are.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Brown pulls no punches as she explores adoption and the experience of parenting in this intensely emotional novel, thought-provoking to the last page.” –Library Journal
“Brown’s tenderness toward these women, as well as the fathers, their children and the birth mother and father, draws readers toward empathy as well, as we feel our way into the complexities and nuances of the characters’ seemingly impossible choices.” –BookPage
"Brown's exploration of what makes a family creates an engrossing read." –Booklist
“Funny, wise, heartbreaking, and heart-mending, Any Other Family explores what it means to be a family, in all its messy complication. Emotionally complex, immensely readable, and deeply affecting." –Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles