Where We Belong {Reading Recap}

by Emily Giffin
Where We Belong

Goodreads' summary: 
Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfililng career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door...only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby apperas on her doorstep, Marian's perfectly constructed world - and her very identity - will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.
For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light.  As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves - a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.  
My Review: 
The book was a little slow-going at first, but once in the meat of things, it was definitely a page turner!  I loved all of the characters .. that's right, every.single.one.of.them.  This story was definitely one that touched my heart, in more ways than one.  
I found this book very relatable.  Kirby Rose felt like an outsider, a loner if you will.  She didn't really feel she belonged anywhere - she wasn't popular in school, her parents had their 'miracle' baby, she knew she was adopted, she didn't excel at anything in particular, and her one interest was sort of looked down upon.  Poor thing.  Although these are not all exactly 'me', I was still able to relate to Kirby.  I've had my moments of loneliness and lacking a sense of belonging.  I don't have a lot of friends I can turn to and lean on in my moments of need.  A daunting future after high school IS scary.  I was there.  But, just like Kirby, I was able to find my way.  I have a loving family that supports me 120%, a faithful and compassionate husband that I can lean on no matter the circumstances, and true, loyal friends (although few) that I know have my back always.  I have a home, a great job, a strong faith, and a good head on my shoulders.  
Finishing the book, I was forced to reflect upon my life and the choices I've made in the past 20 years. 
Were there hard times?  Hell yes.  
Did I cry day in and day out sometimes?  Absolutely. 
Was it worth it?  Every minute.  
You see, God has a plan for all of us, and although we don't know what that plan is, it will happen in His time and on His terms.  There's no doubt that struggling through those hard times have only made me stronger to face what is to come.  There's no doubt that there are still stormy days ahead.  But there's also no doubt that I have a support system to turn to in times of need.  There's no doubt that I will enjoy every minute of every day while living my life to the fullest.  I've had to make some difficult decisions in the course of my lifetime, but I don't have a single regret.Upon reflecting on my life after finishing this book, I know that I'm truly blessed to be where I am in life and I know that my reality is better than any fairy tale ♥. 
Teenage Pregnancy
This is a topic that is very common in today's society.  Teenagers are sexually active, leading to many teenage, unplanned pregnancies.  I was fortunate enough to not have to grow up and sacrifice my teen years and early twenties raising a baby.  I'm not saying it's the worst thing ever, because I personally know people that have been there and have become so much better for it (and are such amazing mothers and fathers!).  In this book, Marian ended up losing her virginity and becoming pregnant in the same night.  She called it the 'double curse'.  It really does take just one time in order to become pregnant.  And just when you think it can't happen to you, it does!  Marian made the choice to give birth to her baby but to give it up for adoption.  I am not a mother (yet), but I cannot even fathom the difficulty of that decision.  Although she knew it was the best decision for her baby, the guilt and pain of losing your baby is just unimaginable.  BUT, the thought of literally keeping it a secret from EVERYONE, including your own father AND the baby's father, is just unreal.  I definitely didn't agree with that decision.  

Although I was rooting for Peter in the beginning, as he seemed so perfect for Marian, I'm so glad she told him the truth - that she could not marry him because she wanted to be madly in love with her husband.  She admitted that she loved the idea of Peter but not the man himself, especially after seeing her high school flame, Conrad, again.  Those two were inseparable the summer after their high school graduation - and ended up being the loves of each other's lives.  Who knew?!  A summer romance really can turn into something much deeper and more meaningful.  When you love someone so much, you just know that they're 'the one'.  I know it's totally cliche, but it's so true!  If you have to question whether it's right for you to marry so and so, then it probably isn't.  I know that I had no doubt in my mind when Colten proposed.  I knew we were meant to be together!  And it's such an amazing feeling.  

Kirby really struggled with not feeling as though she 'belonged' with her family, so she took the risk to find her birth parents - she was so strong! It definitely took courage and (let's face it) balls to do what she did.  I know it's just a book, but it proved just how passionate she was in finding out where she came from - to find that sense of belonging.  Once she met and knew her birth parents, she fit in better.  There was no question where she got her musical talent from or her fine hair or pale skin.  And one of my favorite parts of this whole book is definitely the scene where Marian and her father finally talked about the 'big secret' they were all keeping from each other.  They cut to the chase, admitted hurt feelings, bluntly explained their feelings, and they moved forward.  Her dad wanted her to keep the baby - so precious!  My second favorite part: the day of Kirby's high school graduation, with her family and birth parents in her living room reminiscing over her baby/childhood pictures, with her MOTHER narrating.  Such a beautiful picture and sense of belonging for Kirby.  I personally didn't relate as much with this aspect of the book.  My family is so strong and I've always felt I've belonged.  But I'm also not adopted, so there's that.  My family is loud, crazy, outgoing, supportive, funny, out of control, laid back, and most importantly, loving.  No matter what has happened, through all of the ups and downs, we've always been there for each other no matter what.  I know I can turn to any and all of them when I'm feeling down about something, in trouble, or just need to chat.  I know, I'm so blessed! 

I was actually sad when the book ended.  I was really hoping for more of a story between Conrad and Marian after all those years apart, but the books never get to the 'happily ever after' ... *sigh*. 
In all, I loved this book and would definitely recommend it to ANYONE and EVERYONE! 

Linking up with Heather over at Blonde...Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

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Shoshanah said...

I loved this book as well! It's definitely my favorite out of all of Emily Giffin's books. And while I don't expect a sequel, knowing her style, I'm sure well see a peak at Marian's life within the next book or so.

Victoria said...

i liked this book too,but i agree that it was slow at the start. interesting read :)

cute blog!

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