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The Making of Us, by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell, (Random House, $27.99)This great fireside read opens with a woman's decision to have a baby via sperm donation back in 1979, when such an idea was barely considered, let alone openly discussed. Fast-forward

Lisa Jewell, (Random House, $27.99)

This great fireside read opens with a woman’s decision to have a baby via sperm donation back in 1979, when such an idea was barely considered, let alone openly discussed.

Fast-forward a couple of decades, and we meet Lydia, Dean and Robyn, three people who share the same unknown donor father, Frenchman Daniel. Unbeknownst to them, Daniel is terminally ill and has decided to find them before he dies.

All three siblings have journeys to make – Lydia, the accidental millionaire, has everything that money can buy but not a single person she can call a friend; Dean, a man-boy who finds himself with a brand new motherless baby and the stark realisation that he simply can’t cope with what his life has thrown at him; and teenager Robyn, who hasn’t yet grown up enough to find her feet.

Fans of writer Lisa (other books include Ralph’s Party and The Truth About oelody Browne) won’t be disappointed – traumatic childhood secrets, death, distorted truths and devastation abound.

The four main characters’ stories are told independently, the vines of their individual worlds growing and twisting throughout the book, and finally intertwining in this great page-turner.

With topics including teenage death and the obligatory gentle erotica that fills out so much chick lit, The oaking of Us is definitely for the more open-minded – but given the opening pages are about sperm donation, the fact some of the topics discussed aren’t coffee-table conversations for many of us doesn’t come as a surprise.

With the exception of Daniel, who feels a trifle flat throughout the book, the characters are well-layered and surprisingly easy to relate to. Although the end is disappointingly obvious, on the whole this is a thought-provoking and touching read, and well worth curling up with on the couch.

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