Sunday, December 11, 2011

how to build a family

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: memoir
Challenge: 100 Book Challenge 2011
Review: It may be a cliche to say that you laughed so hard you cried, except that I did while reading this book.  Several times.  Greene tells the story of how her family created itself with such wonderful humor that you can't help but fall in love with them all.

Of course, a book like this can't be all sunshine and smiles, and Greene doesn't pull her punches when relating stories of family tribulation.  Nor does she leave us in any doubt that children around the world face horrifying poverty and hunger every day.

If this book has a flaw, it's that it's a little uneven.  In the midst of discussing the process of adopting one child, the narrative jumps back to relate an anecdote involving an older child, or Green's own childhood.  These leaps never detract from the overall story, but the transitions are sometimes jarring.

Another cliche: this book is both hysterical and heartbreaking.  But mostly it is about how family bonds are about love and effort more than blood.

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