Monday, April 5, 2021

Other People's Children - R. J. Hoffman

Other People's Children is R.J. Hoffmann's debut novel. 

What's it about? This is the lead line in the Simon and Schuster's description (so, not a spoiler from me!) "A riveting debut novel about a couple whose dream of adopting a baby is shattered when the teenage mother reclaims her child."

With that descriptor, I knew what I would be reading about, but intuited it wouldn't be a straight forward tale. Other People's Children is based on that premise, but it is the characters that are the focus of the book. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of Hoffmann's characterizations. 

 Hoffman explores generations of parenting, different takes on parenting, what it means to be a parent, parenting styles, the repercussions of childhood through the points of view of prospective parents Gail and Jon, pregnant teen Carli, her mother Marla and adoption agent Paige. As the reader is outside looking in, it is easier to see each each player's perception and give credence to their mindsets and emotions. But as the book progressed, I became biased and knew the outcome I wanted for Other People's Children. I think each reader's own experience will shape their hope for the ending. 

Hoffmann is a talented writer and his prose are quite beautiful. I admit, I was initially surprised that a male author was writing a book with mothers as the main characters. Could he actually capture their thoughts and actions? I thought he did a pretty good job of it, but found Marla to be too much of a caricature. I wonder if this book took some inspiration from his own life?

Prospective readers, this is a slow burning, thoughtful novel. It does speed up close to the end with a dramatic turn of events, although I did find the final pages to be a bit predictable. Read an excerpt of Other People's Children.

1 comment:

Angel charls said...
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