The Making Of Us – Lisa Jewell – 7/10

“They were not identical, but they were alike. They were like her.”

In The Making Of Us, Jewell weaves together strangers united by common genes; children of the same sperm donor. Lydia has finally escaped from a cold and hated life on a Welsh estate. Dean is heartbroken when his girlfriend doesn’t survive the birth of their child. Robyn is set for a career as a doctor. Slowly they discover the truth about their parentage, but will it be soon enough for them to meet their father, who lies dying in a hospice?

Jewell does well to make three such disparate characters warm and likeable. Lydia is cold and has rejected the world, but we want her to find a man and learn to accept her best friend’s marriage and child. Dean is weak and broken by grief, but we know he can do better. Robyn seems to lead a charmed life. In a sense, this novel is a character study in pieces, united by the plot of the children finding each other and their father; it is the everyday stories of the children which are riveting, not their search for paternity.

I was underwhelmed by the Daniel storyline; Maggie and Daniel both seemed quite dull and unlike other “dying books” (The Love Verb, Before I Die), I did not get much of a sense of the disease, of the grief of onlookers, of the misery of those last few days/months.

I don’t seem to have praised this novel very highly – I did stay up quite late finishing it, which is always worth an extra point out of ten; it’s not a deep or meaningful novel, but perfectly entertaining.

Additional information:
Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Publisher: Random House, 470 pages (paperback)
Order The Making of Us from Amazon*
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2 thoughts on “The Making Of Us – Lisa Jewell – 7/10

  1. Interesting review. I know what you mean about emphasising the bits that you didn’t like over the things that did work for you–it’s a tough balance to get right! This one looks like one I’d borrow, but probably not purchase. Thanks for the review!

    • Tolita 24 September 2012 at 1:13 pm Reply

      Right move Stephanie. ‘The Making of Us’ is like junk food; short term satisfaction but no long term gain. The first half of this review is over-generous to say the least. It gives the characters far more literary merit than they deserve. Lydia and Robyn are irritating. Dean is the sole solid protagonist. I quite liked Daniel and Maggie but there is something flat about their interaction.

      But I agree that it is entertaining if underwhelming. If I’m to go by this Jewell is not a fantastic writer.

      Look out for my take on it later this week (plug, plug 😉 )

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