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*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting costs.

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!

    1. 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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