11 May 2011

Book Review: The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

Lydia, Dean and Robyn have no idea who each other is, yet they are all amazingly linked by one man, Daniel, laying in a hospice bed with his friend Maggie tending to him. The three are Daniel's children, yet none of them know it. On his death bed, Daniel decides to make contact and sets off a chain of events that is going to make enormous changes in all of their lives. Lydia still struggles with her upbringing, the death of her mother and the behaviour of her father, and this has carried on in to her adult life. Dean has found himself having to grow up very quickly after his relationship with Skye takes a very tragic turn, and is unsure of how to deal with it. Robyn wants to follow in her father's footsteps and be a doctor, but is she wanting to do it for the right reasons? What will happen when these three people realise each other exists, and how will it impact on their lives?
I haven't read a Lisa Jewell book for a good few years now, so when The Making of Us turned up, I was quite curious by the premise and thought it sounded like it could be a good read. I have to be honest and say I wasn't overly taken by the cover, the colour is very bold but does look a little basic - however I like the imagery used, it does look quite nice in that respect. It's quite a large paperback as well, and at 400 pages it's not a short read but it whizzed by really fast and before I knew it, I was turning the last page. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book and it'll certainly make me want to pick up more of Jewell's books in future.

The idea of sperm donation is opened at the beginning when we join the character of Maggie whose husband can't give her a baby. She decides to go behind his back and get pregnant via a sperm donor, which does start the book with some questionable morals, I have to admit, but it isn't a secret right from the beginning. After that, we jump to the present day and meet up with Lydia, Dean and Robyn, all separately of course. We find out that Lydia is wealthy but very unhappy, Dean is from a rough upbringing and struggling with the reality of his new life and Robyn is a young student trying to find her feet. They're all very different but quite similar and I like the way Jewell made these characters people in their own right as well as the joining of them together via the story.

I don't really a know a lot about sperm donation, and while the book doesn't really go into a lot of detail about it, it is more about the impact it has on the people affected by it. Yes, there is a lot in this book which is coincidental i.e. the characters all living pretty closely, all happy about being fathered by a sperm donor, all knowing about it and all contacting the website about meeting up with other siblings in a short space of time, something which probably wouldn't happen in real life, but that's fiction for you, it allows for these things to happen in a nice way. The way it is dealt with in the book with the children and parents is good, its quite matter of fact and open, again, perhaps not how it would be in real life but it works well for the story.

It is an emotional book, and that continues right the way through. The childhood of Lydia is an emotional story and in conveyed throughout the book as such, and it certainly makes you warm to her because of what you know she has been through. I really liked Lydia,  she has a good heart behind her stony exterior and the way she bonds with others in the book is quiet touching. Dean is someone I really loved, he's had a hard time of it and clearly thinks badly of himself, but you can see he is a lovely person and that something is going to bring him out of himself. Robyn is also a nice character, but I found that I didn't care about her quite as much as the other two characters, she had everything that the others didn't have and therefore there was less to sympathise.

There was a little bit in the book that made me slightly uncomfortable, something relating to Robyn and her relationship with her boyfriend that I felt was a bit odd and felt wrong which is why I've knocked a star off, I felt uncomfortable reading this part and while luckily for me, it was a relatively small part of the book, it just didn't sit right with me. Overall, I really enjoyed the reading of this book, aside from the bit I mentioned, and it certainly was an emotional and touching read. I liked the way the chapters alternated with who they followed but it was written in the third person, it just worked really well and made a pleasant reading experience. The characters were great, the story was touching and lovely and it was a well written and enjoyable novel. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4/5


  1. I cannot wait to read this! This is the first Lisa Jewell book that I have been so exited that I have been counting down the days till its released! I have enjoyed Lisa Jewell's other books but this has got to me giddy! Thanks chole for a great review.

  2. omg I cant tell you how much I love lisas books. I have only recently discovered her and I have read all her books in the space of two months :) In my view nobody compares to lisa she is like a great big therapy session I CANT WAIT

  3. I'm looking forward to this book as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed Chloe didn't knock off a star for the reasons I'm thinking. Hopefully I'm wrong!