Sometimes, a book just works for me. In the case of Giving Myself Away by Grete De Angelo, it was definitely the quirky “voice” of the novel that made me want to keep reading. I found it to be rather charming, and it elevated what could have been a rather serious novel into a charmer.
Adrienne is having sort of a crappy life. Her marriage with her long time sweetheart is over, and her husband has left her for a “newer” model. Adrienne is now dealing with her two boys largely on her own, save for their visits with their dad. In a moment of bad judgment, Adrienne sleeps with George, the local undertaker who has loved her forever.
George thinks this is the beginning of a new life with Adrienne. He plans to marry her and be a father to her children. His own daughter hates Adrienne, but no matter. Their blended family will be perfect. Adrienne is not on board with this plan—George was just a good friend who happened to be available when Adrienne needed someone. But a rather large complication develops—Adrienne gets pregnant. George immediately proposes and has big future plans.
Instead, Adrienne decides to give the baby up for adoption. She does not feel prepared to deal with this new baby, and marriage to George does not seem like the best idea. Even though no one in her life agrees with her decision, she makes plans for the adoption. When George decides to move on, Adrienne is forced to confront her responsibility in her own life choices and to give herself an active voice in her own life.
Giving Myself Away was a delightful read. While I did not always agree with the decisions of the characters, I did like reading about their relationships with one another. I found the characters heartwarming and understandable. I particularly enjoyed that there were no easy answers here, no bows tying up the loose ends, and no artificial sappy ending. These characters felt like real people.
While there were some comic elements in the plot, there were several moments of seriousness as well. The surrender of a child is a serious matter. The topic was tackled with sensitivity, kindness, and care.
I really enjoyed Giving Myself Away and I look forward to reading more from Grete De Angelo.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina