04 April 2013

Review: And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry

The seed for Patti Callahan Henry's new novel, And Then I Found You, is based on the real-life story of the author's younger sister, who made the difficult decision to give birth to a child and then let her be adopted by another family. Thus And Then I Found You, although fiction, is close to Henry's heart.

The book focuses on Katie and Jack, who were childhood friends and then teenage sweethearts. After college, they were separated by circumstances, but a weekend get-together left Katie pregnant just months before Jack married another woman. Katie decided to keep the baby and let a (anonymous) childless couple adopt the girl that Katie had named Luna.

For thirteen years, Katie and Jack led separate lives, never seeing each other but exchanging a letter once a year on Luna's birthday. Then, as Katie struggled to commit fully to her boyfriend, she decided to see Jack and make a final clean break from any lingering feelings. But things didn't go as planned, and Katie's past and present collided, changing her life forever.

There is no question that Henry captures the conflicted emotions and lasting worries and doubts that many people have after deciding to let another family raise their child. Regardless, And Then I Found You wasn't a good match for me. Even keeping in mind that the novel is based on truth and even though I was sympathetic to Katie and the choices she made regarding her daughter, I found it difficult to fully invest in the book.

The problem is entirely with me, and I'm sure that pretty much every one else who reads And Then I Found You will be drawn to Katie, hoping she finds happiness and healing. I've been trying to pinpoint what bothered me about the book, and I think it is mostly with Katie's constant mixed emotions and inability to pick a path and accept that choice. She wants it all, even when it's clear that's impossible. She had a way of blaming others for the consequences of her own actions, and that made it hard for me to like her.

I read Patti Callahan Henry's novel as part of the She Reads book club. If you head on over the She Reads site, you'll find links to other reviews (almost all positive) and a chance to win a copy of the book so you can make up your own mind.

Buy And Then I Found You at an Indie or at bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program.
St. Martin's Press, 2013
ISBN-13: 9780312610760
Rating: C

Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


rhapsodyinbooks 4/4/13, 6:25 AM  

From what I've read about the plot, the most amazing part is that this is a real story!

Sandy Nawrot 4/4/13, 6:58 AM  

Very well said, I totally agree. I found the book compulsively readable, but had a hard time with Kate sometimes. She wants the new boyfriend, the old boyfriend, the kid, completely disregarding others' feelings. She needed a good shake I thought. Still I read the book in super-speed.

Julie P. 4/4/13, 9:06 AM  

I am so glad you voiced this about Katie because I felt similarly. While I felt bad for her in some ways, I think she brought a lot of it on herself. Doesn't that sound awful?

Anonymous,  4/4/13, 9:18 AM  

I'm very intrigued by this review. It actually makes me want to read the book even more. Thanks for this pov.

bermudaonion 4/4/13, 10:46 AM  

I'll be reading this soon and hope I enjoy it more than you did.

SuziQoregon 4/4/13, 11:15 AM  

Sounds interesting but I have a feeling I'd have the same reaction as you.

Daryl 4/4/13, 12:23 PM  

i am wondering if jack knew he and katie had a child ... why the letters exchanged on the child's birth date ... but even with these questions i think i would find it tough to empathize with someone who didnt take responsibility for their actions

Zibilee 4/4/13, 3:45 PM  

I had been wondering how the main character would be portrayed, because in a book like this, that is a big part of the make it or break it for me. I don't think I would like her very much either. If she blames everyone else for her actions and at times seems too selfish, I think I would have a hard time with the book. You bring out some excellent points in your review today. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your true thoughts.

Stacy at The Novel Life 4/4/13, 8:39 PM  

I have this one in my tbr stack ~ it is fascinating that it's all based on a true story.

Mystica 4/5/13, 2:08 AM  

I'd like to read this one.

Anonymous,  4/5/13, 6:17 AM  

I haven't read many out-and-out positive reviews of this book, but it seems quite a few people have a problem with the main character. With the decisions she's made you would really need to be able to feel for her in some way for it to work.

(Diane) bookchickdi 4/5/13, 7:32 AM  

I just received this book in the mail, now I'm curious to read it.

Bonnie 4/6/13, 9:42 AM  

This sounds like a great premise for a novel and I do want to read it. I appreciate your honesty and understand that some characters we just don't connect to.

Elizabeth 4/6/13, 7:28 PM  

I can sure relate to feeling like I don't click with a book that everyone else seems to enjoy. Sounds like an interesting one, nevertheless.

Anonymous,  4/7/13, 9:44 AM  

I definitely liked this one a lot more than you did, but I can see what you mean about Kate. I got frustrated with her at a few times too - mostly because I felt that she was stringing Rowan along.

Jemille de Nimes-Vertes 4/7/13, 9:36 PM  

How do I love Patti Callahan Henry and this book?
Let me count the ways.

This luminous tale is a fictionalized account of the Callahan family's true-life story. One often thinks about the mother who relinquishes a child, and the mother who raises that child, but this work delves deep into the anquish of the souls of the sister, birth grandparents, and the father of the child.

I believe and sincerely hope that it will become required reading for any woman contemplating the supreme sacrifice, all mothers-in-waiting for their adopted children, the adopted children themselves, and all family members affected.

For those children whose parents gave them up and never consent to be contacted, it is not uncommon for the child to wonder if they were completely unwanted and just walked away from. And Then I Found You offers just one scenario of the heart-rending choice one mother made, and the possibility of a happily ever after.

The Callahans are to be commended for opening their hearts to let the world in on their soul-stirring story. Every time I read fiction, I always wonder how closely events and personal characteristics are to real life, Patti Callahan Henry satisfies this itch with her Kindle e-book, Friend Request. I highly recommend it as a companion to And Then I Found You.

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