Bauer deftly tells a fast-moving story with crisp comic dialogue, but its heart is in its three- dimensional, highly likable characters. Rose is in a serious relationship with Paula, a heart surgeon. As Rose gets acquainted with her grandfather, Rabbi Shmuel Cohen, and her biological brother, Jacob, she’s helped by Paula, who is Jewish, in navigating the challenges of integrating into this newfound family. Rabbi Brad, too, plays a prominent role, and readers discover him through excerpts of his many self-help books featured at the beginning of each chapter, and through the eyes of the family that he left behind. “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being a masochist and 1 being Oprah, what did your Dad, Rabbi Brad, teach you about guilt?” Paula asks Jacob. His answer is complex and surprising.
This novel will please fans of comic family dramas as, for all its sharply observed cultural specifics, it finds universals within its themes of family ties and self-discovery. Mixing comedy with heart, Bauer’s story will resonate with those who, even in their adult life, feel themselves still searching for a place among family, a feeling of belonging and being home.
Takeaway: A sharp, funny story of DNA surprises and finding your place in a new family and culture.
Great for fans of: Jessica Strawser’s A Million Reasons Why, Marra B. Gad’s The Color of Love.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A