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Where We Belong: A Novel

Where We Belong: A Novel

Written by Emily Giffin

Narrated by Orlagh Cassidy


Where We Belong: A Novel

Written by Emily Giffin

Narrated by Orlagh Cassidy

ratings:
4/5 (39 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 24, 2012
ISBN:
9781427221735
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The author of several blockbuster novels, Emily Giffin's Where We Belong delivers an unforgettable story of two women, the families that make them who they are, and the longing, loyalty and love that binds them together.

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door...only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian's perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 24, 2012
ISBN:
9781427221735
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Emily Giffin is the author of Something Borrowed, her smash-hit debut novel that was made into a major motion picture. She is also the author of Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, and Heart of the Matter. Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.


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Reviews

What people think about Where We Belong

4.1
39 ratings / 29 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I received this book as a Goodreads first read winner. I love Emily Giffin. I've read every one of her books. This is another great book. The chapters go back and forth between Marian and Kirby's point of view. It takes you through them finding each other and how they deal with the birth and adoption. It is really well written and the characters were nicely developed. If I had the time I probably would have read it in one day, I didn't want to put it down. My daughter is 19 and there is a conversation Marian has with her Dad about kids going away when they grow up and even though the parents see them, they really aren't around anymore. Made me cry as I recently put my daughter on an international flight by herself for the first time ever. I recommend this book as it is very well written and very enjoyable.
  • (3/5)
    I picked this up as a quick summer read, and that is what it was. It wasn't very inspiring and bothered me for a few reasons. I didn't think the characters were well developed and somewhat stereotypical, especially Marian and her wealthy family. I could have pulled that family with all of their issues out of many books that feature rich families. Kirby's family were fine, but again, stereotypically middle class. Still, the book kept me engaged, and I found myself wanting to pick it up just to see how it would all end. So, for a good summer read that doesn't require a lot of thought, it fit the bill.
  • (3/5)
    I liked it. It just didn't grab me. Not much emotion in this one.

    Second time was the charm. I read this book the first time and thought it was boring. I don't know what was different about this time, but clearly SOMETHING was. The words she wrote were the same, but this time I felt what was going on in my gut.

    It was so real. It's so tempting to expect an adoption story to end with everyone one big happy family or the complete opposite--everyone coming away from the meeting with nothing in common and no desire to be part of each others' lives.

    I think I read one of the earlier reviews as saying that the book provided a negative look at adoption. I didn't see it that way at all. Kirby got what she needed, and Marian and Conrad as the adults figured out their lives the best way they could. However, I do wish Marian had been honest with Conrad at the beginning.
  • (3/5)
    ***3.5 Stars***

    This isn't my favorite of Giffin's work, but it also isn't my least favorite. (That honor belongs to Heart of the Matter.) I like the basic idea of this story and even liked the alternating viewpoints. What I didn't like is related to the characters themselves. I didn't particularly like Marian or Kirby. That wouldn't have been so bad if some of the supporting characters were developed a tad more. The potential to like some of the other people in their lives was there but I can't say whether or not I truly liked them because they seemed so flat to me. I will say though that I was thrilled to see a cameo by Claudia from Baby Proof! I LOVE when authors manage to weave in and connect their other works.

    Overall, it was a little hard for me to get through this book, but it's not the worst.
  • (3/5)
    Giffin attempts to tell both sides of an adoption story - from the points of view of Kirby, the now-18 girl in St. Louis who was adopted and of her birth mother, Marian, who is now a successful TV producer in New York. She also delves a bit into the adoptive parents' feelings as Kirby rebels against them and seeks out her birth parents. Kirby is likable enough but Marian is a cold character. She seems to have thought very little about Kirby in the intervening years and still has not told anyone but her mother that she had a child, including the man with whom she wants to start a family. When Kirby shows up on her doorstep, Marian can no longer hide but she also doesn't show much emotion for her daughter. She only begins to show feelings when finally telling Kirby's father, Conrad, whom she hasn't seen in 18 years, that they conceived a child and she lied to him. Giffin's writing style is easy to read but everyone is forgiven a little too easily in this novel and the only characters who ring somewhat true are the adoptive parents who play a small role in the story.
  • (5/5)
    Extremely enjoyable telling of the consequences of an eighteen-year-old secret. No dramatic plot devices, car chases or kidnappings here: just plausible characters on a skillful and meaningful journey of discovery. At first, I felt like I'd seen too many recent examples of alternating story-telling by main characters, but this worked fine and added depth to the story. And while the ending might not have been quite what I was hoping for, there's no doubt it was the right outcome for the characters, at least at this stage of their tale. If Ms Giffin has a sequel up her sleeve, that's just fine by me.
  • (4/5)
    This is my favorite Emily Giffin novel so far! I found these characters much easier to relate to, as I found them to have greater depth than some characters in her earlier novels. The story line was gritty and raw. Just an overall good read.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed this book.

    Kirby is adopted and when she turns 18 she gets the name of her birth mom and heads to New York to meet her.
    As this relationship starts and grows Kirby is then interested in her birth dad.

    This story is told in Chapters by Kirby and her birth mom, Marilyn.


    I think it is well done and we learn a lot about how adoptions can be a positive experience.

    Most books that I have read make the birth mother always regret giving the child to a family that was ready when they were not. I give Emily huge kudos for that. As a person that has this story in my life it was good to see it in a positive light.
  • (3/5)
    A decent storyline with characters that wanted to come alive but, just slightly fell short. Marian is confronted with a secret that she has had since she was 18. When the secret is out in the open, her life changes. I did like how the book was laid out and told from different characters viewpoints.
  • (4/5)
    I've read and enjoyed all of Emily Giffin's novels. Where We Belong was not a disappointment. The two protagonists had alternating chapters so it was interesting to read the alternating points of view. While certain aspects of the storyline were predictable, it held my interest throughout.This novel has a touching storyline about important decisions we make and how those decisions can affect our lives in the long run. The decisions we make not only affect us but our families, friends and others close to us.Some of the subjects in this story include adoption, parenthood, families, lies, secrets and matters of the heart. Because of the storyline and the well-developed, strong, main characters, I can envision a sequel which I will look forward to reading.
  • (4/5)
    Emily Giffin doesn't disappoint. Her writing is always beautiful.
  • (4/5)
    Another great book by Emily Giffin!! A boook about adoption and the choices we make in life.
  • (4/5)
    This is my favorite Emily Giffin novel so far! I found these characters much easier to relate to, as I found them to have greater depth than some characters in her earlier novels. The story line was gritty and raw. Just an overall good read.
  • (4/5)
    A heartwarming story of teenage love, an unexpected pregnancy, and a decision that changes the lives of everyone involved. This novel is filled with the teenage desire to be accepted, while also being true to themselves. It is a novel about self-discovery and the bond between parents and their children.

    Emily Giffin has continued her collection of novels about love, relationships, and the power of decisions.
  • (5/5)
    Wow…..Outstanding! Emily Giffin at her best…..Have read all her books and this one most definitely TOPS the list! This will be a best seller and most definitely block buster movie material and one of my favorite books.

    Beautifully written….the characters you fall in love with (loved Conrad..yum! Could see a sequel and definitely can envision who could play Conrad ( hot and sexy with a great heart). I fell in love with Kirby, Marian, and of course the fathers. I could not put it down as started it on Thurs and finished it on Friday. It was “real and raw”….a story which will leave you smiling and crying at the same time. I cannot wait for a continuation of Marion/Conrad and possible Philip/Kirby…This is a winner – highly recommend!!!!
  • (4/5)
    I honestly didn’t think I would like this book; I bought it in paperback because I didn’t want to bring my kindle to a messy sandy beach.
    As I said I was prejudiced about the story, because the main theme in the book is the relationship between and adopted girl and her birth mother… but I also thought I more or less liked all previous novels from this author so, why not?
    And I was right, Emily has a way to get you into a story, and keep you there, whether you like it or not.
    It kept me on my toes from the start to the end.
    I also enjoyed the choice of writing style… you have one paragraph from the viewpoint of the mother, Marian, and the next from the viewpoint of the daughter, Kirby, and it works. When you want to know more about Marian the narration brings you to Kirby and vice versa, so you basically can never put the book down.
    The only thing I am not sure about is the end. It left me wanting more; I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. So it is actually 3.5 stars rounded to 4.
  • (5/5)
    Where We Belong is the first Emily Giffin book I read, and it was wonderful! Imagine being a successful, happy, single career woman and opening your door to the daughter you gave up for adoption 18 years ago. That’s what happens to Marian when Kirby arrives. Told from alternating points of view, this story about the ripple effect of making choices is a terrific read. Book clubs, chose Where We Belong, and you won’t be disappointed.
  • (1/5)
    Noooo! Here I thought had discovered a great author. A friend on here encouraged me to try some of her books, so I read Something Borrowed and Something Blue, and I loved both books!

    Then I picked Love the One you're with which I also gave 4 stars. Heart of The Matter was next. Not my favourite so I gave it 3 stars.
    A few weeks ago I read Baby Proof and I did not like that book at all. Such a unrealistic book and it annoyed me how the main character gave up all her values for a guy who let her go so easily.
    So I gave that 2 stars.

    Well I guess I am on a downhill spiral cause this book is going to get 1 star only.

    So far I have read 50% of this book and I am going to call it quits. To be honest, I could not care less what happens with the 2 main characters, they are both so unlikable. Not only that but this is another book where what happens is so unrealistic. Sure adopted girl takes greyhound to find her birth mum. She finds her that same day. Birth mum is gorgeous, smart, rich and has a great job, blablabla.

    She is immediately allowed to stay and is treated as a guest.
    Birth mum has never told anyone about her secret, but because she is forced by her boyfriend she is telling everyone now. (And I have read a spoiler which makes me glad I have quit)

    I think it is fair to give any book you have tried to like but decide to stop reading, 1 star.
  • (3/5)
    I would have given it 4 stars if it weren't for the profanity.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed reading about Marian and Kirby’s developing relationship. I thought it played out authentically. It was awkward at first and not without a few bumps in the road. As an adoptive mom, I cringed every time one of the characters said that Marian gave her baby away but I realize that not everyone knows that this isn’t considered correct terminology anymore. Most people probably do talk about birth moms giving their babies away in real life so it makes sense that that is what the characters would say. (It’s nicer to say that the baby was “placed for adoption.” It’s supposed to sound less like the adoptee was abandoned by the birth mother.)As a Mizzou grad, I liked that Kirby’s parents were encouraging her to go to Mizzou. Go Tigers! Missouri doesn’t seem to be a popular setting for books so it was fun to actually recognize the landmarks Kirby talks about in St. Louis where she lives.This book switches back and forth between Marian and Kirby’s first person perspectives. I think that worked well since it was important to get into both characters’ heads while their relationship was growing. It was a little confusing listening to the audio book because I didn’t feel like the narrator (Orlagh Cassidy) was always consistent with keeping the two voices distinct in the narration. However, I thought the dialogue was always great, with both Marian and Kirby as well as the other characters. I loved Orlagh’s voice for Kirby’s dad. He was quite a jolly character and her voice for him made him even more jolly.I liked that the book had a somewhat ambiguous ending. Anything else would have been unrealistic and too neat and tidy. And I’m one who usually likes everything wrapped up with a bow at the end. This was a perfect “car book”. If I would have read the paper version, I know I would have blown through it – there were times I wanted to keep driving so I could listen to just a little more. This is the second book by Emily Giffin I’ve read and really liked so I think I can safely say that I’m a fan!
  • (4/5)
    Marion Caldwell has a successful career and is in a relationship that is going well. She has convinced herself that she has everything she wants and everything is as it should be, but a knock on her door late at night after a disagreement with her boyfriend changes everything and brings her face to face with a past she thought she had successfully put behind her. On her doorstep is the daughter she gave up for adoption eighteen years ago. The daughter Kirby , once she turned eighteen, wanted to find her birth parents. .Although she has loving parents and a good home she feels different, and at this point does not feel she fits in. She sees herself as very different from her sister and does not get on that well with her. What a buzz it creates for her sister and her friends when they discover she has a successful, glamourous televesion producer for her birth mother, and a good looking musician father. At least then she can see where she gets her musical ability from. The book paints a realistic picture to me as it show the reactions of her adoptive parents when she finds her birth mother, and it shows how difficult it is for Marion to cope with this sudden intrusion into her life,especially when the only person she has told about her daughter is her mother. Kirby herself is excited to find that she gained her musical ability form her father and it is great to read of the high she experiences playing with him.But when it comes down to it Kirby has lived eighteen years with her adoptive family and shares her memories with them and while she may find a place for her biological family in her life they can never replace the family who have nurtured her for eighteen years, given her a good home, and loved her. For Kirby undertaking this journey has given her a better understanding of who she is, and strengthened her relationships with her adoptive family. This is the first book I have read by this author. I found the characters and the situation realistic and enjoyed reading it.
  • (4/5)
    There are so many reviews of Where We Belong by Emily Giffin that go into alot of the plot points so I'm not going to do that in this review. What I will say is that this is the first book I've read by her and I took my time reading it so that I could truly appreciate and understand everything about her writing and characters. I've never seen the movie that her other book was based on either, so I knew nothing about any of Ms. Giffin's characters or writing style going in.I am giving this book 4 stars because I really liked the plot and the writing style flowed so easily. The story was believable and very heartwarming.The characters were ones you could believe in and envision the events happening to people that you know. This is the perfect vacation book or summer reading book. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review, only an honest one.
  • (1/5)
    Well, you win some and you lose some, I suppose. I am a huge Emily Griffin fan. I have loved her for years and I have the hardcovers of most of her novels. When I was offered a free book to review from Goodreads and I saw it was an Emily Griffin novel, I was a happy little clam looking forward to a sick day or a sick weekend or a fake sick weekend where I could climb under my blankies, nibble a Snickers and drink my tea and enjoy my new book. It didn’t quite happen that way and I’m sad for that. Let me explain where this all went wrong.I received Where We Belong by Emily Griffin in the mail and immediately ripped open the package and zoomed to finish a subpar library novel I was idling through. As I started jumping from chapter to chapter, though, I found that none of the characters appealed to me. Kirby, is an 18-year old girl who has waited to find her adoptive mother, even though her family has taken care of her. Marian is a woman in her mid-30s with all the charms of New York life. After giving up Kirby she went on to write for spectacularly popular television shows. Through the novel, we watch these two women navigate their relationship together, their separate lives and the heartache of those around them as well.I particularly felt sorrow for background characters in this story. It didn’t seem as if any of them could win. We are supposed to feel sad for Marian because she is conflicted and then treats her partner poorly. This causes trouble between them. We are also supposed to feel bad for her because she never told the birth father about Kirby to allow him to have the American dream, but I see this as being controlling and manipulative. Look, people make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that when they drown I want to go under with them. I want them to either swim or let me pull them up.While reading this novel, I felt as if I was slowly watching someone drown with no one to save any of them and I left the novel feeling as if there were plenty of unresolved issues. Generally, when that happens, it is to leave room for a sequel. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. This story can die gently. This may be my harshest review and I think that is because I truly love Emily Griffin so much. I didn’t find the humor or candid nature in her characters that I look for and I think that I miss them.
  • (4/5)
    This is a story of a woman with a secret and a girl who, as she gets older, feels like she needs to find her birth mother as she struggles with her identity. It was a good book but her writing style is evolving from her first couple of books. The ending wasn't as clean/final as with some of her earlier books but still a little happier than with HOTM.
  • (3/5)
    Not bad. Emily Giffen's writing is always more literary than some of her contemporary chick-lit authors, but the characterization in this novel is off somehow. I just couldn't connect with the characters and a lot of it felt forced and/or one-dimensional. Better than average chick-lit and a good way to veg-out while reading, but nothing more.
  • (4/5)
    I fell in love with this book and I hope there is a sequel to it! I want to know what happens in the future in all of the characters lives they were so interesting to me! I cried, I laughed, I got angry, all great emotions evoked by this wonderful book. I really liked the format, going from Marian to Kirby. My only complaint being that sometimes Kirby seemed way too wise for her young age. I would give it four and half stars if I could!! This is not a book you can read in one sitting, nor would you want to. You want to savor it and hope it never ends!
  • (4/5)
    When 18-year-old Kirby Rose knocks on her door, New York City producer Marian Caldwell is surprised to see the baby she placed for adoption all grown up. Marian, who found herself pregnant prior to starting college, told no one about the baby except for her mother. She did not tell Kirby's father. Now Kirby is on her doorstep wanting to know about Marian and her father and dragging memories out of Marian that were long buried."Where We Belong" is the coming of age story of Kirby, but also of Marian. Readers will be entranced by author Giffin's saga.
  • (5/5)
    posted on romancing the books blogReviewed by ShannonReview Copy Provided by She Knows Book ClubEmily Giffin amazes me with each story that she writes. Whether you love the characters (Rachel in Something Borrowed) or hate them (Valerie in Heart of the Matter), they have a way of sticking with you well after you read the story. The same holds true for Marian and Kirby in Where We Belong. Marian struggles to deal with the fallout from the secret she’s kept for eighteen years. As we get a glimpse into Marian’s past and how she got to where she is today, we can see how she struggled, even then, to do what she felt was right…even if that meant leaving behind the boy who captivated her and giving up the daughter she wanted but couldn’t have. Marian, who would rather run and “forget” about anything uncomfortable can’t run from her secret and it forces her to finally deal with all the emotional baggage she’s carried around for eighteen years. She may appear on the outside to have it all, but you could tell that the weight of the secret was crushing her emotionally. Until she dealt with it, she was never going to be able to have the type of love and acceptance she was looking for in a partner. Kirby was a special character. She was a girl who struggled to find her place in her family and a direction for her adult life. She’d always known she was adopted, but it wasn’t until she heard her parents blaming her birth mother for Kirby’s struggles that she decides to find her and her birth father. It’s not easy for Kirby when she finally meets Marian, especially since Marian doesn’t behave the way Kirby thought she might, but I think it helped Kirby understand who she was as a person. And she got the complete picture of who she is when she met Conrad. She’s definitely more Conrad than Marian, but when Kirby got to meet both of her parent she found people who understood her without having to explain herself. And even if she is only ever friends with her birth parents, it made her a happier person and more willing to be part of her family than ever before. We don’t get a typical happily ever after ending, which is perfect for this story. When you get to the final page, the story is truly just beginning for Marian and Kirby. While everything isn’t tied up nice and tidy for us, I think readers will be able to determine where things will go (especially with Marian’s parting shot to Conrad). An absolutely fabulous read and my favorite of all Emily Giffin’s books.
  • (4/5)
    Emily Giffin's books are gripping because her characters are nuanced and not necessarily predictable. This story is no exception. The one drawback for me was that I didn't really like Marian, who seemed a little fake with misplaced priorities (though I am sure this was intentional). However, I liked Kirby (her daughter) enough to make up for it.