I usually enjoy a good book about clashing cultures and complex human relationships, but this book just didn't do much for me at all. I was annoyed by the cultural stereotypes and frustrated by the lack of focus on any one particular character. I had to force myself to finish, not a very satisfying read.
Suzanne reviewed Digging to America (Audio Cassette) on
Helpful Score: 6
Masterfully written tale of what it means to be American -- the author really gets into the heads of her characters and we feel their joy, pain, & anxiety. Parents who have adopted children, especially from foreign nations, will relate particularly well, as will anyone who has emigrated from another nation to live in the U.S. A surprisingly fast read.
As a person who was adopted from Korea as an infant, I eagerly anticipated this book. Unfortunately, I did not find much to relate to. The adopted Korean daughters were the only well-adjusted characters. The story instead focused on their parents and grandparents, who I found to be irritating and unlikeable. I have not read any of Anne Tyler's books, but if they are all like this one I will give them a pass!
Of course, Ann Tyler does not disappoint. This book, however, explores what it's like to be from another country and how it feels to always be a little different, not exactly valued for WHO you are, but where you're from. Excellent read!
I enjoyed this book-- not an all-time favorite, but a decent way to spend a few days. My book group enjoyed it for the most point, and we all identified with different characters. This was my first Anne Tyler-- others said they preferred some of her other books more than this, though her honest look at life seemed consistent. Enjoy!
While this is not my favorite book by Tyler, it still retained her wonderful signature style. The vivid portrait she paints of both American families and immigrant-American families will keep you interested.
Anne Tyler is an amazing writer, and I did enjoy this book, but it didn't QUITE get there. After I finished it,I didn't think "that was profound"; it didn't make me think about it for days and days afterward as some books do. It didn't quite accomplish it's purpose, although it was interesting.
What could be more current than to read about an immigrant family trying to become a part of the American dream? Two families - one utterly American born and bred, the other looking at America for the first time - meet and become a part of each others lives. Wonderful characters, beautifully written, heart-warming. One of my favorite books.
This is a wonderful, beautiful story of 2 little girls who come into the world at the same time, but have such different backgrounds. It's beautiful how their parents bring the two of them together and how they face the every day trials and tribulations. Great read for everyone. I would highly recommend this book.
Anne Tyler is a sophisticated and literary writer, yet this book is very accessible. It is about a family who adopted a child from China, and the identity issues that result. It is an easy read without excess drama.
This is the second Anne Tyler book I've read, and this book is good if you are doing a book report(as I did with the first one, Breathing Lessons). The reason is that the book speaks most to generational differences in the U.S. and how it feels as an immigrant trying to fit in and settle down without losing your cultural heritage. However, when I picked up the book I was hoping for more insights into non-U.S. lifestyles today, ie. the viewpoint of a Persian woman in her thirties, not her sixties. There was some discussion of the different culture's food styles, but that was about it. All the other differences between the quiet Iranian-immigrant family and the bossy white lady's family were more individual traits. I was able to read the book fairly quickly, I just felt like there could have been more detail to it and less broad strokes.
I thought that this was an excellent read. So did many people in my book group, and we made a selection for the upcoming year. The writing is excellent as always from Anne Tyler, and the disparate lives that she brings together weave a fine tale.
Wonderful book that sees the immigrant view of "Americans". A story of two families who have adopted babies from overseas, one a more newly immigrated family and one much longer established in the US. The struggles and insights will now bring perspective to how I view my own actions. And those of others as well. Happy, sad, real.
Had no idea where Tyler was going, plotwise, with this book, which I really enjoyed. Also, I liked how my opinion of the characters kept changing as I read on. Some characters which I was sure I disliked would suddenly do something that would make me like them.
This is an excellent work, much better than I thought it would be. Handles relations between individuals and families of from different cultures well. Especially pertinent during these times of great tension between Western and Middle Eastern ideologies.
Like most Anne Tyler books, this one has many levels. I think that there is a reason for the stereotypes she presents - most people do not leave their heritage when they immigrate. Perhaps total integration into America was not possible - nor desirable - for the Iranian family. I found it interesting that the American family retained the Korean name of their adopted baby (and insisted on her wearing tradition Korean garb), while the Iranian family changed their daughter's birth name to a very American name and dressed her as an American child. Surely this is worthy of contemplation. I think that Anne Tyler is saying many things in this book - it simply is not possible nor desirable for many to totally assimilate, nor is it healthy to retain every custom from their places of birth. This is not a book advocating for or against foreign adoption, but about the ways that people see themselves when they become Americans. I liked Dave the best. He seemed to endure the absurdity of many of his daughter's actions and to see beyond the backgrounds to the people themselves.
This book was an up and down read. A read that was very real, and hard to look at with some of the issues it addresses, but it has its happy moments to. This book is very real. You can see the emotions, feel them, think that it could happen to you. A very good read, a fast read despite the feelings it evokes. Because you want to flip to the next page and see what happens next. I really did over all enjoy this book.I think its probably the best one I have read so far this year. Emotional, Funny, Sad, but most of all a heart warming tale of life. And how to live after loss.
This one starts a tad slow for me but really gets itself moving along about midbook. You find yourselves contemplating the issues raised within it's pages later on when you are away from the book and I find, at least for myself, that you have a better understanding of adopting families and Persian culture, as well (an added bonus).
Thoughtful and well-written tale about two families thrown together by coincidence when they each adopt a Korean baby and the children arrive on the same plane. One family is so ultra-American yuppie that at times you want to smack them upside the head; the other is Irani-American, and their basic differences in outlook interact in ways Tyler draws with empathy and skill.
In August 1997, two couples arrive at the airport to receive the Korean babies they have adopted. One couple arrives with their relatives in tow and armed with a video camera to capture every precious moment. The other couple, who are Iranian Americans, show up with just themselves and no cameras. Right away we see the culture gap between the two groups. And yet, despite this gap, a bonding and a friendship occur, based on the couples adoption of these two babies.
I liked this book for its insight on what it is like to be a newcomer to the United States. Though the chief character, Maryam, the mother of the son of the Iranian couple, often feels less than kindly toward the Americans in her life, even she comes to a better understanding of the culture she and her family have joined. A worthy read!
"Anne Tyler has such a wonderful way of spinning a web around her readers...you are drawn in and trapped within her world of lush characters, all of them so unique, and yet so familiar. Such is the way with "Digging to America," one of her best in years." amazon review