Digging to America

Digging to America

by Anne Tyler

Debbie Weiss: I very much enjoyed "Digging to America." As Gail indicated in her review, the story revolves around two families who have adopted baby girls from China. What pleased me about the book was that while both families, the Donaldsons and the Yazdans, were very different ethnically, their common adoption experience bonded them. Even though one set of parents wanted a very Americanized little girl and the other set of parents wanted to embrace the Chinese culture for their daughter, the families learned from each other and cared for each other. The relationship of the grandparents added another interesting twist.
Rating: ****

Gail Reid: Anne Tyler's 2006 novel chronicles the chance meeting of two couples at the Baltimore airport. The Donaldsons are a liberal middle-American couple and the Yazdans are an assimilated Iranian- American couple but with old-world family ties. The couples meet while both are awaiting the arrival of their infant daughters adopted from Korea.

Bitsy Donaldson, an earth-mother type, welcomes the Yazdans into their world where they create parties commemorating the girls' "arrival". Events transpire where the lives of these two families blend; and parenting and family relationships are explored from the perspectives of two different cultures. Maryam, the Yazdan mother-in-law has been drawn into the celebrations and adds a new perspective. A widow, she has lived in the U.S. for 35 years, but her attitude, comments, and behavior are hugely influenced by her Iranian upbringing and culture. When Bitsy's widowed father begins to court Maryam, the ensuing events lead to the most complex relationships in the book.

Anne Tyler is well-known as a skilled creator of original and oftentimes quirky characters. She is brilliant at articulating the feelings of the people she has created. The dialog is spot-on and the little nuances of everyday life are captured perfectly. I look forward to Anne Tyler's novels and this one did not disappoint.
Rating: ****

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