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Light and entertaining, but not Jewell's best
on 9 May 2012
Let me start by saying I love Lisa Jewell. I read Ralph's Party the moment it was published in 1999, and have devoured her novels since. She's my favourite author in what is often termed the 'chick lit' genre (though the label is one I have reservations about) - the only one I regularly read these days. Much of what she excels at is here - the empathy for her characters, the compelling storytelling, the pacy dialogue - however, given what she's already published, her considerable talent and how long she's been at this game, I found this disappointing.
The Making of Us deals with serious subject matter - three young people tracing their parentage having discovered they were conceived as a result of sperm donation. Yet the novel seems to skate along the surface, rarely taking us as readers deeper, and often veers towards sentimentality. Of all the characters, Lydia was the only one who seemed fully fleshed out - and Robyn was very wispy indeed. The plot was too neat, (there are too many coincidences), and by the end I was left with a distinct sense that Jewell could do more, be bolder, more ground breaking, than she dares to be.
In short, if you're after a light read, go for it, but if this is your first Lisa Jewell, she's written better novels than this one, so I'd suggest you don't start here.