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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Lisa Jewell is back on form!

I've loved Lisa's books from the start. Had them pre-ordered every time it was available to do so. But I was disappointed with After the Party and I wasn't sure how I was going to find reading The Making of Us because I'm of the firm belief that sperm donors should be able to keep their anonymity. Then I started seeing amazing reviews for it, so my expectations were high, which isn't always a good thing for me. However, I wasn't disappointed with this one! It was written in the very same style that made Lisa my favourite author ever. Addictive, intriguing and everything set at a steady pace with no lull.

So, where to start without giving too much away? You have three main characters, Lydia, Robyn and Dean, all the result of the same sperm donor years ago. All have had very different upbringings and are in very different places in their lives. Lydia is wealthy and successful, but is missing something in her life that she can't quite understand. Robyn, having always known about her being a sperm donor baby due to health issues in the family, is intelligent and training to be a doctor, but is losing her drive and reasoning for it all. Then there's Dean who has had a poor upbringing and has gotten his girlfriend pregnant.

I don't know exactly how it works for sperm donors and the children getting in touch with each other, but Lisa made this story believable and warm. Nothing felt forced or cheesy. I was there with all three characters as they discovered who they really were and what they needed to do with their lives. They could almost be someone you know they were so fleshed out with their quirks, habits and thoughts.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a feel-good story. This has definitely moved into the slot of being my favourite Lisa Jewell book. I really haven't done enough justice for this book here. So trust me, go read this book. You need to experience it all for yourself to understand my love of Lisa's fantastic storytelling skills.
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on 23 January 2013
I loved all of Lisa Jewell's books I read, by this is by far my favourite so far. It has been likened to David Nicholls' "One Day", a novel I also enjoyed, but for me this book is better. While Nicholls' was a clever concept and a nicely told love story, in Jewell's book there is a deeper message to be found. Yes, there is a romance, which is never saccharine sweet - a point I always enjoyed in Lisa's style - but at the core of the book is the theme of "belonging". Lydia, Robyn and Dean are tied by an invisible link that runs in their blood, a link that will bring them together in extraordinary circumstances. All three are seeking their roots, for different reasons. What they will find is that "belonging" is more than sharing genes, that the connections that we make in life - family, friendship, love - define us as much as our DNA, if not more.

The book is beautifully written. I always liked Lisa Jewell's style, but here she has moved up a gear. Once again she is able to spin different narrative threads and bring them all together to form a rich tapestry of characters, events and emotions. The characters are all well depicted and it's easy to empathize with their feelings and the situations they find themselves in.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves well crafted stories with a positive message about life and its many surprises. It's a novel I will read again and again!
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VINE VOICEon 12 May 2011
The Making Of Us is a story of many people, unconnected and completely different to begin until it's revealed each has one thing in common. They share the same donor father. All are at complicated stages of their lives, Lydia, 29, has gone from rags to riches but is desperately lonely and struggling with her past, Dean, 21, has just become a father, but lost the baby's mother in tragic circumstances and is struggling to bond with his daughter, Robyn, the youngest at 18 has moved to London to study medicine, a path she was so sure of until she was on it. In alternating chapters we hear from each of them, as well as Maggie, whose close friend Daniel is terminally ill and has asked her for help to fulfil his dying wish.

Wow, this book is an emotional roller coaster right from the start. The plot is so brutally human and complex yet Lisa Jewell absolutely pulls it off. Once again her skill at creating completely believable, relatable and flawed characters is perfect. I love alternating viewpoints when done well, and in The Making Of Us all four narratives both stand out individually and intertwine to create a heart wrenching and uplifting tale of identity and family. Each chapter is titled with the name of the character we are hearing from, although I do think they have strong enough voices to let the reader differentiate anyway.

I loved all the characters in this book, though in particular Lydia who is so far away from myself in many ways yet surprisingly familiar too. I also really liked Dean, the young brother she discovers through a donor sibling registry, and the developing relationship between the two of them is gorgeous, awkward but touchingly beautiful all at once. What I always love about Jewell's characters is how layered they are, and how she isn't afraid to show their weak and at times pathetic sides-the ones we all have but hide from the world, making them all the more stronger for it. You get the feeling while reading that these people could be ones you pass every day.

The Making Of Us is at times very sad and touching, but also incredibly hopeful and positive for the future. By the end of the book you'll feel you've experienced these peoples journey, you'll be behind them all the way and will leave wishing them the best in their future. This is a novel not about a donor father and his dying wish, but one of identity, knowing yourself, finding a sense of belonging and the ties that bind people to each other. It's compelling from start to finish and I was completely absorbed throughout. I've never been disappointed by Lisa Jewell's work, and I certainly wasn't by The Making Of Us. With each new book I think `this is the best yet' and that's how I felt after turning the last page. This is a book I highly recommend.
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on 16 May 2011
I am a huge Lisa Jewell fan and have loved all of her books so you can imagine how excited I was to receive a review copy of her latest one. I was a little worried when it arrived though as it had a quote on the back from The Bookseller saying that Lisa Jewell had moved into David Nicholl's territory. Don't get me wrong, I loved One Day by David Nicholls but I feel that Lisa Jewell has a very particular writing style and I was worried that this would have disappeared. I shouldn't have got so stressed though as this book is fabulous and the writer's poignant and witty style was better than ever.
The idea behind the book is just brilliant and Lisa Jewell showed how much research she had done by it all being completely believable and realistic.
I fell in love with all of the characters, Daniel, Lydia, Dean and Robyn. It was almost like getting four books for the price of one as they all have their own stories and backgrounds and I loved getting to know them all.
Lydia is extremely successful and still very young. She is adapting to the new wealth and lifestyle that her success has given her but she still has many questions from the past. She receives an envelope from an anonymous sender and learns that her father was a sperm donor rather than the man who had brought her up. Rather than feeling anger or sadness, it seems that Lydia is almost relieved as it makes certain parts of her past make sense, almost like a weight has been lifted.
Dean is younger than Lydia and has known the true identity of his father for three years. His life is all over the place and he is pushing away everybody that cares for him. A tiny part of him wonders what his siblings are like, are they in as much of a mess as him or would they hold some answers to him sorting his life out?
Robyn is the youngest at 18 and has always know about her father. She is training to be a doctor, the same as her father. On her eighteenth, Robyn's loving parents give her all the information she needs to make contact with her siblings and her real father. At first she is reluctant but then she realises the importance of meeting these people; by knowing them then maybe she will understand a little more about herself.
Daniel is the man who ties these children together, a man they have never met and a man who is running out of time. After revealing his life-long secret to his new friend Maggie, she sets out to find his children and bring them to him before it is too late.
The Making Of Us is a beautiful, poignant book. As I said, I fell in love with each character and only wanted the best for them all. Lisa Jewell has the incredible knack of telling it like it is, she does not give you a happy ending just for the sake of it. The way in which she brought the characters together was brilliant and very realistic. I was really moved by the individual stories of the characters and the ways in which they fitted together as though they had always felt that something was missing.
I urge you to read The Making Of Us and any of Lisa Jewell's other books. She is a fantastic author whose writing I never tire of.
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I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book and it'll certainly make me want to pick up more of Jewell's books in future. The idea of sperm donation is opened at the beginning when we join the character of Maggie whose husband can't give her a baby. She decides to go behind his back and get pregnant via a sperm donor, which does start the book with some questionable morals, I have to admit, but it isn't a secret right from the beginning. After that, we jump to the present day and meet up with Lydia, Dean and Robyn, all separately of course. We find out that Lydia is wealthy but very unhappy, Dean is from a rough upbringing and struggling with the reality of his new life and Robyn is a young student trying to find her feet. They're all very different but quite similar and I like the way Jewell made these characters people in their own right as well as the joining of them together via the story.

I don't really a know a lot about sperm donation, and while the book doesn't really go into a lot of detail about it, it is more about the impact it has on the people affected by it. Yes, there is a lot in this book which is coincidental i.e. the characters all living pretty closely, all happy about being fathered by a sperm donor, all knowing about it and all contacting the website about meeting up with other siblings in a short space of time, something which probably wouldn't happen in real life, but that's fiction for you, it allows for these things to happen in a nice way. The way it is dealt with in the book with the children and parents is good, its quite matter of fact and open, again, perhaps not how it would be in real life but it works well for the story.

It is an emotional book, and that continues right the way through. The childhood of Lydia is an emotional story and in conveyed throughout the book as such, and it certainly makes you warm to her because of what you know she has been through. I really liked Lydia, she has a good heart behind her stony exterior and the way she bonds with others in the book is quiet touching. Dean is someone I really loved, he's had a hard time of it and clearly thinks badly of himself, but you can see he is a lovely person and that something is going to bring him out of himself. Robyn is also a nice character, but I found that I didn't care about her quite as much as the other two characters, she had everything that the others didn't have and therefore there was less to sympathise.

There was a little bit in the book that made me slightly uncomfortable, something relating to Robyn and her relationship with her boyfriend that I felt was a bit odd and felt wrong which is why I've knocked a star off, I felt uncomfortable reading this part and while luckily for me, it was a relatively small part of the book, it just didn't sit right with me. Overall, I really enjoyed the reading of this book, aside from the bit I mentioned, and it certainly was an emotional and touching read. I liked the way the chapters alternated with who they followed but it was written in the third person, it just worked really well and made a pleasant reading experience. The characters were great, the story was touching and lovely and it was a well written and enjoyable novel. Highly recommended!
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Wow, what can I say? This was an absolutely brilliant book and not what I expected at all. This is a totally original story, with wonderful characters and as usual first class writing. Lisa Jewell is showing the world what she is made of that's for sure!

When I received the book I was looking forward to reading it and the cover with it's bright turquoise colours looked as usual very appealing. Lydia, Robyn and Dean are the glue that holds this story together along with their anonymous sperm donor father Daniel.

We are introduced to each of the characters in turn and learn their current situation as well as a little of each of their pasts. The story was unhurried but not slow, it gives the reader time to get a real feel for each of these people and how their lives have been affected by being the result of a sperm donor as a father.

The character Lydia was the first we meet and as we see her wealth and personal success we also see the downside to her life and the way in which she deals with the problems she faces. Lydia seems to be the catalyst for the others joining in the story and slowly we meet young Robyn who seems to have it all but knows there is something missing. Lastly we meet Dean whose life seems to be one big train wreck, and although he isn't making smart choices I loved his character.

By the time you are over halfway through the book you are rooting for all of them involved as you feel like you are taking the journey that links their pasts with them. I read this book in a day and a half and though it was absolutely brilliant.

It isn't your typical `chick lit' story but Lisa Jewell's brilliant writing style shines through as ever and she has an edge of humour even amongst the sadness. This certainly wasn't what I expected but I have to say it equated to so much more in my eyes. Lisa Jewell has produced a very touching story with loveable characters and has introduced an original storyline to boot.

Even though this may not seem like her sort of book, trust me it's even better and well worth picking up to read, highly recommended!!!
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on 1 June 2011
I have been reading and recommending Lisa Jewell's books since 1999, and although my main reading choices are History and Science Fiction I genuinely enjoy a good story regardless of the genre. Lisa Jewell's books have never failed to entertain and to keep me totally gripped and emotionally involved. Lisa's latest book - The Making of Us is no exception.

This is a really good read, of various families and characters that come together because of one common factor - their unknown donor father. Each character has his or her issues, difficulties and lives and each back story/ section could be a good book in its self however their combination is brilliant and believable.

I have read a lot over the years and some story plot lines are predictable in other writers, and I thought I had detected some twists and was "cleverly" predicting various endings/outcomes however I got them all wrong. I couldn't put this down and quickly read it over the weekend, I needed to know how things turned out.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good read, and please spread the word. I really feel that Lisa Jewell's work really deserves a much wider audience. I would describe her as one of the best modern novelists of our time, a great story teller who has impressed again and again a reader who normally sticks with Bernard Cornwell, Stephen King and the like!
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on 30 November 2014
Another Lisa Jewell book that I devoured pretty much in one sitting. First and foremost, she's a fab story-teller with a real knack of making you want to keep turning the pages, and this story was no exception. It's a really interesting concept, and not a subject matter I've read about before, so I was intrigued from the beginning. I really enjoyed the way it unfolded, alternating between the very different lives of the very different characters, then jumping back just at the point when you know something critical is going to happen, on to one of the other lives.

Yes, it was a wee bit mawkish in the end, as some of her other books were, but let's face it, when you read Lisa Jewell you are expecting a feel-good ending, and that's what you get. A really good story, well told, and satisfying. What more could you want!
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on 25 February 2015
I thought this was a story with a really interesting premise and after reading it I really feel the author did a tricky subject justice. The characters were believable and well-drawn, and the nature by which they came together and their relationships evolved was sweet without being saccharine. I didn't particularly buy into the explanation of Lydia's backstory when the time came, and I was a little unhappy with her conclusion, but Dean and Robyn I felt were given great story arcs. Overall I really enjoyed this book, I think it's time more fiction dealt with non-standard family set-up's and origins as modern relationships / fertility treatments etc have evolved in reality.
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on 21 July 2012
This is my favourite Lisa Jewell book. The story is about 3 half siblings who are all fathered by donor sperm. Their individual stories detailing their lives until the all meet are fascinating and each child has had a different kind of life experience. Lydia has everything money can buy, except the family and sense of belonging she craves. Dean is a lost soul, losing his girlfriend as she gives birth and having no prospects to speak of. Then Robyn, who appears to have it all, but is living a fantasy. The story evolves until they meet their donor dad and they find that what is really important. The Making of Us applies to how they were made, and also to the journey each character takes through the story. Finding their sblings really is the making of them. A fantastic story and one for holidays as i couldn't stop reading it.
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