Tracy Barone's Happy Family
This starts off really interestingly--it's the early 60s and a young girl gives birth, then immediately flees the hospital--and her baby is taken in by the family of a young orderly on staff before being adopted by a childless couple. I was really interested in those three stories--the two families and the girl--but then things skip ahead 40 years to the now-adult Cheri, a struggling academic in the year 2002, stuck in a marriage with a washed-up documentarian (so then there were two things that annoyed me on top of wanting to know about all the other characters: she works on the Ancient Near East, a field I know WAY too much about to enjoy reading about for fun, and plus there are all these really artificial political conversations that scream "HEY! It's 2002!!!"). Cheri also, somehow, used to be a police officer, and that comes up as well (you would think between the ANE and the cop stuff, I would really relate to this character, but I found her annoyingly wishy-washy). And I'm not even going to get started on the black housekeeper character. I really wanted to like this, but I didn't care about most of the characters, found the dialogue to be really unbelievable, and thought the whole thing was kind of a slog, until the mildly silly ending. SIGH. B/B-.