SOMEBODY ELSE’S DAUGHTER by Elizabeth Brundage

Brundage I picked up the audio and paperback of Somebody Else's Daughter, by Elizabeth Brundage, at the library, thinking that it had an interesting premise: a high school teacher who gave up his infant daughter for adoption 16 years earlier decides to take a job at her prep school with the hopes of getting to know her. I thought it would be the type of fiction I'm usually drawn to, focusing on families/relationships/emotional crises in an interesting setting – the Berkshires.

I was wrong.

It turns out that Somebody Else's Daughter, which is really a thriller, is one of the more implausible, cliched, and unconvincing books I've read in a while. It's supposed to be about "the conflicted characters and the fractured landscape of the American psyche" – as evidenced by the perversity, violence, secrets, abuse, infidelity, prostitution and drugs taking place barely under the surface of an idyllic Berkshires prep school.

Here's why I didn't like the book: the relationships were unrealistic; there were way too many coincidences; plots were totally implausible; there were loose ends that were never tied up; and worst of all, there was cruelty against dogs, which I cannot stand. I could get into a lot more detail about the implausibility of Somebody Else's Daughter, but I will leave it at that.

I will say this for the book: I had a hard time putting it down. Despite all of its faults, it was suspenseful.

I listened to about half of it on audio and then finished it in paperback. I wasn't crazy about the narrator. She sounded oddly old-fashioned, and while she did a decent New England accent, I didn't like the way she voiced the men in the book. They all sounded roughly the same, and her dialogue was overly dramatic.

I really don't recommend this book. Even if you like mysteries/thrillers, there must be many out there that are much better than Somebody Else's Daughter. Take a pass on this one.


  • June 21, 2011 - 7:26 am | Permalink

    Sorry this one didn’t work for you.

  • June 21, 2011 - 7:44 am | Permalink

    My book club read this one, and discussed it with the author, a few years ago.
    No one liked it. I enjoyed the first part, the idea of the teacher and the daughter (and the birth mother’s story).
    I also couldn’t put the book down, wanting to know what would happen to the relationship mentioned above.
    There was alot to discuss so it made for a good book discussion.

  • Stephanie Schaub
    June 21, 2011 - 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I feel like I could have written an almost identical review for a book called “When She Flew” by Jennie Shortridge, which was our most recent book club pick. The plot sounded so promising and it was something of a page turner, but the contrived dialogue, loose ends and unsatisfying ending killed me.

  • June 22, 2011 - 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry to hear that this book let you down. I’ll be sure to avoid it. Thanks for the warning.

  • Cole
    July 14, 2011 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I loved the book – it’s hard to believe you all felt this way, in my mind it was one of the best written books I’ve ever read, with the most interesting characters.

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