Author: Grete DeAngelo
Publisher: Panoptic Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Number of Pages: 292
How I Got It: direct from author
In Giving Myself Away, divorced mother Adrienne Manning is devastated to find out she's pregnant after messing around with a guy who's clearly not boyfriend material. He's a lonely mortician with a spiteful daughter, and things just happened late one night after a funeral. When Adrienne meets George Freihoffer in a coffee shop to tell him the news, he asks her to get married and promises to take care of her. Adrienne hasn't been single long and she doesn't trust men so easily after Drew, her high school sweetheart turned husband, left her for a perky soccer mom. Adrienne and Drew's two sons don't like spending weekends with their dad and his new wife, who has four wild boys of her own. They are confused about why Adrienne plans to give up the new baby and they worry she'll get rid of them too. Adrienne gives George an ultimatum: agree to the adoption or she won't talk to him anymore. He accepts, but in the meantime, drifts into a relationship with Carolyn, a woman Adrienne initially set him up with to get him off her back. Adrienne realizes when he's gone that although she might not have been madly in love with him, George was a good friend and she misses having him around. Being alone causes Adrienne to second-guess her decision about the baby. Giving Myself Away grabs readers by the heart and guides them through a realistic journey fraught with tough decisions.
I don't like books with an "agenda" and at first I was worried this novel would push the adoption agenda. But it does not. Grete DeAngelo created a relatable character in Adrienne Manning. What would you do if you were recently divorced with two young boys and found yourself pregnant after a one night stand with a friend? Adrienne has a lot of options but none are without consequence and heartache. After deciding to give the baby up for adoption, Adrienne must still progress through life's daily challenges plus new situations and obstacles due to her pregnancy. DeAngelo gives readers a perspective not often seen in novels. I personally can not think of a single other novel where a financially responsible, non-addict, "good" mother makes the decision of adoption. The logic and responsibility behind Adrienne's decision is admirable but DeAngelo doesn't make her a martyr. Adrienne's decision is not supported by everyone. The baby's father, George, offers to marry Adrienne and when she refuses, he resigns himself to any decison she makes. George's daughter is a whole ball of teenage mood swings and Adrienne is the perfect outlet for her. Adrienne's sons try to wrap their minds about why they can't keep the baby. Her mother is very concerned with appearances and Adrienne's appearance at her mother's book club exemplifies how strong and determined she is in her decision.
While the subject matter would seem to be heavy and highly emotional, DeAngelo injects a good amount of comedy. From the very first pages when Adrienne finds her sons playing with "swords" and one of them is her pregnancy test, readers know that even though the novel is about an adoption, it is also about the lives swirling around the situation.
** I received this novel in exchange for an honest review **