Book Reviews

Alison Larkin reading The English AmericanReviews for The English American

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“Vogue labeled it as one of the most powerful books of the season. And there’s really no doubt Larkin can deliver onstage at readings and book signings. The buzz is on. Who wouldn’t like main character Pippa Dunn, a vulnerable 28-year-old Brit who hails from the American South but doesn’t know it? Both poignant and funny, the story rings true…Larkin has a winner on her hands.”
—The Oregonian | read full review

“The English American” is a funny, charming and poignant book – the kind that you can’t resist reading in a single day. It’s impossible to dislike this scatterbrained Brit, who overstuffs her suitcase and then ties it together with nylon stockings… But the book, based on Larkin’s one-woman comedy show, has a serious heart. It deals with both the bureaucratic difficulty of finding your birth parents and the emotional difficulty of integrating them into your life. The English American has a love story, too, with Pippa trying to figure out two very different men…
Chicago Sun Times

“The English American” is an engaging, highly readable tale of one woman’s search for love and a place in the world.”
—The Star Ledger

“The novel, while provocative and thoughtful, also is extremely funny.”
—Mike Frechette, Mostly Fiction

“The English American’ takes a warm and comedic look at who we really are…Pippa Dunn has to know, is it heredity that makes us who we are? Or, is it our own self-acceptance that defines us? More importantly, is the reason she feels like an alien because she was adopted? Or is it something else?”
—Hollywood Today | read full review

“Deceptively simple in framework, the novel successfully veers between poignancy and outrageous humor, with Larkin having great fun with English and American cultures as Pippa navigates her way through the culture clashes and extended families to recognize her unique, quirky self.. The author’s coverage of adoptee rights makes it an especially timely addition to public libraries.”
Library Journal

“Summer reading doesn’t have to be fluff – it just has to be good. And it probably should be something you won’t mind being seen with poolside at the hotel, on the beach or aboard the plane… Besides offering interesting insights as to how others may see us, The English American has the virtues of a pleasing, fast-moving plot, believable characters (it’s semi-autobiographical) and excellent writing by an author in search of her origins.”
—Karen Hayman Long, Tampa Tribune

I just finished The English American by Alison Larkin which I absolutely loved! I have been doing a fair amount of reading this summer, but this is the first book that I’ve read in a while that I raced through and enjoyed absolutely every moment of. It is a very easy read with interesting, likable characters… I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for some light, fun summer reading.
— blog

“A charmingly written novel… a quick, fun read.”
—Bess Newman, Bestsellers at

“This book is a page turner that makes you want to slow down as you reluctantly approach the final pages so this extraordinary experience does not end. At times I could not stop myself from laughing out loud, and I wept through the last few chapters as I went along with Pippa while she arrived at her own wonderful conclusions about herself.”
The Decree

“Larkin pokes gentle fun at the peculiarities and excesses of English and American culture in this witty, clever and imaginative plot.”
Tuscon Citizan

“Larkin’s debut novel takes a comedic but heartfelt look at issues of identity, heredity, and self-acceptance…Pippa is a complex, compelling character—truly an amalgam of her heredity and her environment—and readers will root for her as she uncovers her roots and finds herself.”
Publishers Weekly

“A vibrant romp that takes readers back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean…The English American is bright and funny and a bit chaotic, just like Pippa…Despite some heavy issues, Larkin manages to keep The English American light and accessible. Her approach is sensitive and heartfelt and always with a dose of humor.”
—Jessica Harrison, Deseret News

“I loved this book from page one and zipped right through it. I know you are going to enjoy it too. The English American is perfect mix of excellent writing, a fun story line, and a dose of humor.”
—Conversations with Famous Writers | read full review

The English American is a heartfelt journey through the dual life of a vulnerable woman who is searching for her past in an attempt to find her future. . . this comedic jaunt into the nature v. nurture enigma is sure to acquire a beloved spot in hearts and on bookshelves for years to come.”

“Pippa’s wise and sparklingly funny voice keeps her reader engaged and urgently turning pages…This is a necessary novel about adoption, but also a beautiful novel about growing up; about coming to terms with the fact that, while the people and events that brought us to life and formed us matter profoundly and inform everything else, we each have our own private story to discover and breathe into life.”
—Rainbowkids magazine, Violetta Garcia-Mendoza

“Alison Larkin’s debut novel The English American is set up to be standard chick-lit fare: a beautiful, intelligent…”
—PopMatters | read full review

“Alison Larkin uses humor and pathos in equal measure. You need only to turn the page to find something that will make you laugh…or cry… Pippa’s journey of self-discovery and identity becomes our own. I still think about her, weeks after finishing this book.”
—Adoptive Families Magazine March/April ’08, reviewed by Brenda Romanchik, birth mother and executive director of Insight: Open Adoption Resources and Support

“As a teenage adoptee, there are many times I have felt misunderstood or couldn’t explain why I did the things I did… After reading the first twenty pages of Alison Larkin’s new novel, The English American, that feeling changed. Suddenly, I was completely understood, and by a stranger!

What I found especially powerful is that while Larkin is British and I consider myself American, she is Caucasian and I am Latina, this novel was extremely relevant to my life and my experience as an adoptee…her talent for making the reader want to laugh and cry at the same time make The English American impossible to put down. I recommend it highly.”
—Sofia Arroyo, PACT newsletter, adoptee and second-year college student majoring in International Relations in Los Angeles

“The perfect airplane read!”
—Redbud Book Club

“A heartwarming and hilarious book about finding the truth.”
—Little Apple Bookworm

“Following Pippa through her various mishaps on the way to self-discovery is a riotous ride. However, The English American is not just a barrel of laughs; it also serves as a great reminder that, for better or worse, we are what our experiences have made us. ”
—The Salemite

Alison Larkin’s take on the issue of identity, while couched in a fast-paced contemporary novel, infuses the subject with realism, humor, and compassion.
—Inthefray magazine | read full review

“An enchanting tale bolstered by unalterable, gritty life-truths”
—Tapestry Books

“The English American” is the most readable novel I’ve undertaken in a while — I devoured the book over a single afternoon, drawn to Pippa Dunn, an undeniably likeable narrator, from page one.”
—Book Beat, San Mateo Daily Journal | read full review

“Once I started this, I could not put it down. While this is an entertaining, light read, the story leaves the reader with some great morals. I would recommend this novel to readers of different genres due to its content. I was really happy with the end result and I’m looking forward to reading anything else Larkin writes.
—Book Diva’s

“A highly readable novel about the very English-bred Pippa Dunn, who discovers her birth parents in the American South. Frequently funny, sometimes very poignant and always entertaining — a great read.”
—The Island Bookseller, a Hilton Head, S.C., store with Book Sense

I was sent The English American by Alison Larkin for review, well, many months ago. It has taken me until now to pick it up. Once picked up, I couldn’t put …
— | read full review

“Drawn from Larkin’s own life, this debut novel—like Pippa herself—is smart, funny, and utterly charming.”

“a funny, warm, risky novel…The English American will speak to anyone in their 20s whose gone searching for their true self. Funny, sexy in parts, very real.”
—Satellite Sisters

“Instead of the expected heartfelt memoir of an adoptee meeting her birth parents, The English American is an absolute whirlwind of a novel. Larkin treats you to a hugely powerful ending which will have you pouring over every page. The English American will fill you with incredible warmth as it highlights the importance of childhood and those who were in it as well as the importance of home and those that make you feel at home.”

In this enjoyable first novel, it’s a pleasure to watch her do just that.”

“Hilarious and poignant debut novel.”
—South West Public Libraries

“Terrific, insightful – the story line is superb…”
—Genre-Go-Round Reviews

“Hilarious novel that I read in one day. If you are an Anglophile and live in New York City, you will love it.”
—This Next

“It is a story that touched my heart.. It brought tears to my eyes as it will many readers. Its heartwarming and hopeful. All I can say is get the book. It is awesome.”

“I loved following along and sharing Pippa’s life. She is hilarious and real, definitely someone I would love to be friends with.”
—Reviewed with Q&A by Readaholic Blog | read full review

“Larkin created a poignant world, drawing inspiration from her own life. Pippa enchants, corals and surprises at every turn. Larkin has created characters so authentic, you’ll be inclined to check over your shoulder in assurance they aren’t reading you their story aloud.”
—Paige Crutcher, | read full review

“Compulsively readable” is right. I couldn’t put it down”

“I was completely charmed by Larkin’s witty writing and shrewd observations about the difference between Yanks and Brits.”

“Alison Larkin has written a book that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Not only that, The English American is a story that you’ve never read before… You will love it!”
—Gail Parent, Emmy Award winning writer for Tracey Takes On, The Golden Girls, and The Carol Burnett Show

“Alison Larkin nails the Anglo-American cultural divide brilliantly in the most compelling novel I have read in years. Fast-paced, moving, deeply comic and sexy, I could not put it down.”
—Clive Pearse, HGTV, Host of Designed to Sell and Design Star

“A wonderful mix of mystery, humor, suspense and heartwarming family togetherness. As I was reading, I’m thinking the book is great, now I can’t wait to see the movie!”
—Adoption TODAY and Foster Families TODAY

“This is the first time an adopted heroine has been authentically portrayed in fiction with genuine mass market appeal.”
—Annette Baran, co-author The Adoption Triangle

“Alison Larkin’s book is magical – artfully written, laugh-out-loud funny, insightful and inspiring. People with adoption in their lives will simply adore it. And people without adoption in their lives (there are some, I’m pretty sure) will lose sleep as a result of it – because, no matter what time it may be, they won’t be able to stop turning the pages.”
—Adam Pertman, Author Adoption Nation, Executive Director
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist.

“Alison Larkin has written a book that is not only hilariously funny, but poignant and deeply moving as well. She gets the absurd complexity of an adoptee’s life down perfectly. Our heroine Pippa Dunn cracked me up, then broke my heart over and over. I was cheering for her the whole way.”
—Susan Ito, co-editor, A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption

“This book is funny, endearing, romantic, heart wrenching and heart warming, and I dare you not to devour it in as few a sittings as possible. It’s the perfect book for a Sunday afternoon curled up by the fire with your cat, and one day I hope to see it on the big screen as I think it would make a fantastic movie.”
—Clare Swindlehurst, Blue Archipelago | read full review

“Alison Larkin’s debut novel The English American is set up to be standard chick-lit fare: a beautiful, intelligent, and independent woman must overcome an obstacle to find happiness in love and life…”
—Christina Clarkson, Pop Matters

“The English American is a great novel that is funny, touching and all around entertaining. It shows what really makes a family and what aspects go into creating our identities. A wonderful debut novel with a main character you can’t help but be intrigued by.”
—Krysten Hager, Pop Syndicate | read full review

“Pippa Dunn was raised in England and decides to find her American biological parents. A very good story of Pippa’s emotions and coming to terms with being ‘English-American’.” (5 stars)
—Phyllis, The Book Reporter

“Pippa struggles through the tremendously difficult process of first acknowledging her need to seek out her birth parents, dealing with the emotional upheaval of actually finding them and trying to fit them into her life, balancing her new family against her old, and finally dealing with the extraordinary demands coming at her from all directions – her journey had me absolutely riveted… The English American was immensely rewarding.”
—Elvie, Paperback Dolls