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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Family Family

Narrators: Laurie Frankel; Patti Murin

Macmillan Audio

ISBN: 9781250332301

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Publication Date: 01/23/2024

Format: Audio

My Rating: 4 Stars (ALC)

This program includes an author's note read by the author and a conversation between the author and Audie Award–winning narrator Patti Murin.

​“Not all stories of adoption are stories of pain and regret. Not even most of them. Why don’t we ever get that movie?”

India Allwood grew up wanting to be an actor. Armed with a stack of index cards (for research/line memorization/make-shift confetti), she goes from awkward sixteen-year-old to Broadway ingenue to TV superhero.

Her new movie is a prestige picture about adoption, but its spin is the same old tired story of tragedy. India is an adoptive mom in real life though. She wants everyone to know there’s more to her family than pain and regret. So she does something you should never do — she tells a journalist the truth: it’s a bad movie.

Soon she’s at the center of a media storm, battling accusations from the press and the paparazzi, from protesters on the right and advocates on the left. Her twin ten-year-olds know they need help – and who better to call than family? But that’s where it gets really messy because India’s not just an adoptive mother…

The one thing she knows for sure is what makes a family isn’t blood. And it isn’t love. No matter how they’re formed, the truth about family is this: it's complicated.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt & Company.

My Review

From the author of One Two Three and This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel is back with her latest novel, FAMILY FAMILY —a big-hearted, thought-provoking story of a family that is not always blood-related.

A charming family drama that explores complex relationships, adoptions, and the family we choose. Family is sometimes complicated and messy, but there is love.

Told from two timelines from the past, we meet India, a teen with big dreams of living in New York and aspirations of becoming an actress.

In the present, her dreams have come true with a successful career on Broadway and TV and two wonderful children.

Actress India Allwood finds herself amid a media storm when she voices her true feelings about her latest movie: its depiction of adoption as tragic is one-dimensional and wrong. India knows firsthand the complexities of a family as an adoptive mother to twins and her layered past.

“Not all stories of adoption are stories of pain and regret. Not even most of them. Why don’t we ever get that movie?”

Emotionally charged, I enjoyed Frankel's personal experience, the positive twist to unconventional families, and how it can be joyful with all its different shapes and sizes. It is funny and heart-wrenching: a deeply personal story about the meaning of family.

I loved India's inspiring character! FAMILY FAMILY would make for an ideal book club pick and further discussions—a blend of literary, coming-of-age, and family drama.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the fabulously talented Patti Murin, for an engaging performance and a bonus interview with Patti and Laurie, the author.

Thanks to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for a gifted ALC for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Jan 23, 2024

My Rating: 4 Stars


"Frankel has written a funny, heart-wrenching, deeply personal story about the meaning of family and holding fast to one’s beliefs. India is the star of Frankel’s novel, but the supporting characters are warm and vibrant, each getting their own opportunity to shine. Highly recommended for fans of Frankel and those who enjoy literary fiction featuring witty dialogue and thought-provoking topics."

―Library Journal (starred)

"...Frankel offers a hilarious and sobering view of adoptive parenting through her portrayals of the cheerful and honest India and Rebecca’s open-minded adoptive mother...this is great fun."

―Publishers Weekly

"Frankel finds the truth of modern family within the sparkly, funny characters."


"Frankel's back! Without giving away too much of her dizzying plot, which is supercharged with cliffhanger chapter endings and parallel reveals, the novel is dedicated to the premise that not every adoption story is one of trauma―along the way we will enjoy many fine young characters (Kevin Wilson fans who haven't yet tried Frankel should) and classic Frankelisms...Full of warmth, humor, and sound advice."

―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Photo by Natalia Dotto

Laurie Frankel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of four (going on five) novels. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, People Magazine, Lit Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald, and other publications. She is the recipient of the Washington State Book Award and the Endeavor Award. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and been optioned for film and TV. A former college professor, she now writes full-time in Seattle, Washington where she lives with her family and makes good soup.

Want to know more? There are loads of essays and interviews on the Bits & Pieces page and a whole virtual book tour archived right here.


Q: Where can I learn more about this soup?

A: I often post pics of soups I'm making on Instagram.

Q: Wow! You must be excellent at social media.

​A: I am pretty lousy at social media. Everything I want to say is book-length.

Q: Then how do I get in touch?

A: I'd love to hear from you! I try on the socials, but you should probably just email me instead.

Q: What about Tiktok?

A: I am almost 50. I can't with Tiktok. I'm really sorry.

Q: I wasn't going to say anything, but since you bring it up, I did notice that your hair was black in your last author photo, but now....

A: Correction: in my last author photo, my hair looked black but was actually already gray. I first dyed it for my wedding when I was barely 30!

Q: Good lord that's premature!

A: Yes, it's hereditary.

Q: Does that mean your sister is also short and prematurely gray?

A: My sister is tall with all her original dark brown hair.

Q: How is that fair?

A: I wish I knew. I will take the opportunity to say heredity doesn't mean what we think it does and family is more complicated than genes.

Q: Thematic!

A: Thank you for noticing. This is what I am always writing about. Family and "normal" are both wider and more complicated than we like to imagine.







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