Review: Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green

April 26, 2012 Book Club Discussion, Review, SheKnows, St. Martin's Press, Women's Fiction 4

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (March 13, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0312591829
  • Source: Publisher

Andi waited all of her life to find the perfect man, finally finding him at age thirty-seven. Ethan is a wonderful man: hardworking, loving, dedicated. He’s a divorced father of two girls. While Andi wanted a family of her own, joining a ready-made family wasn’t a part of the plan. Yet it was hard not to fall in love with this package, this family.  The girls, Emily and Sophie, haven’t has the best life growing up. Their mother, an alcoholic, barely acknowledges their existence during their visits. Her kitchen is bare and she spends most of the time drinking wine, believing it is up to the girls to fend for themselves. For this reason, Andi at first overlooks the attitude Ethan’s oldest daughter, Emily, gives her from the beginning.

Starving for love and attention from her father, Emily despises Andi. Like many teenagers, she craves independence yet doesn’t want to relinquish the love and attention from her father. From beginning of Ethan’s relationship with Andi, there has been tension between his new love and his oldest daughter.

The tension grows and continues over the years. When Emily hits the rebellious teen years, Andi attempts to reign Emily in, disciplining her for her misbehavior. Ethan, on the other hand, deep down wants to do the same thing yet ultimately relinquishes to Emily.  This causes a great deal of strain on his relationship with Andi. This isn’t something Andi signed up for and, already stressed by her infertility, she struggles with balancing her wants and desires with that of the rest of the family.

When Emily’s careless behavior brings upon a situation that will forever change her life, and the lives of the rest of her family, Andi’s resolve is truly tested. Can she give up the life she’s dreamed of since childhood and continue to have this tumultuous relationship with Emily? Ultimately, it’s fate perhaps that makes this decision for her. She doesn’t what she wanted during the means she planned, but perhaps that’s the way it was meant to be. There’s a saying that states it’s not the destination but the path to that destination. This truly comes into play with this family.

Another Piece of My Heart
examines relationships, both marital and family, at their very core. The journeys that each of the main characters take are tumultuous, not easy, but ultimately life-changing in the end. The characters were each well ironed out, yet I didn’t feel I made a very deep connection with any of them.  While I sympathized for what Andi was going through there were several times in which her actions irritated me. Granted, the life she chose didn’t pan out the way she thought it would, but life is full of sacrifices. Thankfully, by the end of the book, she redeemed herself and I was better able to appreciate her character. Ethan, on the other hand, infuriated me to know end. I just wanted to shake him, to wake him up from the fog he was living in. To me, it took far too long for him to stick up to his daughter. Speaking of Emily, egads was she a girl riddled with issues. Again, the overall outcome was favorable and perhaps she had to make these mistakes, but her ride to success was a bumpy one. Unlike Andi’s character, it took me much longer to appreciate Emily, to find any sense of appreciation or understanding of her character.

While there were quite a few cliches throughout the novel and I often find myself puzzled as to why the author decided upon a particular outcome, the message the book portrays is a valuable one. Quoting Emily:

Life may not have turned out the way any of us expected…but today it feels like it is all supposed to be, it all happened for a reason, even though we couldn’t see it at the time.

Another Piece of My Heart , despite the few issues I had, is full of topics and themes that would generate a great deal of discussion, thereby making it the perfect book group choice. Recommended.

Don’t have a book club of your own? Not to worry, for the SheKnows Book Club will be discussing this book tonight, April 26th, 5 to 6 p.m. PST/8 to 9 p.m. EST. The chat will take place on Jane Green’s Facebook page.

Can’t join the chat but have questions for the author? Post them here and I’ll ask them on your behalf!

4 Responses to “Review: Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green”

  1. Colleen
    Twitter: booksnyc

    Great review! I like Jane Green’s books and this was no exception. Interestingly, my frustrations moved from character to character as the book progressed. First it was Emily, then Andi, then Ethan!

  2. Harvee (Book Dilettante)
    Twitter: BookDilettante

    I read the English edition of this book, Penguin’s paperback, under the title, A Patchwork Marriage, a title which sums up the situation pretty well, I think. Another Piece of My Heart also is a good title for Andi’s story. Nice review.