Lara Reid is relatively happy with her life – job she loves, caring boyfriend, parents who love her. On her 30th birthday, a decades-old wish is granted when her birth mother Yomi appears, but Lara finds it’s a wish she no longer desires and her whole life is thrown into disarray. She pulls away from everyone – Tyler, her boyfriend who is getting too close, Pat and Barry, her adoptive parents, and especially Yomi, the birth mother she’s yearned for but stopped expecting.
As a child Lara felt like an alien with nothing in common with her parents, including skin color. Time and again she’s disappointed that her birth mum doesn’t come visit, until her 10th birthday when her dad, meaning well but a bit misguided, tells Lara that the “Lady” is coming to visit. This unwittingly sets a precedent that cascades through Lara’s life as she waits for her birth mum to come. She develops OCD behaviors and is unable to grow close to the men she dates, confiding only in her best friend, who grew up in foster homes.
Being Lara moves back and forth in time, following Lara, both as a child and an adult, as she tries to figure out who she is; Yomi’s life in Nigeria, where she’s forced into marriage then gives up her daughter for reasons that are not clear until the end of the book, and Pat, who tastes fame with a hit single and finds herself involved with the orphanage that is Lara’s home for the first few years of her life.
Lara struggles with Yomi’s presence in her life, but becomes close with Yomi’s mother, who’s traveled to England with her to meet the granddaughter she only recently learned existed. At the same time Lara is dealing with her birth mother, Pat decides to patch things up with her own mother, estranged for many years.
Yomi’s appearance pushes Lara to confront her abandonment issues, causing her to open up and let those who love her in. I enjoy watching characters grow, and Lara’s progression, along with descriptions of life in Nigeria in the 70s and 80s, makes Being Lara a book I recommend.
Please leave a comment if you’d like to win (U.S. only). We’ll announce the winner in our giveaway column on May 2. This giveaway is closed.
The winner of These Girls is #20 Anita Yancey.