Little Pieces of Me
Little Pieces of Me is a story told in dual timelines – one set in the present day and one in 1975. The current day timeline features forty-three-year-old Paige Meyer and the 1975 timeline features her mother Elizabeth (Betsy) Kaplan. It’s an interesting twist on a mother-daughter tale and one that, for the most part, works well.
Paige is engaged to a lovely man, supported by two best friends, and grieving her father who died two years earlier. Her relationship with her dad was wonderful but her relationship with her mother has always been strained.
I may have been my dad’s greatest gift, but I was my mom’s nightmare come to life. They were in college when she got pregnant, and thanks for my impending arrival, she had to drop out of school and her sorority. They got married, then had me.
Paige has always felt that her mom must resent her and that is why they’ve never clicked. The upcoming wedding seems like an excellent chance for the two of them to connect more. But then Paige gets a message from DNA website “Family Tree” that she joined a few years ago. There is a new match for her – a parent-child connection – and it’s not her parents. Suddenly Paige is confronted with the idea that her dad may not have been her biological dad.
Betsy Kaplan has a wonderful college boyfriend (Mark), except he’s not the most thrilling in bed and their dating has gotten a little stale. When Mark gets her a birthday present that seems to show Betsy that he doesn’t get her, she takes the opportunity to break up with him and has a one-night stand with her crush, Andy Abrams. But Andy is struggling with his sexual identity and cannot be Betsy’s new boyfriend. When Betsy finds out she’s pregnant, she makes the decision to get back with Mark and give her child the best chance at happiness.
Forty-three years later, when Paige confronts her mom with the DNA results, Betsy denies that Mark is not Paige’s father and Paige is left with only one course of action. She seeks out Andy Abrams and the truth.
Telling this story in dual timelines made for a very interesting read. Seeing Betsy today through Paige’s lens and then seeing her as a college student was enlightening, and made a character who was hard to understand much clearer and easier to feel sympathy for. It also shows how time and our different roles through our lifetimes shape how we interact with others and how they view us.
There are many characters in Little Pieces of Me to support the two timelines but I think the most interesting is Andy. His struggle with his sexual identity (especially in 1975) is well done and his interactions with Paige are some of my favorite scenes. Paige’s discovery about her dad(s) brings up some interesting moral dilemmas – should Betsy have confessed to Mark and Andy? To Paige? If everyone is happier, what’s the harm of a secret? These are the issues Betsy, Paige, and Andy have to deal with and come to peace with. Little Pieces of Me does a good job handling all of these questions and while it doesn’t give a final answer it does present all sides of the story so the reader can decide.
I had a few issues with the novel though. If I had read this through, with no reference to Paige’s age, I would have put her in her early thirties – she just doesn’t have the maturity of a forty-three-year-old. A few characters seem as though they’ve been dropped in to create a little conflict (such as Paige’s fiancé’s co-worker and one of her sisters) but then nothing develops. I would have rather not had them in the story at all. I did, however, love Paige’s fiancé – he’s perfectly kind and supportive (although I would like to have seen more of their romance). But even with these issues, I still found the story to be engaging and often funny.
Little Pieces of Me is a pleasing and thought-provoking read that will appeal to fans of contemporary women’s fiction.
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