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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was a young mom when I discovered this book at the local library. Although I'd always been a voracious reader, it had been a few years since I'd found anything that engrossed me. With rambunctious toddlers to tend, I found myself reading Parents magazine instead of the sharp, insightful, quirky fiction that I'd always loved.
And then I found Elinor Lipman. I think the description on the back of the book pulled me in: toad-sized earrings? Should be an interesting character, I thought. I read the book in one sitting and then flipped to the first page and read it over again. I was starved for fiction and Elinor Lipman served up a delicious entree in a completely unique way. She doesn't get the credit she deserves for being one of the first (and best) of the witty-women-fiction-writers who are now so common.
Lipman's gift for dialogue, her light touch and her original, imperfect but charming characters make her a modern-day Jane Austen. She can write a comedy of manners better than anyone who's currently publishing. The romance between April and her unlikely Prince Charming is a touching surprise, and the tension between the laid-back, no-frills April and her overbearing birth mother is perfectly depicted through Lipman's well-chosen descriptions and naturally witty dialogue. She makes it look easy.
When I worked at a bookstore, I recommended this book to anyone who was looking for a well-written light love story with a bit of an edge. I'll always have a special place in my heart for this book: it was the first novel I read after a few years of reading nothing but baby-related stuff, and it reminded me again how fiction can really touch your heart. I'm glad I made time for this book, and I'm glad I bought my own copy and have reread it several times since that first day (my kids are teenagers now and this remains on my all-time favorites list!) Although some of her subsequent books haven't been as engaging, Elinor Lipman remains a master at what she does, creating memorable heroines and surprising love interests, dialogue that crackles with wit, and plot lines that are a wonderful escape from the harsh realities of most of today's good fiction. A new book from Lipman is always a cause for celebration and a reason to shell out the extra bucks for a hardcover.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
I finished Isabel's bed and ran out to get another Lipman book. I wasn't disappointed in the least. I found this book to be a wonderful ride full of pathos & humor. The characters (in both books) are truly believable and quirky, the kind of people you would come to know and love. The story is so entertaining yet, touches deep truths with sensitivity, humor, astuteness and compassion. Elinor Lipman is brilliant as a writer and I think it is a mistake to think of her as a light comedy writer even though she is hysterical. I'd love to meet Ms. Lipman, she's wonderful at dialogue and I think we would laugh a lot.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was skeptical about this book as I am not a fan of humorous novels, but this book was a shining exception. Several parts made me laugh out loud, but other parts were so touching and dramatic. I couldn't put this book down!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
A great read. Might particularly resonate with adoptees, but should be enjoyed by all gentle readers. To give you a good feel for the book, I'm going to quote one-half of my very favorite passage. If it doesn't make you want to read this book IMMEDIATELY, then this book isn't for you. Here goes:
"He held me and let me cry into his neck for what felt like hours. He produced a bubble bath somehow when I didn't even own the stuff. He found a tray and a bud vase and the makings of cinnamon toast. I told him I loved him, and not because I was vulnerable and hysterical and orphaned or because he was acting like a paid companion from the Visiting Nurses Association, but because he left school for me and never mentioned the leaving or getting back. 'You'd do it for me,' he said."
I liked Lipman's second book, "The Way Men Act," but not as much as this one. Her short story collection, "Into Love and Out Again" was pleasant, but her third novel, "Isabel's Bed," was a tedious bore. Because of how disappointed I was by "Isabel," I gave up on Lipman, and have not read her most recent couple of novels.
But I'll ALWAYS remember how glad I was that I found "Then She Found Me."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This charming little story reveals how a reunion between a grown woman and her birth mother can totally change the lives of each of them, in unexpected ways.

April Epner teaches high school Latin, dresses for comfort, and lives a no-nonsense life. Not much going on socially, but this doesn't seem to bother her.

Her adoptive parents have died, within two years of one another, and April does feel at loose ends. She doesn't think much about her birth mother, so when she is contacted by a friend of the woman, she doesn't really believe it at first. This celebrity talk-show hostess couldn't
possibly be her mother!

They gradually come to know one another---kind of like mixing oil and water---but April finds that her life is changing pleasantly, in subtle ways. She opens herself to a relationship with the school librarian and she even allows herself to make small changes in other aspects of her life. Closed off and detached from relationships as she has been, she finds that, even at the unlikely age of thirty-six, one can find love and family connections.

There are some predictable moments in this tale, like seeing a "talk-show reunion moment" played out, but Then She Found Me: A Novel leaves the reader with a warm, tingly glow.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Then She Found Me is a fun, unusual read about a girl whose exotic, outrageous birth mother finds her as an adult. The main character grew up happily with an adoptive family. When both of her adoptive parents die Bernice, her birth mother, tracks her down. She proves, however, to be not as easily molded as Bernice would like, which provides interesting tension throughout the book. In addition to interesting character development, both with family and romantic relationships, the book sparkles with witty, realistic dialogue and funny turns of events. The plot, like Bernice, tends toward outrageous, but it is easy to be drawn in none-the-less, and to believe everything that happens. An enjoyable, thought-provoking read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
From the first one I picked up, "Isabel's Bed" I read nothing but Elinor Lipman until I had gone through all of her books. "Then She Found Me" is an amusing story, a good read. I am sure any women that reads this book will find passages that she can relate to her own life. That is why Lipman's books are so amusing because they are a part of us all, or a part of something we would all like to be. I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an entertaining story, that is both funny and enlightening at the same time.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
April, a lonely teacher with a quiet life, grew up happily in an adoptive family. Shortly after the deaths of her beloved adoptive parents, however, she is contacted by Bernice, a flashy talk show host who claims to be her "real" mother. April is not the type of daughter Bernice expected to find, and Bernice is not exactly the birth mother about whom April dreamed for years. Their reunion is frequently funny, sometimes stormy, but ultimately heartwarming; when set against the backdrop of April's budding romance, it makes for a novel which is both humorous and touching. Lipman fans will not be disappointed, and those new to the author may very well go on to read some of her other works as I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
The narrator of Elinor Lipman's first novel, "Then She Found Me," is April Epner, a thirty-six year old high school Latin teacher. When April was born, her mother, Bernice Graverman, was only seventeen and unprepared for parenthood. She gave the baby up for adoption and made no effort to contact her child for over three decades. April, unlike the flighty Bernice, is practical and down-to-earth; she rarely wastes time fretting about what might have been.

Who knew that April's fifty-three year old biological mother (the host of a local television talk show) had been waiting for just the right moment to announce herself? One day, Bernice swoops down on April and upends her daughter's well-ordered existence. "Then She Found Me" is vintage Lipman and hints at the delightful books to come from this author who seamlessly blends hilarity, satire, and romance. Bernice is obnoxious; she is a pathological liar who is irritatingly nosy and compulsively meddlesome. She speaks her mind, and what she says is often incredibly annoying. April will need an endless supply of patience and tact to survive the onslaught of this ridiculously self-centered woman.

Although "Then She Found Me" is an amusing and entertaining romp, the first half is wittier and more engrossing than the conclusion. Lipman throws in a love affair for April that does not completely ring true, and Bernice will get on readers' nerves before long. Still, the clever dialogue, laugh-out-loud humor, spoof of arrogant "celebrities," and touching exploration of family dynamics make "Then She Found Me" a noteworthy first work in the Lipman canon.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
A very well written book. The characters were so well drawn. I especially liked the romance. It is rare to read of a romance in a novel today between two people who are not "beautiful people", that is, not rich, or gorgeous, or especially successful, but just people like most of us!
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