Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: Digging to America by Anne Tyler

Digging to America by Anne Tyler explores the question of nature verses nurture on a variety of levels.   This book presents the question of what makes one a citizen of a particular culture as opposed to a citizen of a particular country.  It also explores how culture and individuality impact each other.  By introducing two very different American families as they become parents through international adoption, Tyler gives us a window on what makes a family and how families develop their traditions, cultures and ideals and how individuals function as parts of a family.  We also see how families develop the principles of love, forgiveness, acceptance, judgement and live though hardships, differences and every day life.

In choosing to focus on a stereotypical American family and an Iranian American family as they each adopt a Korean daughter, the stage is set for a study of individuals and cultures.  Will these two girls be Korean or American?  American or Iranian?  What choices will their parent make to reinforce or deny their birth culture?  Will those choices make a difference in the family or the child?  Both families learn that differences are more than skin deep.  They also learn that differences are a result of more than culture.  Both families learn that by loving those that are different, they find new similarities. 

By weaving interesting characters with a story that explores how we become who we are, Anne Tyler spins a tale of family and love that left me cheering at the end.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. Sounds like a fascinating book. Did you see the "chineese mother" thread at TWTM? I was intrigued that the Chineese mother in question was actually an American!