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Then She Found Me

Then She Found Me

3.6 12
by Elinor Lipman

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April Epner teaches high school Latin, wears flannel jumpers, and is used to having her evenings free. Bernice Graverman brandishes designer labels, favors toad-sized earrings, and hosts her own tacky TV talk show: Bernice G!

But behind the glitz and glam, Bernice has followed the life of the daughter she gave up for adoption thirty-six years ago. Now


April Epner teaches high school Latin, wears flannel jumpers, and is used to having her evenings free. Bernice Graverman brandishes designer labels, favors toad-sized earrings, and hosts her own tacky TV talk show: Bernice G!

But behind the glitz and glam, Bernice has followed the life of the daughter she gave up for adoption thirty-six years ago. Now that she's got her act together, she's aiming to be a mom like she always knew she could. And she's hurtling straight for April's quiet little life....

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A bright, lively, and funny look at an eccentric mother-daughter relationship." — The New York Times Book Review

"An enchanting tale. .. . Full of charm, humor, and unsentimental wisdom." — Publishers Weekly

"Funny and poignant.... Then She Found Me is a truly happy book." — New Orleans Times-Picayune

"Winningly wry and dry-eyed.... Funny, moving, and very wise in the ways of life." — Kirkus Reviews

"Keenly expressed insights.... Charming." — Vogue

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Quiet and content April Epner, a high school Latin teacher whose adoptive parents are recently deceased, is claimed by her birth mother, an obnoxious TV talk show hostess. ``Raising laughter and tears with acutely observed characterizations and dry, affectionate wit, Lipman also keeps dealing out the surprises, leaving readers smiling long after the last page is turned,'' PW said. (Apr.)
Library Journal
What happens when a well-adjusted adult is found by the birth mother she never sought? In Lipman's deft hands, the relationship between high school teacher April Epner and her newly discovered mother, talk-show hostess Bernice Graverman, is often strained, replete with humorous misunderstandings, but ultimately a warm and positive experience for both. Lipman's depiction of a 1980s family is a skillful rendering of the morals and manners of our time. Each character displays his or her human contradictions, whether it's Bernice frantically inventing preposterous stories concerning April's birth father, or April tentatively moving toward romance with the school librarian. This is a delightful addition to public library fiction collections.-- Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.

Product Details

Washington Square Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Media Tie-In
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt


My biological mother was seventeen when she had me in 1952, and even that was more than I wanted to know about her. I had no romantic notions about the coupling that had produced me, not about her being cheerleader to his football captain or au pair to his Rockefeller. When I thought about it at all, this is what I imagined: two faceless and cheap teenagers doing it listlessly in the unfinished basement where they jitterbugged unchaperoned.

"Adopted" was never a label that made me flinch. Its meaning within our family was "hand-selected,'' "starcrossed," "precious." I loved the story of my parents' first glimpse o f me at the agency, how I solemnly studied their faces — hers, his, back to hers — then grinned. I was raised to be glad that the unlucky teenage girl couldn't keep me; the last thing I wanted was some stranger for a mother. Still, I slept with a light on i n my bedroom until I was twelve, afraid she'd exercise her rights.

Later it annoyed me. The teenage girl annoyed me, nothing more. Could she ever have worn real maternity clothes or taken a single prenatal vitamin on my behalf? Here is where I remember to feel relief and gratitude and say, no matter. I am healthy, happy, better off. It is a lucky thing she didn't keep me. I'd barely have finished high school. I'd have become a beautician or a licensed practical nurse, and I would think I had a glamorous career. The grittier I made it the more righteous I felt. I invented these jitterbugging teenagers when I was in junior high school, as my adoptive parents began to look old. I voted against the irresponsible kids, emphatically for the Epners. My story suited me and I grew to believe it. I did not attend support groups for adoptees and I did not search for anyone.

Then she found me.

Copyright © 1990 by Elinor Lipman

Meet the Author

Elinor Lipman started writing fiction by night while working at a teachers’ magazine by day. Her first book, Into Love and Out Again, was published in 1987; its centerpiece was seven connected stories, novella-length, which gave her the courage to try a novel. Then She Found Me came out in 1990 (eighteen years later it was adapted into a feature film), followed by The Way Men Act, Isabel’s Bed, The Inn at Lake Devine, The Ladies’ Man, The Dearly Departed, The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, My Latest Grievance, and most recently, The Family Man. Her honors include the New England Book Award and the Poetry Center’s Fiction Prize. She divides her time between leafy western Massachusetts and New York City. Visit ElinorLipman.com to find out more.

Brief Biography

Northampton, Massachusetts, and New York, New York
Date of Birth:
October 16, 1950
Place of Birth:
Lowell, Massachusetts
A.B., Simmons College, 1972; Honorary Doctor of Letters, Simmons College, 2000

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Then She Found Me 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd read and enjoyed Elinor Lipman before ('Isabel's Bed' and 'The Inn at Lake Devine') but still was unprepared for this one. The premise is completely original and the characters are as funny as they are true-to-life. April Epner has always been content with her life and with her adoptive parents, never feeling the inclination to search for her birth mother. But then Bernice Graverman (aka 'Bernice G!', a larger-than-life TV personality) turns up and announces that she is April's birth mother -- and April's well-ordered existence is turned upside down. The relationship April and Bernice forge together is by turns harrowing and hilarious, but is definitely never dull. This is my favorite Elinor Lipman novel yet, and I can't wait to read the rest of her work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a light read that made me smile and touched on relationship issues that are relevant to us all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
By chance, I was looking for another writer in the L section at Barnes & Noble, happened upon Then She Found Me, and was hooked immediatley. A great story about a larger than life birth mother who decides, some 35 years later, to finally invade her daughter's life. Great premise, characters and wit. I read the book in two days, then ran back to B&N and picked up other books by Lipman--Isabel's Bed, The Inn at Lake Devine and The Way Men Act. A wonderful writer who hasn't received the credit she deserves.
GranbyLibraryBookClub More than 1 year ago
A story of a mother who gave her daughter up for adoption then went on to become a local TV celeb, this story has a few developed characters, the story did not peak at any point making this book a bland read. There is humor which saves the story. It's a light, fun read - if that is what you are looking for. Our book group loves this author's other books, this one not so much.
DaisyZoro40 More than 1 year ago
I admit I was forced into reading this book as part of an assignment for Engligh Lit; otherwise, I would have never picked up this book. After reading just the first paragraph, I was hooked! Elinor Lipman does a fantastic job making you feel like you are right there with the characters. I almost felt like I was invading in on a private conversation. Her imagery of words are intoxicating! Beware that the movie is a complete opposite of the book! So if you have to write a paper -- writters beware and read the book!
MrsO More than 1 year ago
I watched the dvd before purchasing the book, and the movie is completely different from the book. I enjoyed both, but the movie was more touching and emotional. I kept picturing Helen Hunt and Bette Midler, but was wondering who would have played the part of Dwight from the book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book after seeing a preview for the Helen Hunt movie based on this book. This book is nothing like the movie, other than the fact that the biological mother finds the daughter that she gave up 30-some years earlier. I was disappointed because the story line of the movie was much different, and funnier. The book is okay. The characters are a bit annoying and not very likable. It gave me a few laughs, but I would not recommend it.