Being Lara: A Novel

Being Lara: A Novel

by Lola Jaye


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062069344
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/13/2012
Edition description: Original
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Lola Jaye was born and raised in London, England, where she still makes her home; she has also lived briefly in Nigeria. By the Time You Read This—Lola's first U.S. novel—was published by HarperCollins in 2009. Her inspirational essay "Reaching for the Stars: How You Can Make Your Dreams Come True," in which she charted her journey from foster child to author, was released in 2009 as part of the U.K.'s wildly popular Quick Reads program.

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Being Lara: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
A story that kept me turning pages from beginning to end. A little girl suddenly realizes that she is different from everyone else, her parents don't look like her and neither does the rest of her family. Lara has a hard time finding out the reality of her situation and upon entering her 30th year she is finally finding out the real truth. Jumping from past and present and between different characters, the reader gets the whole picture for this book - through the eyes of Lara, her adopted mother and her birth mother. The reader finds out the history that leads each woman to where they are now in the present grappling with forming a new family unit. I thought this was a fresh approach to the world of adoption. We find out how she came to live at an orphanage and then what led her to London with her adopted parents. I would recommend this to readers of all genres. This story was a new take that I think most readers would enjoy. It was a great read to find out how a young girl feels when she knows that her family isn't the norm.
sjurban on LibraryThing 6 months ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. The story was told from three viewpoints; Lara, the adoptee from Nigeria, Trish, her white adoptive, former pop star mother and Yomi, her biological African mother.I've read books from all of these different points of view before, but never all in one story. It was a fast and fun read.
bleached on LibraryThing 6 months ago
A heart warming and breaking story of a little girl torn between two worlds. This novel tugged on emotions and brought tears to the eyes in both joy and sadness.It is one of the few novels that I didn't want to put down. I came to love, dislike, and love again the lifelike characters. It also held the strong messages of acceptance, forgiveness, and self-discovery.
EmScape on LibraryThing 6 months ago
At the age of three, Lara is adopted from Nigeria by a British pop star and her husband. At her thirtieth birthday party, her biological mother arrives wanting to have a relationship with her. Lara struggles with abandonment issues, adopting a new cultural heritage and a mild case of OCD to become a complete person.The book is loosely chronological, featuring many flashbacks to Lara's childhood and both her mothers' experiences around her birth and her adoption. I was glad the author gave us that history in from the point of view of both of these women, as it really enriched Lara's story even though she was not privy to much of it. Both Patricia and Yomi have an intriguing and complicated relationship with their own mothers as well. The emotional depth of the situations and racial/cultural issues was handled beautifully.What I found (a lot) less genuine and and more chick-lit-esque was Lara's current life. She's become a wealthy executive at a jewelry website, has a perfect flat and a too-good-to-be-true boyfriend. Her friend Sandi is more realistic and a welcome addition, but Tyler the boyfriend comes off as unbelievable and not in a good way. Her life is a fairy tale, except for the whole thing about how she's a black kid with white parents. The conflict between the families, her adoptive parents' fear that they'll lose her and her birth mother and grandmother's fear she won't let them in to her life is, as I said before, emotional, but resolved a little quickly and with a lot less actual conflict than I would imagine a situation like that being. There are revelations and events that quickly change Lara's attitudes without her having to struggle to accept the reality of the situation. It comes off as unconvincingly facile, but it's still an effortless and enjoyable book to read. I genuinely liked all of the major characters and rooted for Lara to be able to come to grips with herself. It's a lighter take on the subject matter than I expected, but still pleasurable to read.
Kikoa on LibraryThing 6 months ago
I read some of the other reviews and it made me want to continue reading. I kind of got bogged down, but you have given me hope. I will continue once I have finished "Wench" by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. While after getting further in the book I saw what some of the other reviewers saw, I still found the thread that was suppose to connect these pivotal people in Lara's life not clearly defined. I got lost often in the thought process of the individual charactors. As I write this it dawns on me that all the charactors are coming from one person and are not separated with true personalities of their own. But I am 70 so it could be my mind. I did enjoy it more as I read on.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing 6 months ago
This novel of interracial adoption, being different, prejudice, and unconventional but loving family tackles many issues that continue to be current today even as families made up of people of different races have become more and more common. It is certainly less unusual to see children who are a different race than their parents strolling down the street together and many children nowadays are adopted from foreign countries. And adoption as a whole is more open and less stigmatized than it once was.Opening with Lara's thirtieth birthday party, a small family affair, she is completely gobsmacked when she opens her eyes after blowing out her candles to see an unfamiliar woman standing at the door. She doesn't recognize the woman but she has the sense that deep down, she does in fact know this woman. Lara Reid is the Nigerian born child of white British parents, adopted at the age of three when her mother, a former pop star, decided to donate some money to a Nigerian orphanage and fell in love with little Omolara while she was there. Lara has spent much of her life feeling her "otherness" or like the "alien" a nasty child once called her in school. Her family is incredibly loving and supportive but the fact that she was once abandoned at the Motherless Children's Orphanage has marked her personality deeply. Despite her upbringing, she is unable to commit to relationships, certain that those around her whom she cares about will in turn eventually leave her too.If Lara is indelibly marked by her early life and adoption, her mothers, both adoptive and biological, are also forever changed by her presence or the lack thereof in their lives. Both Yomi, her biological mother, and Pat/Trish, her adoptive mother, faced difficult early lives on the edge of poverty. The triple-stranded narrative tells the stories of both of these women and all that led up to Lara's being adopted as well as telling Lara's story. While the background information is very necessary to the story, the jumping from woman to woman and from time period to time period (including Lara's childhood as well as her present) was awkward at times. But having Lara's biological mother arrive unexpectedly in the midst of a birthday celebration and then slowly starting at the beginning of her tale without revealing why she has searched out her daughter now definitely added to the dramatic tension.Some of the issues surrounding adoptions, such as adoptive parents feeling rejected if a child chooses to know or learn more about her biological family are handled a bit superficially here. And Lara is a much less sympathetic character than either of her mothers, who really shimmer on the page. The contrast of Lara's insecurities with her successful career, handsome and always attentive boyfriend, loving and understanding family, and fantastic flat is a bit overdone and obvious. But the reality of a child who felt different and faced prejudices that her parents could never know is well done and makes the reader pause to think. Despite the potential heaviness of some of the issues weaving through the plot, this is a fairly light examination but generally enjoyable.
Carolee888 on LibraryThing 6 months ago
¿Being Lara by Lola Jaye opened with Lara¿s thirtieth birthday party and she didn¿t really want to go to it. She is a very successful business woman working with expensive jewelry; she is ¿going with¿ a very handsome and considerate man, her mother had been a pop star in the past and she has a very loving father. Lara flashes back to memories of when she was five. She had been called an ¿alien¿ because she looked different from her classmates. Her birth mother was in Nigeria and her adoptive parents were both white. As she gets older showing emotions is like touching a very hot stove with her bare hands. Alternating with the present and the past for the sections titled Lara, this book also alternates with the stories of her two mothers. Pat tells her story of growing up in South London and not quite fitting into her family, being an introvert. She still felt sad about her losing her father. She felt closer to him than anyone. She met and married an unusually sensitive man with a loving nature and an open ear for Pat. He actually knows Pat more than she does herself. Yomi, her Nigerian mother also goes back to childhood of poverty and longing for a ¿Jane Austin type of life¿. Not only do learn about her life, you learn Nigerian customs, foods and growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. She is hopelessly in love with Henry, a handsome gentleman who is also poor. Later in the story we are privileged to be introduced to incredibly wise mother. So, these three stories come together and explain Lara. She is special but she has a lot of trouble relating to people. This book shows her journey from her always knowing that there was something missing in her life, she didn¿t know what, to woman who starts growing emotionally and feeling blessed for the richness of her life. The writing is beautiful and towards the end of the book, I didn¿t want to let go of the story. There is a story behind every person, and perhaps this book will make you wonder about other people who seem emotionally closed off. Maybe they have stories that explain the way that they are. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to understand people better and have the bonus of learning about Nigerian culture and food. I received this book as a win from Library Thing and that in no way influenced my review.
JessiAdams on LibraryThing 6 months ago
I wasn't sure about this book at first. It took me the first three chapters before I became interested. Lara's life just didn't interest me in the beginning. Once the book started shifting perspective from Lara to her biological mother Yumi and then to her adoptive mother Trish, I started to feel a little more interested. I especially felt for Lara's adoptive mother who dealt with the greed and racism expressed by her family when she brought Lara home from Africa. I also found Lara's friend Sandi interesting. As a foster child herself, I wonder if the author used Sandi as a comparison against the adopted Lara. Sandi seems to struggle in the book more with the type of issues that we in the U.S. expect foster kids to have. Where Lara is more sheltered as a child, Sandi is more wild and coarse. Toward the end of the book, I began to enjoy it more as Yumi made an appearance in Lara's life and Lara was able to absorb both of her cultures and make herself more whole as a person.
jlouise77 on LibraryThing 6 months ago
I really liked this book. I liked the story and the characters. For some reason, though, it was a really slow read for me. I'm not sure why. I was interested in where the story was going and I definitely wanted to know what happened in the end, but something about the characters didnt draw me in. I think that, in the way that the main character held herself back from everyone in the whole story, something was held back in the telling of the story that prevented me from really connecting to it. Definitely worth reading, though. A good book club book!
KristiB41 on LibraryThing 6 months ago
I love this author and was excited to read this new book because I loved her other one (By the Time You Read This.) This book started off a little slow for me but once I got into it, it was a good read. Lara Reid feels like an outsider around the kids at school once the kids realize she is a different race than her parents. After many tries, her parents finally give her a box of information that tells where she came from but that is all they do. They don't explain and she still has many questions. For her 10th birthday, she asks for her real mom to come to the party. Her adoptive father promises he will deliver but the hard truth is that he has lied to Lara because he can't bear of the fact of losing her. Fast forward to her 30th birthday where she has a special present that arrives and now she has to decide whether she wants all the information she has been searching for most of her life.
mcelhra on LibraryThing 6 months ago
Being Lara is the story of Lara Reid, who was adopted from Nigeria at age 3 by a white couple. Growing up she always felt different. Her birth mother shows up unexpectedly to her thirtieth birthday party, which sends Lara into a tailspin. She's forced to confront the abandonment and identity issues she's been trying to repress all these years.I'd like to get two big problems I had with this book out of the way. First - the cover. That is not a picture of a Nigerian girl. I don't even think she's a black girl period. She might bi-racial but the main character is not. Lara is born from native Nigerian parents. I think it's sad that the publisher didn't put a dark skinned black girl on the cover - where they worried that they wouldn't sell as many books?Second, there is a huge continuity error in the section about Lara's thirtieth birthday party. Lara makes a huge deal about taking a taxi to her party from her apartment. Then when Lara leaves the party, she leaves in her own car. How she gets to and from the party is actually relevant to the plot so it was a jarring error; I'm not sure how that got past an editor.Okay, now on to the actual book review. I chose this book because my husband and I (both white) are in the process of adopting an African American little girl which makes me very interested in reading stories about transracial adoption. This book definitely taught me what not to do! Lara's parents didn't handle her being adopted or of a different race than them very well at all in my opinion. They didn't really acknowledge that she was adopted until she was eight years old and they never attempted to acquaint her with the culture and country she was born in. It's no wonder she had issues.This book alternates between the stories of Lara, her adoptive mom Trish, and her birth mom Yomi. Learning Trish and Yomi's back stories helped me understand where their characters were coming from in the present day storyline dealing with Lara as an adult. Yomi's story also taught me about life in Nigeria and some of their customs and food.I felt that Lara's issues were treated too simplistically in some ways. I felt like Lara should have struggled more and delved deeper into herself when her birth mother came to town. Things moved along rather quickly to be realistic.Even though this review has some negative points, I did enjoy this book and I feel like I did learn more about transracial adoption from reading it.
juniperSun on LibraryThing 6 months ago
Based on Early Reviewers copy. The format of starting off with a life changing event, and then going back to present the background from different characters point of view worked well. The story didn't grab me, however. It seemed more like a description of a good story rather than being written in a way that hooked the reader. Too detached, like a case history of some therapist's client. Based on the brief author bio it seems to be somewhat autobiographical, so how can I truly state that the characters don't seem real. Could a 7 year old really have never before noticed that she was a different race from her parents? As uptight as Lara is for most of her life, it seems she changed too quickly in the last chapter--fairy tale ending.For me, there was too much emphasis on descriptions of clothes and other consumer goods, I couldn't identify with Lara, and thought her parents were not fully developed characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your a butt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What do you mean im a butt? Im sosososo srry caus i got kicked on tht result. I told someone to tell u tht i got kicked. Im rlly srry. 4give me plz?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago