Somebody Else's Daughter

Somebody Else's Daughter

by Elizabeth Brundage

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440635205
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/03/2008
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 154,355
File size: 544 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

ELIZABETH BRUNDAGE is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she earned an MFA in fiction and a James Michener award. Her short fiction has been published in the Greensboro Review, Witness Magazine, and New Letters, and she contributed to the anthology Thicker Than Blood: I’ve Always Meant to Tell You, Letters to Our Mothers. Her most recent novel is All Things Cease to Appear.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

We left San Francisco that morning even though your mother was sick. It was a pretty day, the sun shimmering like a gypsy girl's tambourine. I thought it would be good for her to get out into the sunshine because it had been a long few weeks of rain and her skin had gone gray as oatmeal and she had this dull look flaming up in her eyes. You were sleeping in your little rocking seat and I had your things all packed. We didn't have much. It was time to go, but Cat wanted me to wash her hair first, said she couldn't go out looking like that. Holding her head in my hands I could feel her bright with fever. From behind, she looked like a healthy schoolgirl, just her sweet body and that long yellow hair. Then she'd turn around and you'd get pins in your heart. I wrapped her head in a towel and said, you take your meds today, Kitty Cat, and she nodded with her long face, the kind of woman you see in the museum up on the old canvases, a woman washing clothes or out in the fields, a strong body with large capable hands and this wisdom in her eyes because she knows more than you. She hated the idea that she was sick, and even with you so small she was still shooting drugs. Dope kept her comfortable. It had always been her favorite thing to do and that's the truth. You could see it just after she'd put the needle in, like an angel her face would go hazy and beautiful like so much fog. She dreamed of horses, she said. She told me she'd come into the world wanting to ride, wanting to be near the big dark creatures. Horses understood her, people made her nervous. This was your mother; this was the woman I loved.

We made you one night in a broken house, your mother riding my hips and howling with pleasure, and then six weeks later she's throwing up and wanting strange foods from the Iranian down on Willard Avenue. Months passed and her belly went round and tight. At the clinic they said she had a weak heart and HIV. Maybe her baby wouldn't get it. They didn't know. They gave her some pills and told her to come back every three weeks. She quit dope that afternoon, and took the pills and started going to church. She told me she had begged Jesus for a miracle. She believed in miracles, she said; she believed in Jesus. She liked to light the candles and sit in the darkness and think and then she'd get down on her knees and press her palms together. I'd watch her sometimes in the trembling blue light, among the other whispering strangers.

This one day we were walking through the park, leaning and kissing, that smell at the nape of her neck, the nape, like vanilla, like I don't know what, heaven, and then she's down on all fours in labor and this crowd comes around and she's white as fucking God and the next thing I know we're in a taxi with this Pakistani barking orders and I'm just wondering how we're going to pay for it. At the hospital they gave Cat a c-section on account of the HIV. They let me stand there and hold her hand and when I saw you for the first time I started to cry, I couldn't help it. You were bundled in a little blanket and you had on a little hat and you were the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I handed you to your mother and she was trembling and a little frightened and it made me want to crawl up next to her and hide my face in her heart. The nurse explained that there was a chance you'd be all right; they wouldn't know for a few months, we'd just have to be patient. I promised Cat that everything would be okay, I'd make sure of it, but she shook her head. “I'm sick,” she said.

We brought you home and the very next day they sent someone over from Child Services and it was that same woman who suggested we give you up. She brought two cases of formula and some diapers. She looked around our apartment, her eyes grim. Cat served the woman tea in one of her mother's old china teacups, it had little rosebuds on it, and your mother had saved it for a long time, keeping it carefully wrapped in newspaper so it wouldn't get broken, but the woman wouldn't even touch it. She kept on us, trying to convince us to let you go, to give you a better life, but we put her off.

I tried to find work. I could get work here and there. For a little while things were good between us, and Cat was all right and I sometimes forgot that her blood was tainted. She would do things, buy peaches, and there they'd be, fat and round on the counter, or she'd make a meal and set the table, like we were a real family. I don't know; I couldn't deal with it. It was a time in my life when I didn't know any better; I didn't know who I was. Sometimes I wouldn't come home for a few days and it would be just her and you and she'd know when I walked in stinking of dope, the whole thing, the cigarettes, sometimes women, and she'd just hold me because there was nothing else to do. I know it sounds pathetic to you, who we were, but it's the truth and I can't change it. There's a vivid transition when you come in from being high, and the walls have this mustard tint like old tapestries, and your body feels drained, beat up from the inside, and everything feels like a déjà vu, like you've made this big circle and instead of moving on you're right back where you started.

But this is not a story about drugs. And it's not a story about me and Cat, because Cat is on her way out of this story. Cat is going to die; I think we both know that. You can smell death on your woman, like grease—not the kind you eat—the murky black oil that drips out of your car and makes a puddle on the ground. The black oil that stains your fingertips. She started to have that smell all the time. She went back to dope like a repentant lover, unraveling the tinfoil like some priceless gift, the apartment smelling of burning wax, of scorched pewter. She had crawled back into its warm lap on her hands and knees. One afternoon I came home from work and found her sprawled on the bed like a dead woman, with you on the other side of the room, screaming, your tiny hands brittle with rage. She'd put you in the laundry basket atop a soft pile of clothes. There were notes from the neighbors shoved under the door, threatening to call the police. I found the lawyer's card on the table. Under his name in fancy script it said Private Adoptions. I woke her up and held her in my arms and she wept. “I just wanted to do something right,” she confessed. “For once.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"[A] deft balancing act of taut plot and richly drawn characters. . .Brundage is a storyteller supreme."
-Wally Lamb

"Riveting...very moving and completely involving. . . Brundage is a brilliant novelist."
-Richard Bausch

"Brundage has a penchant for turning topical subjects into gripping novels...Sex, drugs, violence and murder are all in the Brundage mix."
-The Washington Post

"[A] well-turned thriller. . . Brundage writes with startling clarity."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"A taut tale of suspense rounded out with sharp observations on parenting, adoption and the fraught business of keeping up appearances."
-New York Observer

Wally Lamb

"Students, parents, teachers, townies: Somebody Else's Daughter is a deft balancing act of taut plot and richly drawn characters struggling to find their moral centers as they grope in the dark for the transformative power of love. I didn't so much read this novel as devour it. Brundage is a storyteller supreme."--(Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much Is True and The Hour I First Believed)

Reading Group Guide


In the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts a group of families is connected through the prestigious Pioneer prep school. Into this community enters Nate Gallagher, a teacher and struggling writer haunted by the daughter he gave up for adoption years ago. The girl, Willa—now a teenager and one of Nate’s students—lives with her adoptive parents, Joe and Candace Golding, who have nurtured her with their affection and prosperity. When Willa wins a community service internship and begins working at a local women’s shelter, her friendship with a troubled prostitute, Pearl, raises questions about her own biological past. Despite her parent’s love and care, Willa can’t shake her feelings of confusion and abandonment, and Joe and Candace are too preoccupied with their crumbling marriage to realize her unhappiness.

Joe has other secrets, among them his profession—he makes pornographic films—and his affair with Claire Squire, a feminist artist who recently returned to the area. Joe and Claire stand on opposite sides of the issues of feminism, sex, and art, but they gain strength from each other’s differences.

If Joe and Claire are healed by sex, then Pioneer’s headmaster Jack Heath and his wife Maggie are destroyed by it. Jack’s charming exterior hides the twisted mind of a sexual predator who fantasizes about his students. Meanwhile, keeping her husband’s pathological past well hidden takes its toll on Maggie.

Somebody Else’s Daughter is filled with pairs of characters who mirror each other, forcing them to confront the darker side of their psyches and question their own identities. Nate and Joe, Willa’s biological and adoptive fathers, both fall in love with Claire. Joe and Jack are both fathers of teenage girls, each with his own secrets to keep. Willa and Pearl are both orphaned girls, yet one has been given a caring home and the other turns to prostitution. And Candace and Maggie are faithful wives who protect their husbands.

The characters become more entwined as first scandal and then tragedy strikes. As the story draws to its gripping conclusion, each character must make a decision that defines who they are. Somebody Else’s Daughter is a suspenseful tale and a tightly woven psychological drama that examines, as Joe Golding observes, how “in a matter of seconds, based on the fickle inclinations of fate, your life could change forever.”


Elizabeth Brundage is the author of The Doctor’s Wife and holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received a James A. Michener Award. Before attending Iowa, she was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Her short fiction has been published in the Greensboro Review, Witness magazine, and New Letters. She lives with her family in upstate New York.


Q. Your first novel was The Doctor’s Wife, and in this book one of your main characters is the headmaster’s wife. What draws you to the stories of women whose lives are defined by their husband’s careers?

In our society, we are evaluated by several things: how we look, what we do, where we live, who we’re married to, how much money we make, what kind of home we live in, what kind of car we drive, where we went to college (if we did in fact go to college), what our religion is, and what our politics are. All of these considerations go into creating a character. To some degree, women are defined by their husband’s careers. In The Doctor’s Wife, I was interested in taking a critical look at what it meant for Annie Knowles to be married to a physician who began working at an abortion clinic. In this novel, Maggie Heath, the wife of a headmaster of a private day school, is a member of a prominent social echelon in their town. In both books I wanted to explore how the choices we make not only inform our own lives, but the lives of our family members as well. It is not only who we choose to marry that matters, but also what they do, who they come in contact with, the choices that they make that ultimately affect a family’s destiny.

As headmaster, Maggie’s husband, Jack, is revered and admired. In the eyes of the Pioneer community, the Heaths seem to be an ideal couple. They have been granted the ultimate form of admiration, trust with the minds of teenagers. On the surface, the school is a seemingly perfect place: both Jack and Maggie have Ivy League pedigrees; both are outstanding teachers; their daughter, Ada, is an excellent student. The Heaths are tirelessly committed to the school, to promoting what appears to be a seamless ideal. Maggie strains to live within the conventional parameters of traditional family values, placing extraordinary importance on proving to herself that staying married and living by the rules is the right thing to do, no matter how difficult it might be for her to endure. Maggie admits that her life has become “an elaborate fabrication,” and that what people see on the outside is a very different reality from her true life on the inside with Jack. I wanted to explore how this tension fuels her growing sense of loss and defeat. Maggie is the worst kind of victim, not only because her husband abuses her and she cannot bring herself to tell anyone, but because her repression, ultimately, is her own doing. The worst betrayal for Maggie is when she comes to the realization that the house of cards she has so carefully constructed has in turn been dismantled, one card at a time, by her very own husband.

Maggie, to me, is someone who desperately wants to be good—to be a good wife, a good mother, a good teacher—to put these important aspects of her life first, before she even begins to address her own needs, which, in comparison, are far more complicated. Instead, she adapts to a rigid consensus of what and how women should behave. But in the end it only weakens her position, and she ultimately discovers that the trap she finds herself in with Jack is one that she designed herself.

Q. Claire is a sculptor and each section opens with a description of one of her works. Why did you decide to make Claire’s sculptures such a vital part of the book?

For Claire, her sculptures are symbols of how women are perceived in society. Each sculpture represents a metaphorical aspect of the chapters that follow it. As an artist, Claire makes cultural statements with her work that attempt to inspire reflection in the viewer on a variety of complex social issues that concern women: domesticity, sexuality, power, fertility, femininity, loss.

Q. Have you ever sculpted or worked in the visual arts? Did any particular artist inspire your depiction of Claire’s work?

I have studied painting and art history for many years; it is a passionate interest of mine. In my next life I’d like to come back as a painter. The best thing about being a writer is that you can live vicariously through your characters, whether they are painting a canvas, making a sculpture, or driving a foreign sports car in a high-speed chase. The work that the character of Claire produces was inspired by many incredible and daring artists, including Kiki Smith, George Segal, Louise Bourgeois, Charles Ray, Paul McCarthy, and others.

Q. In a discussion about feminism, Joe says “the word’s a relic.” Later, Claire wonders if feminism is passé. Do you think feminism is obsolete?

I’m not sure people understand what feminism means anymore. It may be harder for women who are under forty to fully embrace what their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers went through to ensure the protection of their rights and liberties. And with so many other urgent issues existing in our world, it’s sometimes difficult to think of our rights as taking precedence, but they do, they must. It always amazes me to reflect on our history as a country, the idea that women were granted the right to vote just eighty years ago, and the reality that in countries like Saudi Arabia, women’s lives are completely dictated by men. Although women have achieved a great deal over the course of the last century, it sometimes feels like four steps forward, five steps back, and certain political disruptions undermine our progress. I think it’s useful to look at the facts and numbers when trying to answer questions about equality and human rights, because, in general, the numbers speak for themselves. These are confusing times for women and men. It is always important to evaluate the strength of our rights and to elect people who are as equally determined to protect them.

Q. The novel delves into the psyche of both adult and teens characters. Was it difficult to write from the perspective of a teenager?

As the mother of two teenage girls and a young son, I relive my own anxious youth on a daily basis. When writing the character of Willa, I drew on my own memories of being seventeen and curious about my biological roots. For Willa, the mystery of her roots is her birthmark, as it was mine. The mystery inspires you, in a sense, to open doors, to keep searching for something—the truth. As Nate Gallagher says to Candace Golding, “It’s been my experience, Mrs. Golding, that teenagers seem to yearn for the truth in the same way that adults yearn to ignore it. If nothing else, it’s always liberating.” When you’re a teenager, you are trying to understand the world and your place in it. You are formulating your persona, your identity. I wanted to explore all of those disorienting and often disturbing feelings. With Teddy, I was interested in seeing the world from his perspective, how he thought about things like the war in Iraq, or Luther Grimm’s doomed pit bull. Or how he felt in school, fumbling through his classes without understanding why he wasn’t a good student, or what he could do about it. It interested me to explore how being academically disabled casts a sense of doubt over his entire life. Writing in the voice of a teenager allows a certain freedom to explore a variety of emotions and confusions, and I tried to do that with the teenage characters in this book.

Q. The beautiful but isolated landscape of the Berkshires forms the backdrop to your story. What about the region inspired you?

I’ve lived in and around the Berkshires for many years and it’s my favorite place to be, not only for its spectacular beauty, but because it attracts interesting people. Some of my favorite writers lived and worked here, Edith Wharton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, among others. The Berkshires has good energy for writers and artists. It’s a beautiful place, an ideal environment, a culturally sophisticated place. It’s a place where people come to reinvent themselves—people have “Utopian longings,” as Greer Harding says in the book, describing the school’s clientele. This intrigues me, the idea that people imagine they can leave behind one life and begin another one—that kind of freedom is particularly American. In writing about Joe and Candace Golding, I was able to explore this phenomenon, the sense that, with the right amount of money, you can machinate your happiness, even if it’s built on a foundation of lies. For the Goldings, when the truth finally creeps in it disrupts their dream. I’m interested in writing about people who seem to be living ideal lives, who are abruptly faced with certain difficulties that irrevocably change them, for better or worse—this is the meat and potatoes of my work as a writer.

Q. Nearly every character in the book is transformed by sex, either redeemed or corrupted. What were you getting at here?

I like to write about sex because I think it’s an important subject. Sex matters to people, but not always for the reasons that the media suggests. I think if people were more relaxed about the subject, we’d have fewer problems. I think that, to some degree, people worry about sex. Monogamy is challenging for some people. Some can’t seem to commit, others fear that they will be betrayed. The idea of betrayal interests me because it is something people fear desperately and because it happens quite a lot. We are an all-or-nothing culture and the punishment for betrayal is usually divorce, which may not be the best choice, depending on the circumstances. I think that betrayal is about so much more than sex. It’s about longing. Loss. It’s a reflection on both partners, not just the one who does the philandering. When people go outside of a marriage or relationship, it is an independent act, a decision that is, for the moment, free of the obligations to one’s mate, a suspended period of time when one steps out of his or her life and is momentarily removed from its pressures. There is a heady sense of freedom in that, and, like the effects of a drug, it briefly masks the inevitable pain one causes because of it. In Joe’s case, his adultery comes out of a kind of fear that he’s not worthy somehow—because he sees his life as something of a compromise. His work, his marriage. I think his affair with Claire bumps him off track and makes him reevaluate his situation for the better. I wanted to show that, although damage has been done to his marriage and his relationship with his wife, they can still go on, they can still move forward. Marriage, like anything else in life, is a process and all too often we make judgments that cause us to sever the relationships with the people we love most.

Q. Why did you decide to connect Joe to the pornography industry? Aside from the sharp contrast his job makes with Claire’s feminist art, what else drew you to the idea?

Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. Many of the people I interviewed who are in the business like to keep it a secret. Although we are comfortable as a society looking at images of pubescent girls in designer clothing, we still like to pretend that we’re not turned on by salacious imagery, and that good and honorable people don’t have roving eyes. In the novel Joe asserts that since porn “exists in our culture,” it must have a meaningful purpose. However, pornography is a means to an end. It is alarmingly superficial. It is not intimate or sensual. Yet, its very existence seems to say something about who we are. Joe argues, “Men need sex more than women.” This is a cultural stereotype that has been ingrained in us from the beginning of time—when poor Adam couldn’t resist Eve’s naughty apple—of course it was all Eve’s fault and women have been paying for it ever since. I wanted to make comparisons in this novel between pornography, teenage sexuality, and Claire’s art. The use of the school uniform, which has long been a source of titillation in porn magazines, was an image that I felt tied all three of these aspects together.

We are accustomed to seeing the female body either in art, or in film, or on the pages of magazines. Seeing a woman naked is routine, yet seeing a man’s penis is still somewhat taboo. Although there have been films and even plays that show men naked, it is still less ubiquitous than seeing women naked. In the novel, Claire’s sculptures represent the ways in which society objectifies women, while Joe, as a manufacturer of pornography, is a promoter of the objectification of women. Meanwhile, their children, Willa and Teddy, are unwittingly indoctrinated into a system of courtship that sends mixed messages, resulting in feelings of confusion and doubt.

Q. The book ends with Claire and Nate’s wedding and the sense that the characters, even Maggie, are moving in a positive direction. Was it important to you to have a happy ending?

It was important to me that each character felt resolved in some way by the end of the novel, and I do think that happens. I felt that Claire had been on her own for a long time, as had Nate, and that, somehow, they belonged together. So it wasn’t that I wanted a “happy” ending—but I felt that their relationship had reached a point where they were each ready, perhaps for the first time in their lives, to make a firm commitment to each other. For some reason, witnessing the union of two fine people makes us all incredibly happy. It fills us with a sense of promise. I think that speaks to our belief in the strength of love and the profound value of loyalty. It seems to assure us that, even in times like this, where daunting statistics claim that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, there are still couples out there who are willing to take the chance.

Q. What attracts you to the genre of psychological drama? What are you working on next?

I love a fast-paced thriller. Ever since I was about ten years old, when I happened to see Double Indemnity on the late show, I was hooked on thrillers. But I also love good literature, books where language is equally as important as the story they tell. My goal as a writer is to combine the two. In high school, I was obsessed with Russian literature. In college I studied film and became intrigued with film noir. I read everything ever written by James Cain and John Fante and Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet. In graduate school, I read books like Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Dickens’s Great Expectations and Steinbeck’s East of Eden—which were really the first great psychological dramas. Even Madame Bovarycan be seen as a psychological drama. I’m not interested in writing stories about people who live blissful, easy lives. Trouble interests me. I like stories about people who get pushed to their limits and are forced to make a decision, for better or worse, that significantly changes their lives.


  • Many of the book’s characters mirror each other—Jack vs. Joe as unfaithful husbands; Joe and Claire, who both use sex as a commodity; Pearl and Willa, the orphaned daughters; Maggie and Candace, the wronged wives. Why does the author choose to use this device? What do we learn about the characters by comparing and contrasting their similarities and differences?
  • Joe defends his work in pornography saying he is simply making a living. How do you feel about pornography? Is his position defensible?
  • Why is Maggie so cowed by Jack? Why does she continue to help him cover up his crimes? Is she a victim of circumstance or of her own actions?
  • A feminist theme runs throughout the book. How do you feel about the author’s depictions of feminism? Do today’s young women need or care about equality of the sexes? Is feminism still relevant in today’s society?
  • The book’s title could refer to any or all of the book’s female characters. Why do you think the author chose this title?
  • During Candace’s meeting with Nate, she refers to Willa’s biological parents as indigents. He responds, “We’re told certain things, information that pushes us into tidy categories, but they’re just words. We’re rarely told the whole story and the story is always changing.” Considering Candace’s checkered past, is it fair of her to stereotype him?
  • Claire is drawn to Nate and Joe, two very different men, who are, respectively, Willa’s biological and adoptive fathers. Why did the author choose to connect the men via both Claire and Willa?
  • Jack is clearly the story’s villain, yet the author attempts to explain his actions by revealing details about his traumatic childhood. Do these passages make you feel sympathetic toward him?
  • How do you feel about the book’s conclusion?
  • Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See All Customer Reviews

    Somebody Else's Daughter 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
    RMBS More than 1 year ago
    This is an interesting and addicting read. There are many characters to follow which keeps the story moving well and thickens the plot. The authors deals with many taboos that society tends to ignore. It was hard to put down. All in all a great read!
    schmadeke on LibraryThing 22 days ago
    This is a dark, disturbing novel that was difficult to put down. I thought Brundage tackled some heavy issues in her debut novel, The Doctor's Wife, but she took on an even more massive load in Somebody Else's Daughter. Adoption, alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, sexual abuse, murder, AIDS, prostitution, adultery. Thanks to Brundage's skill as an author, there is a lot going on, but it doesn't overwhelm. She slowly weaves together seemingly disparate story lines and characters in a masterful way that never fails to leave me in awe of her talent as a storyteller.What I love about Brundage is how she sets up her story. She takes her time, slowly creating a sense of place and developing her characters superbly. All of this is imbued with a subtle, underlying sense of suspense. I find myself reading her opening chapters with relish, knowing that she is building, gradually and deliberately, a gripping crescendo. A distinct difference between this novel and Brundage's debut, for me, was the likability of the characters. Though The Doctor's Wife held me in its grip, I struggled to truly like any of the characters, despite the fact that they were extremely well-developed. Reading Somebody Else's Daughter, I found it easy to love several characters. Willa was conflicted and sensitive, spurning many of the elitist attitudes she had been raised in the midst of. Several of the characters - Willa's adoptive parents, Claire the feminist sculptor, Claire's pot-smoking son Teddy - were flawed but basically, in the end, good people. And Willa's biological father, Nate, well, I kind of fell in love with him ... a struggling writer with a past, he was handsome, passionate, wise, and sensitive - a perfect hero.
    1morechapter on LibraryThing 22 days ago
    When I first accepted this book for review, I was under the impression that it was mostly about the thoughts and feelings of Willa Golding, a teenager who was adopted as a baby by wealthy parents. It¿s not. Although Willa¿s point of view certainly comes into the story, this book is about misogyny, p*rn*gr*phy, pr*stituti*on, drug abuse, and a host of other sordid activities. Before I give my other comments on the book, I¿d like to state that in no way do I believe that Brundage endorses these vices; however, I also don¿t agree with her presentation of the case against them either. This book is brutally graphic, and I just wasn¿t prepared for that. Knowing that this will color my review, I¿ll try to be as fair as possible.The book starts out by introducing Nate Gallagher and his girlfriend Catherine as strung out heroin addicts. Catherine gets pregnant with Willa and is clean for a time, but soon after Willa is born Cat becomes just too sick to care for her, and they decide to give her up for adoption. The couple who adopt her, Joe and Candace, are wealthy residents of the Berkshires and seem to have it all, yet they are hiding some pretty dark secrets. Very dark. Not only that, but it seems quite a few other characters in the story have even scarier skeletons in their closets. Here¿s where it starts to break down for me a bit. It seems a bit too much that all of `this¿ is going on in the same small community; it just is not believable to me. Gosh, I hope that wouldn¿t be the case, anyway.As Willa grows up, she attends an elite private school headed by Jack and Maggie Heath. Their daughter Ava is good friends with Willa, and the two girls have a group that they hang out with who are into alcohol, drugs, dares, and the like. All the girls are smitten with the new boy at school, Teddy, but it is Willa that catches his eye. Meanwhile, the new creative writing teacher at the school is a Mr. Gallagher. Yes, it¿s Nate Gallagher, Willa¿s birth father, but he tells no one of his relationship to Willa.This is where the book then goes off into the weird areas listed above. Although I believe it was Brundage¿s intent to bring awareness into the sufferings of women in these so-called `professions,¿ the horrible descriptions of the things they endure was just too unnecessarily graphic. I know I am very conservative compared to most, but I have a hard time imagining that an average female reader would be able to get through this book without disgust and revulsion. I honestly would not have gotten through much of it at all had I not committed to this review. In addition, there are some descriptions of Willa¿s s*xual experimentation that were very explicit to the point of poor taste.I am honestly not trying to bash Elizabeth Brundage as a writer or as a person. However, I believe I do represent a certain group of women who share my views. I also believe it is my responsibility to speak out about content that is so over the top and objectionable so that those who feel the same as I do can stay clear of it or at least make an informed decision about it.
    kkrystyan on LibraryThing 22 days ago
    This is a spectacular book. It reminded me of some kind of drama series on TV, somewhat like October Road or something like that. Her descriptiveness was excellent in the love making scenes as well. I really felt like I was there.
    DevourerOfBooks on LibraryThing 22 days ago
    When Nate was young, he lived as a junkie in San Francisco with his partner Cat and their small daughter Willa. When Cat¿s AIDS begins to kill her in earnest, she decides they will have to give Willa up for adoption.Fast forward to Willa¿s high school years. Nate has cleaned up and misses his daughter, so he decides to teach at her school without telling anyone of his connection to her.I expected Nate to be the narrator of the book, perhaps Willa and her parents as well. Instead, Brundage has a broad range of narrators, including Claire and her son Teddy who have recently returned to the area, Willa and her parents, and the wife of the headmaster of the school. At times this method seemed somewhat over ambitious, like the story could have been crisper if it wasn¿t dealing with everyone in the community¿s intensely screwed-up lives. However, by the end of the book, I realized that Brundage was bringing all the storylines into a cohesive ending that really worked.It definitely took me awhile to get into ¿Somebody Else¿s Daughter,¿ but once I did i was very pleased with the way the story was told.
    caroren on LibraryThing 22 days ago

    At the center of Elizabeth Brundage’s new novel lies an adoption under stressed and tragic circumstances. Willa, brought up in elegant prosperity, is now a student at the prestigious Pioneer School. But her biological father, a failing writer and former drug addict, can’t live with himself without seeing her again.In this idyllic Berkshires landscape, Willa’s adoptive parents have fled a mysterious past; a feminist sculptor initiates a reckless affair; teenagers live in a world to which adults turn a blind eye; and the headmaster’s wife is busy keeping her husband’s disastrous history and current indiscretions well hidden. The culmination of these forces is the collision of two very different fathers—biological and adoptive—and a villain whose ends and means slowly unfold with the help, witting and unwitting, of all around him. Somebody Else’s Daughter delivers an electric, suspenseful tale of richly conflicted characters and the disturbed landscape of the American psyche.

    An okay read!  Some interesting discussion of the women's issue of pornography.

    Penske on LibraryThing 22 days ago
    This novel is chock full of a lot of distasteful stuff but you can't look away! Well-drawn characters and a great plot keep it moving along and at times you can't put it down. An unexpectedly good read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I am rarely hooked by the first page of any book but I couldn't shut my mind off once I began this one. Ms. Brundage's characters were all interesting and drew me into their lives. When the Clair family enters the story you may begin to wonder if there is a protagonist left. I am a new fan of Elizabeth Brundage but will certainly sing her praises to my mystery loving friends.
    studious1 More than 1 year ago
    Have read all three of her books and find consuming. Stayed up way too late finishing this one.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was one of the worst books i have ever read. The book was choppy, it had so many stories going on at once i could not keep track of them, and none of stories were interesting until the very end of the book. It was raunchy and for no good reason. I can breez through books , but this was so bad that i didnt want to read it. There was so much pointless filler in this book it could have just been a short story. Dont read it... wasted hours of my life.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It was a good read. However, I could not help but compare it to the "The Doctor's wife" (by the same author), which is one of my top 5 books of all time.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    AAAstras More than 1 year ago
    I found this book to be lacking in substance. I loved the characters and the idea but in the end I closed the book very dissapointed. I wanted so much more! Was there a higher purpose a message for people but I got nothing.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    BookWormJH More than 1 year ago
    This book is thought provoking and gut wrenching all at the same time. The angst that families go through trying to find their identity's in a society that doesn't always accept "different". It is a complex and satisfying read, the characters are well developed and you really get a sense of what these people are going through. A very "human" tale and a great addition to your bookshelf.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I thought this book would be good after reading the back. It kinda lost my interist after the begining. I loved the beging so much, if only the rest of the book was as intreging as the begining.
    MissChixx More than 1 year ago
    I had high expectations after the phenomenal "The Doctor's Wife", which was an outstanding read. Unfortunatly "Somebody Else's Daughter" began quite interesting though, but after 80 pages I lost interest completely and quit the book. Discriptions of rich New England people's lifes were absolutely nothing for me and I was no longer interested to know the outcome of the story. I am really sorry for the money I wasted on this boring book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago