Book Review: Little Pieces of Me, by Alison Hammer

Paige Meyer has a lot to be thankful for, even though she has just been laid off from her advertising agency job. She is engaged to be married to a wonderful man, Jeff Parker, and her two best friends, Margaux and Maks, always have her back.

Just as Paige is looking forward to her future with Jeff, her past revisits her in the form of an email from a DNA website. Paige is stunned to learn that her beloved dad, who died two years earlier, is not her biological father. As Paige digs deeper into this mystery, she discovers why she has never fit in with her family and why her relationship with her mother, Elizabeth, has always been so strained.

The author tells the story in alternating chapters, moving from the present day to 1975, when Betsy Kaplan, a sophomore at the University of Kansas, was dating Mark Meyer, a steady, reliable man who doesn’t exactly spark passions in Betsy. Upset by Mark’s failure to understand her, Betsy breaks up with Mark. Seeing that Betsy is distressed, her roommate, Sissy Goldberg, convinces Betsy to attend a fraternity party. She ends up going to bed with Andy Abrams, a closeted gay man.

Hammer’s characters are well drawn. Paige is a strong, independent woman whose search for the truth triggers searing emotions. The story moves along at a brisk pace and the scenes with Paige and her mother have powerful emotional impact.

This novel’s themes of identity and what makes a family are handled in a sensitive and thoughtful way. And,  the little pieces of Paige that mean the most are the people who have loved and supported her throughout her journey through life. That many of these people are not biologically related to Paige is not lost on the reader.

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