Book Review: Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren J. Sharkey

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A bildungsroman, A book published the month of your birthday, A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins, A book by a WOC

TW: Sexual assault, abuse

Inconvenient Daughter is a look into the life of an adopted Korean girl who is trying hard to discover her own identity in a family that doesn't share her same experiences. As a disclaimer, I will be sharing some major spoilers in this review, which I typically don't do, however, this big plot point is the main thing that impacted my rating on this book, and I feel it's really important to share for readers to make the best decision in their choice to read the book.

Rowan was adopted at a young age from Korea to transplant into an Irish Catholic family in Long Island. She first discovers her transracial identity when beginning school. From there, she begins to question who she is and how she fits into her own family, and within the greater world. From elementary school to college and beyond, Rowan makes choices that impact the trajectory of her life and dive deeper into who she is and who she wants to be. 

Spoilers below.

So here's the thing - this book was really promising, and there may be a ton of people who really love it. But one of the major plot points really bothered me so much and I have to share that here. Each chapter begins with a paragraph or so of Rowan at a clinic with a nurse. After a few chapters, it's clear she's been sexually assaulted. Later in the book, you find out what's happened to her, however, as an adult, Rowan is promiscuous (no "slut-shaming" here, she has the right to do as she pleases). What bothers me so much is that during the continuous scenes at the clinic, the ones that span the entirety of the book, she is lying about her sexual assault and who assaulted her. She also has evidence collected, which would prove to have been from someone else entirely during a sexual encounter that was consensual. The fact that the entire book leads up to her lying about being raped really bothers me. And I have very strong feelings about this type of situation. I believe women, but it's very difficult for others to believe women for whatever reason, and so someone who does lie about someone sexually assaulting them could negatively impact all women who want to come forward but are afraid to do so. I understand this is a work of fiction. I understand that I've really loved books that are much more controversial, but something about this really got under my skin. I get the concept of the book. Horrible things happen to Rowan in this story, and she deals with that in her own way, and she needs answers and help, but lying about someone sexually assaulting you is not the way to do.

End spoilers.

All of that to say, the rest of the book isn't bad. The writing is very choppy at times - the story line jumps around a lot. But again, there was a lot of promise with this book. I just can't get over how everything wrapped up.

"Dad always said love was built on trust. Trust that the other person would be honest about the things that matter, and the things that don't. Trust that they'd love you despite your flaws. Trust that they'd protect you from harm. Trust that they'd never hurt you on purpose." - Inconvenient Daughter, Lauren J. Sharkey

If you go into the book understanding the above, I will say that if you enjoyed Pizza Girl, you'll likely also enjoy Inconvenient Daughter. The storytelling is very different, but they are reminiscent of each other. Both books are about young women struggling with their identities and making choices to try to alleviate a pain in their lives, which is very poetic. I really loved Pizza Girl, and I wish I could've loved this one as much.

Goodreads rating: ★★☆☆☆

*Thanks to Mindbuck Media for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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