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Digging To America by Anne Tyler
Digging To America begins at the Baltimore airport in 1997 where two families are waiting for their adopted Korean babies. The first couple is Bitsy and Brad Donaldson and they're accompanied by both sets of grandparents. The other couple Sami and Ziba Yazdam, an Iranian-American couple accompanied by his mother, Maryam. The couples meet and Bitsy invites the Yazdams to visit, which becomes a regular event. Bitsy is the over-reaching mother, choosing cloth diapers, organic food, eschewing any career outside the home, and trying to retain all the ethnic heritages of her baby. Ziba, in contrast, does her best to Americanize her baby, but she's always interested in Bitsy's suggestions so her family can be more American. Maryam is not terribly fond of the Donaldsons, struggling to regain her outsider status, despite being an American citizen for decades. When she becomes fond of Bitsy's reacently widowed father, and then wary of that relationship, it introduces tension into all their relationships. Anne Tyler's novel has received positive reviews with the Houston Chronicle saying, "Maryam is so well-crafted and believable a character, and the exploration of the many characters' search for American identity is so observant, witty and touching, that Digging To America has to be counted as one of Tyler's most ambitious and successful books."