by Nancy Newman
Avon Book, 2002
Reviewed by Barbara
author is not a triad member, although she writes in the first person as
the main character, an adoptee, who decides to search for her birth mother.
From a writers point of view, it is extremely
difficult to write authentically about a situation the writer has never
experienced, such as being adopted. When this writer read the book, it was
hard to separate reading it as simply a reader from reading it as a triad
member, from reading it as a writer. Therefore, I asked some other O.I. members
to also read it and pass along their comments.
The book has received some very favorable reviews
in other newsletters, but we were a little more skeptical of the way the
story develops. One comment was that the search seemed entirely too simple
and quick, compared to what many of our members have experienced. We are
perhaps so used to reading first-person nonfiction adoption stories that
we want all the details to be authentic.
The birth mother turns out to be none too thrilled
with being found, and also turns out to be far from the adoptees fond
wishes. This is perhaps the saddest, but best-written, part of the book,
as they struggle to find a real relationship. Birth mothers will not be thrilled
to see the birth mother in the story portrayed as callous and sleazy, but
she actually comes across as a three-dimensional person, more real than most
of the characters.
This book is a fairly quick read, and a nice
change of pace, because it is a novel. Adoptees who read it may decide to
write their own stories of search and reunion, since the truth is sometimes
stranger than fiction, and sometimes makes even better reading.
Perhaps one of the best paragraphs in the book,
when she has found her birth mother but has not yet revealed who she is,
is when she asks her if she has any children and her birth mother says,
Nope. The character reacts, Her answer was like a physical
blowa punch in the gut. If shed blinked or hesitated even for
a microsecond, Id have felt better. But that shed killed me off
so completely sent a chill down my spine. Many birth mothers, in the
past, were told to forget theyd ever had a child, and, indeed, some
of them pushed it so far down in their memories that they consciously forgot,
and might very well answer as this fictional birth mother did, and the
adoptees feelings would no doubt be just as the character in this book
describes. Those losses are real for both adoptees and birth parents in far
too many closed adoptions.
Excerpted from the July 2002
edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 2002 Operation Identity