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Saturday, April 30, 2011

"The Mistress's Daughter"

by A.M. Homes, non-fiction, 2007, 238p, rating=2.5

The acclaimed writer A.M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born.  Her biological mother was twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man who had a family of his own.  The Mistress's Daughter is Homes's ruthlessly honest account of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her.  Digging through each of her family histories, Homes delivers a twenty-first-century electronic search for self.  Daring, heartbreaking, and startlingly funny, this is a brave and profoundly moving consideration of identity and family.  (book's blurb)
I stumbled into this book and once I saw the cover, well, that face ...cute but threatening!  You can't tell from the picture much, but those piercing blue eyes promised to hurt me if I didn't pick-up the book.  So I did. 

It was a quick and unlabored read for a memoir.  A big plus in my book.  But, I sensed a spiteful tone under the sarcasms ... even some whining.  Maybe understandably due to her identity struggles but it made for a depressing read in that light.  However, I did enjoy reading about her quest to dig into genealogy work.  It was a great example of some wonders one might find about his ancestors and the many man hours it takes.  Oh, the chapter "Like an Episode of L.A. Law" was an interesting way to sum up the millions of questions she had.  I also found promise of acceptance in her voice when she talked about her grandmother's influence at the end of the book.  Hence, testing the waters of motherhood herself.  I think that retrospect reminded her to see where the essence of family truly lies.

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