The Mistress’s Daughter: A Memoir

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by A.M. Homes

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a voracious reader.  I especially enjoy an in-depth look into another person’s life, which is why I enjoy memoirs as well as a multitude of blogs.   I think writing a memoir would be a gigantic undertaking.  Where to begin?  What to tell?  What to leave out?  Here the novelist A.M. Homes recounts the story of meeting her birth parents 31 years after they gave her up for adoption and her quest to research both her adoptive and biological genealogy.

Homes’s birth mother, Ellen,  seems to suffer from some personal issues, telling her daughter, “You should adopt me and take good care of me.”  She stalks Homes, shows up at readings unannounced and becomes offended when Homes pulls away.  Her birth father isn’t much better, asking to meet her in hotels, asking her to submit to a DNA test, promising to introduce her to his family and then later refusing to speak with her.  Homes begins the long and arduous task of researching family lineage, learning she is eligible to join the DAR but then not being able to as her birth father will not provide the results of the paternity test to prove she is his child.

Mid-way through the book I felt it became a little muddled down by all of the historical names and events discovered during the genealogy dig.  Though fascinating, these veered from true heart of the story being told.  Homes wraps up the book with a chapter about her adoptive grandmother and her own journey to motherhood.

An interesting and touching read.  Medium stack of books.

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August 20, 2007. memoir. Leave a comment.

Dadditude

 How a Real Man Became a Real Dad

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by Philip Lerman

Lerman defines “dadditude” as being in the moment, which is something all parents should try to do, or at least pretend like they’re trying to do.  His very funny and readable take on parenthood is full of anecdotes and covers the first four years of his son, Max’s life.  From infertility treatments to pre-school, Lerman covers a wide range of topics from the viewpoint of an older father learning about the important stuff in life.

Large stack of books.

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August 13, 2007. parenting. Leave a comment.

Blindsided by a Diaper

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Edited by Dana Bedford Hilmer

A book chock-full of honest essays about parenting. Where was this book two years ago when I was knee-deep in diapers? This collection of personal accounts from the trenches of parenthood covers a wide range of topics and parents, from Moon Unit Zappa to Ariel Gore and a lot of other sleep-deprived souls in between.

The book is an entertaining and enlightening look at the world many of us face daily. I laughed out loud, I sympathized, I read some accounts in disbelief. This would make a great gift for a parent-to-be, new parent or a parent you know who is struggling with all that parenting entails. Large stack of books.

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August 2, 2007. motherhood, non-fiction, parenting. Leave a comment.