October 18, 2011

Catching Up on the Reading Challenge

I have been plugging away at this year's adoption reading challenge, but have been terrible about posting reports. Here are three more of my challenge books:

There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's ChildrenI don't pretend to know anywhere near as much about international adoption as I do about domestic adoption. (What I do know mostly comes from newspaper articles and what I've gleaned from your brilliant brains online.) This book pulled together a lot of different strands. There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene is the story of Haregewoin Tefarra, an Ethiopian woman who stumbled into caring for hundreds of children left without families who could care for them because of the AIDS crisis. It bluntly shows why international adoption cannot be discussed in a vacuum or in black-and-white terms--or solely through the lens of personal narrative. It is one small piece of a much larger picture of enmeshed injustices, crises, and global power struggles. Things we all know, but which aren't often presented so coherently. Totally engrossing; I stayed up late while on vacation to finish it.

Lucky GirlAuthor Mei-Ling Hopgood was born in Taiwan and adopted by a couple in the U.S. when she was seven months old. In her early 20s she reunites with her (very large) Taiwanese family. Lucky Girl is the compelling story of their reunion: figuring out relationships and boundaries across national and familial cultural differences, thinking about self-identity, and grappling with how what she learns about her origins fits into that.
Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses, a MemoirPaula McLain remembers living in a series of foster homes with her sisters in Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses. I was less enthusiastic about this memoir; I found myself wishing she'd turn the same critical eye on herself as she did on the other people in the book and dig into her own motivations and reactions some more. By the end I felt like I knew a lot about what had happened to her and not as much about her. But it was still worth reading.
I have to admit I've been slacking on the fiction piece. I signed up for the six non-fiction/six fiction books challenge track deliberately to get myself to search out some excellent adoption-themed fiction. But I've been dragging my feet on that. When adoption fiction goes bad, it's just really, really bad, you know? But I still have several novels left to read, so if you have a recommendation, please share!


mandy w said...

The book There is No Me Without You is a huge reason why I chose Ethiopian adoption. I was leaning towards Ethiopia anyway, but this book was amazing.

Anonymous said...

I admit I'm your opposite, I have had more issues reading non-fiction than fiction, but mostly because with both I read something I don't like or agree with and with fiction it's much easier to let it go, with non-fiction this is really what somoene who's educated about the subject enough to write a book that's published thinks and that can be frustrating. I'll try to think of some good fiction for you if you give me a good non-fiction to read for my last one.

Claudia said...

Have you read 'run', by Ann Patchett?

She writes so beautifully; I would read her writing about scotch tape. So that's one good thing. Another good thing - this book starts out with sort of a simple approach to adoption but as it goes on the issues become more and more complex. Something gets revealed towards the end that really turns some other stuff on its head, too, and adds a whole extra dimension to the whole thing. Not a perfect adoption book - the birthmother, particularly, feels a bit like a cardboard cut-out - but I found it extremely thought-provoking. I'd say more but can't without spoiler-ing.

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