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YOU DON’T LOOK ADOPTED: A memoir ~ Anne Heffron

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

YOU DON’T LOOK ADOPTED is one of those books that is hard to put down, because all of us spend time trying to figure out “Who Am I?” For the adopted person there is a distinctive other part to this question as they must explore also, “who rejected me and for what reason?”   We must not leave out all the health questionnaires about the family tree that becomes the unknown element and reminder.  As a former counselor, with a number of adoptees in my client base and as the mother of an adopted child I wanted to read this book and tell you about it right away. It is a gripping read and very honest study of a person who found these questions difficult.

“Anne Heffron was born in Manhattan in 1964 to a young college student who gave her up for adoption. Fifty-one years later Anne returned to Manhattan to find the roots of her story, the story that began with her birth instead of the story that began “The day we got you.” This journey is the subject of “You Don’t Look Adopted”, an account of the perils and blessings of adoption.

Before turning to memoir, Anne co-wrote the film “Phantom Halo” with her writing partner, Antonia Bogdanovich. “Phantom Halo” was first shown at the 2015 Austin Film Festival and won Best Picture at the 2015 New York International Film Festival. She and Antonia currently have a screenplay, “The Rabbit Will Die” in development.” (TLC Book Tours)

Heffron also has bonding issues that affect her life and her living smoothly through researching these life questions.  There is an unexplained period of time (about 3 months) before she is adopted.  There are no findings about where she was after birth until being given a family.  Was she in a hospital nursery or did she have a foster parent in the interim that could have offered a post birth bonding experience?  I have met several hands on therapists who recreate this newborn bonding experience for many adults later in life.

There is a period of anxiety that Heffron experiences and that occurs repeated.  Being rejected and lied too by her birth mother also changes her thinking.  She has a good family and can relate to her mother and father, but feels her differences early on and those differences persist in making her feel abandoned and alone.

This is such a powerful read and I believe is very helpful to those who are finding the journey interesting to traverse. It is also very good for the adoptive parent as there are many insights available for discovery. The writing is candid and straight on and challenges one to re-evaluate.  Heffron is definitely a good writer and is brave to share her story, which I am certain will help others on the journey to self.

“You Don’t Look Adopted by Anne Heffron is an insightful self-exploration of life as an adopted person. The author gives readers a deep, personal journey into her innermost thoughts, fears, hopes and confusion as she struggles to unravel her life and concepts of value, worth, and mattering.”–Mirah Riben, Huffington Post

There is one small point where I did not like this powerful book and makes me concerned that people will not pick it up with curiosity or interest.  I think the cover is not attractive and pushes me away from the book.

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Related:
The Unfinished Child
Incendiary Girls
A House for Happy Mothers

THE SKIN ABOVE MY KNEE: A Memoir ~Marcia Butler

Monday, January 1st, 2018

THE SKIN ABOVE MY KNEE is a very satisfying read, full of poetic, musical language, inspiration, abandonment, abuse, lyrical recovery and phrasing.  It is an autobiography and an etude of how to use music to balance and center the self while finding home.  “Music aficionados will find an extraordinarily kindred spirit here, and lovers of memoir will find this a sensationally satisfying one.” (-Booklist)

Marcia Butler is a professional oboist who does freelance work primarily in New York.  Her story is about a child who falls in love with Wagner Opera at age 4 and demonstrates unusual talent to her teachers at school.  These teachers encourage her talent and find lessons for her to advance.  Butler drives her self to be the best she can be and falls into the music and the praise.  She resides in a love-starved environment and has to lap dance for her father to avoid the beatings he administers to her sister.  Music is the escape and she practices 3 hours a day.

Her parents drive her sister out of the house.  Butler uses music scholarships and part time jobs to leave home and begin her career.  Her playing is exceptional and awarded.  Her love relationships are monstrous and difficult.  Her parents only hear her play 2 times in her career.  She is always searching for love and support.  The reader wants to hear her play and wants to hold her up and let her lean their way, holding on to her words and hoping to protect.   One gets lost in the music that we are not actuality hearing but rather are reading from the page.  Gorgeous and courageous, sparse and passionate the reader journeys into the self-destructive youth and it’s darkness only to emerge with a full life of sound and beauty.

The chapter of how the author makes her reeds is just amazing.  How to get the wood cuts perfect to produce the perfect outcome and resonance.  Bravo!

“In her debut memoir, THE SKIN ABOVE MY KNEE, Marcia Butler shows us how music – listening to it, playing it, losing it, and rediscovering it – can save us.  With bravery and honesty, she unflinchingly tells her story.”  (-Ann Hood, author of THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST)

Marcia Butler was a professional oboist for twenty-five years, until her retirement from music in 2008.  During her musical career, she performed as a principal oboist and soloist on the most renowned of New York and international stages, with many high-profile musicians and orchestras – including pianist Andre’ Watts, composer and pianist Keith Jarrett, and soprano Dawn Upshaw. (cover)

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I loved reading this book it is a favorite in 2017 for me and the Washington Post!

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I Hate Everyone Except You