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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 LONG WAY HOME: Based on the True Story of Slaves Thomas Peters and Murphy Steele ~Kevin Bannister

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

THE LONG WAY HOME is just crackerjack good historic fiction.  I would like to recommend it for schools for Black History Month and any of the folks who love reading about the Revolutionary War and Slavery and Success-World Changers.

Thomas and Murphy are young boys living in the 1700’s who are working on a Southern Plantation and they keep running away.  One has lived all his life on the Plantation and worked in the schoolhouse, the other is a highly educated “prince” from an African tribe recently sold into slavery by his uncle.

The two are always planning and working hard.   They are watching out for the bounty hunters and being captured and sold over and over again, even with all the whippings and branding marks used to torture them.

On one of their runs they discover the British solders have made an offer, they run towards to sign up to receive freedom and land enough to farm.  They are good warriors and workers in the Black Brigade during the War for Independence.

I could not find research information that Kevin Bannister used to collect this story but maybe the mention of Murphy Steele writing down his story at the end of the book is the source of discovery for the author?

TLC Book Tours did send me an advance copy of the book and also shared these reviews on their site:

“The author has written about such a sensitive topic and in a very beautiful way. The reader will become immersed in a reality that may seem too distant, but written in a language that conjures very vivid images, a tale that will speak to the hearts of readers with eloquence. Bannister has successfully combined historical facts with glowing imagination to deliver a masterpiece that will be well received by lovers of historical fiction. His language succinctly portrays the world of a slave and the injustices prevalent in that world.”–Romuald Dzemo, author of Courage To Embrace Yourself and You Can’t Be A Failure

About Kevin Bannister

Kevin Bannister is a rancher and writer living in the beautiful foothills of central Alberta. He would like Thomas Peters and Murphy Steele to be celebrated as the heroes that they were in their lifetimes and to be inspirations to young people everywhere to persevere in the face of bigotry, poverty, government indifference or any other adversity.

“Kevin Bannister’s Long Way Home is a novel that grabs your attention from the start and keeps you riveted to the last word. . It is written around an era where the life of an Indigenous North American, and a person of African roots, were deemed by Caucasians to be easily expendable and not a thing to trouble a conscience. It highlights in great detail the fact that when greed and self- interest came to the forefront during the American Revolution that Caucasian brothers had no compulsion about inflicting unspeakable barbarities upon each other. An unforgettable read!”–Dr. Daniel N. Paul, C.M., O.N.S., LLD, DLIT, Mi’kmaw eldering, author of We Were Not The Savages, Order of Canada recipient, journalist and lecturer, www.danielpaul.com

I truly believe that history fiction is a wonderful way to explore history and learn about life, which came before.

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Related:
A Snug Life Somewhere
The Paper Garden
A Beautiful Poison

SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS: A novel ~Amy Impellizzeri

Monday, December 26th, 2016

I have to start with the author when I think about this story. “On November 12,2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed on my residential corner in Belle Harbor, New York. All of the passengers and crew and five of my neighbors on the ground died that morning. All reports of that day say there were no survivors.”

The author was home at the time and saw the plane crash into her neighborhood.

Belle Harbor had also lost 70 residents to the 9/11 attacks two months earlier and these two incidents are the beginning of the tale of SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS.

About Amy Impellizzeri:

“Amy is a reformed corporate litigator, founder of SHORTCUTS Magazine, and award-winning author. Her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014) , was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Bronze Winner and a National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist. A favorite with bloggers and book clubs, Lemongrass Hope was named the #1 reviewed book in 2014 by blogger, The Literary Connoisseur, and topped several bloggers’ “Best of” Lists in 2015. Amy’s second novel, Secrets of Worry Dolls is releasing December 1, 2016 by Wyatt-MacKenzie.

“Amy is also the author of the non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015). She is a proud member of the Tall Poppy Writers and President of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Amy currently lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and one energetic Weimaraner, where she keeps up on all of the latest research confirming that caffeine is, in fact, good for you.” (From TLC Book Tours)

Amy Impellizzeri Website 
Amy Impellizzeri Twitter

SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS begins with Lu unable to get on a plane to Guatemala to discover her Mother’s secrets – She is sitting in the bar unable to board the plane and contemplate leaving Rock Harbor and her Mother. She lost her twin sister and her fire fighter father both on 9/11 and she is unable to move on with her life even 10 years later. The plane she was supposed to board crashes right near the front door of her Mother’s house in Rock Harbor. Lu works her way home to discover her mother has been injured in the crash and is in a coma at the hospital. The first two parts of the story Lu is every other chapter as she begins the process of moving forward.

Mari, her mother is every other chapter as she tells you her story of growing up in Guatemala and receiving the Worry Dolls. Mari’s mother has been “disappeared” during the revolution and thus the sadness of her life begins. She works at holding her life together as she raises her twin daughters and garners some special friends along the way. She is hoping having Lu go to Guatemala will assist Lu in moving forward and having her own life and future. After 9/11 her life is a series of sleeping pills and often alcohol until the plane crash.

There is a great deal of tragedy and sorrow in this story. I found myself cheering Lu on to discover the right information to free her to move forward and find some happiness. I had a terrible time putting the book down after each reading session, because I just wanted the hope to emerge. I pushed myself to get to Part 3, and then there was progress as Lu was able to release herself from her indecision and begin to talk about what needed to happen next. The hope and the orchids emerged.

I did not try to resolve this story in my own mind, I just kept pushing forward to understand what the author was hoping to convey. I did not ask myself what I would do with so much tragedy in a lifetime and I found some reasonable answers. Knowing that the end of the Mayan Calendar was an important theme and that after that day we began a new calendar and moved on. It proved to be an indispensible tether to the story.

I am sure that I want to read the author’s award winning story LEMONGRASS HOPE and I can highly recommend SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS to my readers.

Related:
A Tale For The Time Being 
Fog Island Mountains
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

BEAUTY AND ATTRACTION: A Novel ~Liz Rosenberg

Monday, October 31st, 2016
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beauty-and-attention

An Advanced Reader copy of this story arrived in my inbox and I just thought the cover of this book was a good first hook.  I found this story about a young woman in the 1950s to be very interesting and a good read.  The story is about a “freedom” which can manifest after a death; it is about how to express and explore this new stage in a time period known for being quite restrictive.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review.  It is a good read.

The precision of the writing truly pulled me into the story of Libby Archer, a  naïve, young woman living in Rochester, New York as her father has just died and left her an orphan.  Her aunt and uncle who live in Ireland ask her to come and spend time with them and she choses to do just that as her friends push her to get married to be cared for and a young, smart enterprising local fellow is hoping she will say yes.

The banter between her cousin, an English Lord, and Libby is quite remarkable and compelling as Libby is quite outspoken and feisty.  Libby has very few resources at her disposal except her wit, charm, and kindness.  Her rather narcissistic aunt takes charge of her future and introduces Libby to a fascinating friend.  There are trips to Paris for clothing and style and Libby is loosing herself with each chapter.  She becomes more and more molded into a rather pathetic person and then falls in love or is manipulated into a relationship, when in Rome.  Money has come her way and this makes her an even greater “mark”.   Death keeps signaling change in Libby’s life – and then in a surprise twist she takes hold and takes a new direction.  Makes it worthwhile to read to the very last paragraph.

I enjoyed the book and liked that it was short and to the point.  There was good context material, such as reference to the McCarthyism pervasive in the USA and the focus on the development of computers.   I so liked how the story ended.

“The author of more than thirty books for adults and young readers, Liz Rosenberg has published three bestselling novels, including The Laws of Gravity and The Moonlight Palace. She has also written five books of poems, among them 2008’s Demon Love, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and After Great Grief, forthcoming from the Provincetown Arts Press. Her poems have been heard on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. Rosenberg’s books for young readers have won numerous awards and honors and have been featured on the PBS television show Reading Rainbow. A former Fulbright Fellowship recipient, Rosenberg teaches English at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She lives in Binghamton with her daughter, Lily, and a shih tzu named Sophie. Although she has homes in New York and North Chatham, Massachusetts, her heart is still in Ireland.” (TLC book tours)

Liz Rosenberg Wikipedia

Related:
The Moonlight Palace
The Imaginary Life
The Time Travelers Boyfriend