Canadian Council of Natural Mothers' Library

Ithaka
A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found

Sarah Saffian

The following is taken from the book cover:
"Hello, is Sarah Saffian there?" asks the voice on the other end of the line. "My name is Hannah Morgan, I think I'm your birth mother."

So begins this powerful memoir by a young woman whose life changes dramatically when she receives a phone call from someone, at once a stranger but yet her most intimate relation.

Saffian's riveting story of painful self-discovery and new-found joy is unique in its reversal of the usual adoption narrative: here, the natural parents seek out the adoptee.

Weaving together letters, journal entries, memories and reflections, Saffian tells of her adoption, her adoptive mother's death six years later, and her upbringing in a loving family. She learns that her biological parents ended up marrying and having other children. She is thus faced with an entire family to whom she is genetically linked.

Saffian's boldly honest account reaches a moving climax with their reunion, three years after the first phone call. Along the way, it raises thorny questions: What is a family? Can we have more than one? What is the line between parental concern and intrusion? Is it hypocritical to be a pro-choice adoptee? How do nature and nurture work together to form a person's identity?

Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found is sure to touch readers everywhere who have grappled with who they are.

I found this book interesting and useful in that in many ways it reflected my situation with my natural daughter, for I was the one who searched for and found her. When I contacted her, she had not been searching for me, had not felt a need to find and meet her natural family, and was totally unprepared for a reunion with me. Reading this book gave me some insights into how an adoptee might feel in this situation and helped me to understand my relationship with my natural daughter.

 


Reviewer: ?

 

© The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers