Council of Natural Mothers' Library
This novel is primarily a love
story set in New York. The main character, Sarah Bridges, is a woman of
35 who is unable to commit to anyone or understand herself fully until
she searches for, and finds her natural mother. From the point of view
of the novel form, the book is easy to read and fun, though the wealth
of the main character's love interest makes the story less believable.
In publicity materials, the author indicates that it was discussions with
an adopted friend that gave her the material for the main character's
reactions to adoption. The author is neither an adoptee nor a mother who
has lost a child to adoption. She has listened well, however, to her friend.
The author describes her main character's, Sarah's, search for her natural
mother quite well, though this search is made easier because Sarah was
brought up by her natural father and his wife. Sarah Bridges' childhood
experiences show the temperamental mismatch that so often occurs between
the adoptee and the adoptive mother. The uncertainties and the fears of
the first meetings between the mother and her only child are described
with poignancy and caring. The reunion between mother and daughter allows
the adult adoptee to settle her feelings and sense of self, as is also
usually case in reunions.
In the end, for someone searching or for someone seeking to understand
the aftermath of adoption, this novel provides thin fare--it's primarily
a love story, after all. Once the mother and daughter are reunited, the
complexity of building a reunion relationship is quickly put aside so
that the love story can be resolved, and in a fairly predictable fashion.
For those who want a love story to read, this novel provides some reasonably
accurate understandings of adoption's deleterious effects on those adopted
and the mothers who lose their children to adoption. There are other first
person accounts by adoptees and mothers who've lost their children that
provide more understanding, more nuance and more authentic voice than
does this novel. However, for those who want a love story, there's some
interesting information about adoption's effects.
Sandra Falconer Pace
Avon Books (Harper
Collins Publishers), 2002
The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers