Canadian Council of Natural Mothers' Library

Disturbing the Peace

Nancy Newman

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.

Reviewer: Sandra Falconer Pace

Avon Books (Harper Collins Publishers), 2002
ISBN 3-380-79839-5


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