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The Adoption Papers

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  157 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Jackie Kay tells the story of a black girl's adoption by a white Scottish couple- from three different viewpoints: the mother, the birth mother, and the daughter.
Paperback, 64 pages
Published December 31st 1991 by Bloodaxe Books (first published December 14th 1991)
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I love Jackie Kay's style of taking different perspectives and interweaving them. The first half of this book, The Adoption Papers, is thought-provoking and uncomfortable. The adoptive mother's perspective is the strongest for me, the most fleshed out, but perhaps I only feel that as a white woman who'd like to adopt! Or perhaps it's because she has power over the other two voices, or because Kay is drawing on her intimate, nuanced knowing of her mother. The two other voices are more about body- ...more
Pamela Scott
I found the poems in The Adoption Papers really enjoyable. I found the different texts used for each voice confusing at first but soon got the hang of it. What impressed is how much information Kay is able to convey in a few lines. She manages to condense a whole novel in a few stanzas. There were a few moments when I felt a lump in my throat. The Adoption Papers makes very emotional reading. The bonus poems included were also really enjoyable. Parts of The Adoption Papers has been adapted for s ...more
Joe Hayes
Jackie Kay has a unique writing style that manages to capture the reader straight away. She has many interesting stories to tell, and having met her in person and listening to her read it's clear to say she is passionate about her work
Glad I read "Red Dust Road" first.
Absolutely charming interviewee on CBC program a few months back - a Scottish writer of biologically African/Scottish Highlands background who was adopted into a family of radical Scottish Communists. The poems in here about her adoption quest are really interesting but the book wanders a bit. Read her book "Trumpet" about a woman cross-dressing as a man in the early Jazz years and liked it, so am trying a book of her short stories now too...
Loved it, especially the first part of the collection that deals with the adoption, the poet's early years and the experience of racism. I would read it on the bus and my eyes would fill with tears I tried to hide. I think the device of having three voices (the self, the adoptive mother and the birth mother) worked really well -- a device frequently used in fiction but not so common in poetry.
I liked this. The writing I didn't rate much in terms of poetry (but that's just me) but I liked the subject matter. It examines interracial adoption, with the conflicting feelings about the blood tie meaning nothing when family is family, and yet to know one's lineage and heritage. Very good all in all.
Vivien Jones
One of my favourite poets - this is her earliest collection which explores the intricacies of the relationships between mother, adoptive mother and adopted and birth child - some lovely writing about music and its importance in black culture.
Defied my idea of poems. A great picture of a world I didn't think too much about. Love to see it live.
Fab, great insight into the struggle concerned with identity, acceptance and abandonment.
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Born in Glasgow in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, Kay was adopted by a white couple, Helen and John Kay, as a baby. Brought up in Bishopbriggs, a Glasgow suburb, she has an older adopted brother, Maxwell as well as siblings by her adoptive parents.

Kay's adoptive father worked full-time for the Communist Party and stood for election as a Member of Parliament, and her adoptive moth
More about Jackie Kay...
Trumpet Red Dust Road: An Autobiographical Journey Wish I Was Here Why Don't You Stop Talking: Stories Reality, Reality

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