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The Mistress's Daughter

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  3,126 Ratings  ·  529 Reviews
The acclaimed writer A. M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born. Her biological mother was a twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with a family of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the ruthlessly honest account of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes relates ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 5th 2007 by Viking (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kim
Oct 12, 2009 Kim rated it liked it
Have you ever had one moment, one fleeting moment when you thought ‘I wonder if I’m adopted?’ Maybe some of you have had more than one of these ruminations, or maybe some of you have been adopted and wonder what your biological parents could do for you that your adopted ones have failed to or…. Maybe some of you come from a blue collar, somewhat dysfunctional, totally unhealthy suburban family with a pool and stray dogs and overly wrought holidays with extended family that sure make you wish for ...more
Rebecca Foster
Aug 05, 2016 Rebecca Foster rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This grew out of a New Yorker article Homes published about meeting her biological parents in her early 30s. Her mother carried on an affair with her married boss, starting when she was just a teenager – Homes learned that she was the mistress’s daughter. This is the story of how her birth mother tried to get involved in her life, in a really rather stalker-ish way, and the occasional contact she had from her birth father. The blow-by-blow gets a little boring, especially when it’s Homes and her ...more
Kevin
Dec 02, 2008 Kevin rated it it was ok
Sometimes I read books by authors I like with a generous mindset. When I first started Homes's memoir I was enjoying it pretty well. Then I talked with a friend who teaches memoir writing and she told me that she really hated this book. She listed a few reasons (victimy narration, dull details, the funny way that Homes never really talks about her own mistakes) and told me I should read Another Bullshit Night and Stop Time instead. Thanks, Debra!
When I returned to The Mistress's Daughter after t
...more
Melissa
Jan 01, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people involved in adoption
Shelves: read-in-2008
I have never read anything else written by Homles but was interested in this book because I gave up a baby for adoption 18 years ago. I thought this book might help me understand what my biological daughter is going through and it did help in that way. I like the way she writes and the story was good but I could not stand the middle part of the book where she goes on & on & on & on about the genealogy of her family. It is completly boring and doesn't really add to the story, she ...more
Kimberly Steele
Oct 08, 2009 Kimberly Steele rated it it was amazing
The Mistress's Daughter was an important book for me. I am grateful for its publication and that's not something I would say easily. I am an adoptee and I can empathize (unfortunately) with A.M. Homes journey on a variety of levels. Mistress may have its detractors but if you're not an adoptee, or if you ARE an adoptee but maybe everything about adoption is just hunky-dorey for you, you're just not going to get it.

Homes perfectly describes the surreal feeling of going through your life having "
...more
Lori
Jan 11, 2012 Lori rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
I wanted to like this book but I actually hated it, and only finished it because I read it for book club. It's an odd amalgam of three kinds of books, actually: a very whiny memoir, a bit about the author's extended family and modern day genealogy, and a piece about the author's grandmother. I'm surprised I made it through the first part, the very whiny memoir, because I read it with my jaw dropped and in a state of often-infuriated shock. Poor her, she was adopted into a lovely family and when ...more
Tara
Mar 27, 2007 Tara rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of memoir/Homes
A.M. Homes is one of my longtime absolute favorites - she writes such great, strange stuff involving disturbingly unique characters like I've never seen. This is a departure... of sorts... for her. It's her memoir, apparently sprung at least in part from a 2004 New Yorker essay about her first encounters with her biological parents. Not so surprisingly, in her life she has history with some bizarre characters and circumstances, but certainly retains hope and beauty as well... perhaps more so ...more
Sandy
May 22, 2007 Sandy rated it liked it
I thought this book was very whiny. Here is a young talented woman who has a very loving adopted family and all we see is that she wants to be loved by her birth parents. When she is rejected by her father, instead of getting over it, she tries to make herself loved. Someone needs to tell her that it isn't always about her. There are factors outside of herself that makes him act as he does. The man does not change. Also , she is overwhelmed by her birth mother to the point that she tries to back ...more
Petra X
Memoir of when her adoptive mother traced her and then how she traced her father. Both parents were extremely eccentric and thereofre it made for an Interesting perspective on the more usual adoption story of child tracing birth mother.

Guillermo Jiménez
Recuerdo estar en la cocina con mi abuela materna, cuando una mañana
le pregunté de dónde venía ella. Seguía siendo aún adolescente y eran
rarísimas las ocasione que recordaba me interesaba por la historia
familiar.

De papá tenía una idea general, un poco de su infancia, algo de su
juventud, muy poco de su vida adulta. De mamá había más de donde
cortar, pero, aún así no me quedaba claro de dónde diablos venía yo.

Fue la primera vez que me interesé por la vida de los demás.

Después, fueron muchas más las
...more
Hilleri
Feb 01, 2008 Hilleri rated it really liked it
This was a fast read for me and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read about the complexities of adoption. I still struggle with my definition of what a family is and how I fit in. A.M. Homes experience's gave me great comfort and I hope she writes more on adoption issues in the future.

Review by: Nancy J. Mumford
I read this book in about 3 hours in one sitting and was absolutely fascinated. Rather than being a typical story of an adopted child who rediscovers her wonderful birth par
...more
Julz
Apr 13, 2007 Julz rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
I found this book interesting, because unlike most adoption reunion tomes, it focused on an adoptee being found by a biological parent. While the author's story is far more dramatic and negative than mine, it came closer than most of what I've read to reflecting the complex reality I've experienced.
Alden
Aug 02, 2007 Alden rated it really liked it
Hmmm. AM Homes has had a peculiar life as this account of meeting (and not especially liking) her birthparents shows. This is an unusual adoptee's story, as readers familiar with Homes' savagely funny, psychologically accute novels will expect.

Here is my interview with A.M. Homes for the April 2007 issue of BookPage.

http://www.bookpage.com/0704bp/a_m_ho...
Klaudia
May 11, 2011 Klaudia rated it it was ok
In my opinion, this is a poorly written memoir. Book two contains a few poetic fantasies, that are imagined truths. What I really disliked about this memoir is the lack of action, empathy, and understanding. Homes starts off her memoir with this crazed fantasy of her birth parents, especially her birth mother. When her birth mother doesn't live up to her expectations, AM seems to shun her. She asks herself a few times if her father would have bothered to contacted her if she wasn't this ...more
Andrew Marshall
Feb 07, 2014 Andrew Marshall rated it really liked it
What happens when you're adopted and your biological parents get in touch?

The answer is it blows your life apart and you have to slowly piece together a new version of yourself. Reading the book will quite possibly have a similar effect on you because it makes you realise how much our behaviour impacts on other people and often for years and years into the future. (In this case, the affair of a married man and his mistress which resulted in the birth of AM Homes and complicated his life, his wi
...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
la figlia del rifiuto

questo è un diario vero, il diario del momento in cui A.M.Homes viene contattata dalla sua madre biologica che l'aveva data in adozione alla nascita, e come tale rivela molte cose su chi scrive
in primo luogo salta all'occhio il senso di estraneità che la Homes mette come una barriera tra se e la madre che l'ha di fatto abbandonata ancora in fasce, poi c'è il giudizio a cui la sottopone, sembra che questa donna sia una squinternata, in effetti una che lascia in adozione una f
...more
Moira Russell
Gripping, but goes by way too fast -- definitely one of those books that began as a New Yorker article (the author admits it in the text) and was fleshed out into a very small book. It's weird to witness this kind of reversal when the same magazine was known for publishing entire books -- Hiroshima, In Cold Blood, Silent Spring -- that went on to become classics. I'm not sure when this trend started of publishing New Yorker articles with probably some few dozen pages of outtakes that were edited ...more
Angelina
Jul 08, 2009 Angelina rated it did not like it
This was boring. A.M. Homes whined and acted immaturely throughout the entire memoir. She is frustrating and unsympathetic. A.M. Homes has some abandonment issues she tried to work out through this memoir but it is not a journey you want to take with her. She is whines far too much and acts immature. She shuns her birth-mother and seems to have quite a bit of hostility and annoyance toward her. She won't see her or call her and mocks her insecurities. Yet, Homes will stop at nothing to please ...more
Kelly
Jan 05, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it
The Mistress's Daughter is a memoir about the author and her search for identity. A.M. Homes was adopted at birth, and is caught by surprise when her birth mom contacts her years later.

Much of the book centers around the author's conflicting feelings about her identity and what it means to belong to a family. There's also a fair amount of geneology in the second half of the book. I found it interesting, but readers looking for a story more about adoption and the birth parents may find it boring
...more
orsodimondo
Mar 18, 2016 orsodimondo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
SE VUOI DAVVERO SAPERE, NON CHIEDERE A LEI
Mi sarei aspettato molto di più, essendo un personale memoir su un aspetto della vita così poco esplorato, così particolare e delicato.
Homes ha una ferita ancora aperta che si sente in tutte le sue opere: ha rabbia dentro (a chip on her shoulder) e poca empatia per i suoi personaggi.
E' comunque il migliore dei suoi libri che ho letto.
Un paio di settimane fa l'ho ripreso in mano e ricominciato a leggere, ma poi mi sono fermato.
Kelly
Feb 17, 2009 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
Interesting. I wanted to like this more than I did. A writer finds her birth parents -- she was the daughter of a married man and his mistress. Unfortunately, all the characters are just SO unlikeable, including the narrator herself. (Her birth parents are odious.) Some interesting observations on self and memory, but ultimately, "meh."
Sarah
Feb 03, 2008 Sarah rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2008-reads
Self-indulgent. And (/Because, let's not be shy) I still haven't really forgiven her for "The End of Alice." If you kill someone for the sake of Art, they're still dead, you pretentiously gender-neutral prat.
Molly
Mar 01, 2009 Molly rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs-bios-etc
The first half of this book was good, then it just got to be a big pity party. The end turned out to be pretty lame. I had read Homes' article in the New Yorker which is basically the beginning of this book, and really that was the only good part.
Cheryl
Mar 02, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it
I get so hooked on books about women who are searching for and trying to understand their relationship with their mother. That is probably because I feel so homeless right now. Anyway, here are my favorite lines, and I think A. M. Homes has become one of my favorite writers.

"Once I know something, the amount of effort it takes to deny it, to suspend knowledge, is enormous and potentially more dangerous than to simply move along with it and see where it takes me."

"At this point it would take noth
...more
Marguerite Kaye
Feb 11, 2014 Marguerite Kaye rated it liked it
This was a real mix. Extremely painful to read in places, almost cringey, in others it was a bit boring, and ultimately it was unsatisfying because it was kind of a mystery without an ending. Of course it must be even more frustrating for Homes herself, not getting the answers to questions, but that's different!

This is the story of what it is to be adopted. The painful bit was also the interesting bit - how she felt, being confronted with biological parents she'd never sought out, what that did
...more
Hooma
Oct 21, 2011 Hooma rated it really liked it
I came across a review for this book in the Oprah Magazine. I had this book tucked on away on my mental "to read" list for a long time. A.M Homes is an acclaimed writer in her own right (I have not yet had the opportunity to read her books) who always knew she was adopted. However, it isn't until she is adult that she is contacted by her birth mother and meets her birth parents.

Unlike what one sees in movies and reads in novels, being reunited with one's biological parents years after being gi
...more
Linh
The Mistress's Daughter was nothing like what I expected it to be. Not that that's a bad thing. I guess I just expected it to be about a girl who grew up with her mistress mother waiting for her father to visit on days where he doesn't have to be with his family. I'm not sure why I did but A.M. Homes' story was a much more depressing one where she had little contact with her biological parents.

I felt bad for her and her mother as the story went on and I do not respect her biological father at al
...more
Martine
Jan 13, 2013 Martine rated it liked it
I was disappointed in this book. A.M. Homes is such a good writer, one with humor and clever insight into the human condition. This memoir, and maybe because it is a memoir, was written with such a sad, self pitying tone that I had a hard time finishing it. Not that her experiences didn't justify feeling sorry for oneself--they did-but the way the book was written I wondered if she had written it too son, still clouded by her emotional experiences with adoption, finding her birth parents and bio ...more
Danielle
Jan 12, 2008 Danielle rated it liked it
Look, it's hard for me to write a completely like, unbiased, removed review of this, because I myself am adopted. For years and years as a kid I wondered about my biological parents and where they were, but as of yet have not initiated any sort of search. A part of me wants to and a part of me wants them to do so as well, but reading this book.... hm. The mother is so wrought with neediness and desperation, it becomes almost frightening. As an adoptee, you have to--in the event you ever meet ...more
Julie
Aug 19, 2007 Julie rated it it was ok
so far...not liking it - and feel like I've read it before (have I? If only I'd always had this site...)

Okay. I had read the story before - in the New Yorker in 2004. If she hadn't mentioned that her biological father always met her in hotels, I wouldn't have remembered the story at all. She's not a very likeable character, she hides more than she reveals, she focuses on things that I don't admire and she doesn't seem to appreciate (or at least let on that she appreciates) the good people in her
...more
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A.M. Homes (first name Amy) is the author of the novels, This Book Will Save Your Life, Music For Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the short-story collections, Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects, the travel memoir, Los Angeles: People, Places and The Castle on the Hill, and the artist's book Appendix A: An Elaboration on the Novel the End of ...more
More about A.M. Homes...

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“I think about how truly interesting and odd it is that when a woman marries, traditionally she loses her name, becoming absorbed by the husband's family name - she is in effect lost, evaporated from all records under her maiden name. I finally understand the anger behind feminism - the idea that as a woman you are property to be conveyed between your father and your husband, but never an individual who exists independently. And on the flip side, it is also one of the few ways one can legitimately get lost - no one questions it.” 29 likes
“I grew up convinced that every family was better than mine. I grew up watching other families in awe, hardly able to bear the sensations, the nearly pornographic pleasure of witnessing such small intimacies. I would hover on the edge, knowing that however much they include you—invite you to dinner, take you on family trips—you are never official, you are always the “friend,” the first one left behind.” 1 likes
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