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My Fathers' Daughter

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  254 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
In 1974 Hannah Pool was adopted from an Orphanage in Eritrea and brought to England by her white adoptive father. She grew up unable to imagine what it must be like to look into the eyes of a blood relative until one day a letter arrived from a brother she never knew she had. Not knowing what to do with the letter, Hannah hid it away. But she was unable to forget it and te ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published July 27th 2006 by Penguin (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 910)
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Nabse Bamato
This is an extremely difficult review to write. Not because the book was bad - far from it. No, reviewing it is difficult because the story it tells is so incredibly personal, the writing is so honest and the experiences it relates go right to the core of the author's identity. Any criticism would feel like a belittlement of what the writer is describing and, as such, more than 'just' being a criticism of how she writes, would feel like a comment on who she is. So, deep breath, here goes.

My Fath
...more
✟Sabrina Rutter✟
I have read stories about adoptees meeting their birth families, and I have watched the shows on television about the same thing. Never though did I ever imagine what it might be like for someone who was adopted from a third world country to returne to the strange land of their birth.
The author is very honest, and open about her experience. I feel that this womans story is very unique in that we get to read about an African village from a whole different point of view. She is not an aid worker
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Laurie
Feb 05, 2008 Laurie rated it really liked it
This book is about a woman who visits her country of birth, Eritrea, about 30 years after she was adopted by English parents. I learned a lot about what international adoptees might feel and the emotions that surface as they investigate their past and meet biological family members. It was especially interesting that she consistently affirms that she wishes she had never been adopted despite what that might have meant (being a child soldier, dying young, poverty, etc.)....

My only criticism of th
...more
Karen
Sep 03, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-the-world
This is s wonderful book about a woman who was adopted from Eritrea, grows up in England and believed that she was an orphan with no family. What I liked so much about the book was her honesty. She described in detail how she felt about being adopted, then finding out that she had a family that wanted to meet her. The anxiety of meeting her real father, and the emotions she experienced, traveling to Eritrea to meet her him for the first time.

Hannah Pool describes the villages where most of her
...more
Dulcie Pavuluri
Feb 13, 2009 Dulcie Pavuluri rated it it was amazing
An amazing first-person account of a life not lived and another path to reliving it. It is one of the best memoirs I have read. In most part I think it is because she tells the story through her own eyes and not those of others or even herself in an awkward formation of description and detail. I can't tell you much about this story but I think that it applies to many of us in some form or other. She lives one life while thinking of another and has the chance to actually live it. While living it ...more
Nancy
The author was adopted by a white British couple, at the age of six months from an orphanage in Eritrea. During her early years she lives through a lot of displacement, but finally settles in with her adoptive father and stepmother in England. Her adoptive parents had been told she was an orphan, so when she receives a letter from a cousin announcing that her birth father is living, and that she has a number of siblings and half-siblings in Eritrea, and cousins around the world, her world is tur ...more
Senayet
Dec 20, 2012 Senayet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Fathers' Daughter by Hannah Pool was a well thought out memoir. She took us on a journey through her experience of adoption and retracing her roots. The true details of what it was like to be face to face with the family that gave her up nearly 30 years ago.

This book deserves 4 stars because I felt like I was in Hannah's shoes and a part of her journey back home. She shared what it was like to live in a household where no one looked like her in a very respectable manner. I enjoyed reading he
...more
Aryam Tewolde
Jun 19, 2015 Aryam Tewolde rated it it was amazing
It had been sometime since I could not put a book down , and was up the whole night. But this did it for me .
Loved how the writer pulled me in and seemed to involve me during the unfolding tale. She wrote about the tale like it was happening right then while I read through it. She just wasn't narrating it to me, I felt that I was actually experiencing it with her.The story it tells is so incredibly personal, the writing is so honest and the experiences it relates go right to the core of the aut
...more
Laura
Jun 11, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
I loved this story and Hannah's encounter with Eritrea and her family there really struck a chord with me. She 'often freaks out' at new awakenings and her coming to terms with expectations from other people really reminded me of my trip to Ethiopia. I know it's a different country but the food, the traditions and the people are very similar - after all historically they were one. People's surprise at her not remembering their names, the joys of being asked again and again why you do not speak t ...more
chucklesthescot
Apr 15, 2010 chucklesthescot rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone interested in African culture
Hannah was born in Eritrea, and adopted by a white family who settled in the UK. Out of the blue, a letter arrives from her real brother to explain that she still has a whole family in Eritrea who want to meet her. After 10 years of stalling, she decides to go and meet her family but is totally unprepared for the culture shock.
This was a decent book to read, seeing how other people are brought up and how different other cultures are. I did enjoy this but the author really bugged me. She seemed
...more
Dean Anderson
Sep 09, 2011 Dean Anderson rated it really liked it
"I was born a poor black child." That line always made me laugh when I heard Steve Martin say it on his LP "Let's Get Small". (I'll explain what an LP is later, kids, if you care.) He was such a WASPy guy (especially, for some odd reason, with his prematurely white hair.)
But I would think the line would some incongruous coming from the lips of Hannah Pool as well. Sure, she is black. But she is also British with the accompanying accent and she is a 30ish year old columnist for The Guardian. Her
...more
Jessica
Nov 13, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liralen
In Held at a Distance, the author talks a bit about the divide between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the very strong feelings some people have about the latter's identity and independence. This is one of those cases -- the author wants it known that she is Eritrean and has no connection to Ethiopia.

That the author is British by upbringing is also obvious in her writing -- it's funny how clearly voice can come through on a page -- but also allows her the distance to describe her impressions of Eritre
...more
Joan
My Father's Daughter is Pool's account of meeting her birth family in Eritrea at age thirty, after years of struggling with the possible ramifications for herself and the family that has loved her and raised her up to that point.

The book was informative- on that count I would give it a "4"- on the emotional issues surrounding adoptee searches, and it particularly struck home to me because I typically think about this from the birth parent standpoint due to my family history. The clarity of Pool'
...more
Lisa
Nov 01, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, adoption
I really enjoyed the book as the author did such a great job bringing alive her feelings about being adopted and about the opportunity to meet her birth family. As an adoptive mom, I really appreciate her honesty regarding her feelings. She also did a wonderful job making this story come alive, including her decision to meet her birth family, her time spent with them, and the impact the experience had on her after returning home.

I appreciate how she explored the guilt she felt, growing up with s
...more
Maureen
This was a fascinating subject common to many adopted children. However the author's constant dwelling on subjects that might be more suitable for a teenage girl rather than a 30 year old woman did not always make me like her very much. I could understand a lot of her more serious reservations and mixed emotions but the seeming lack of maturity was irritating and spoiled what could have been an excellent book for me.

Better editing needed!
Catriona Ferris
Jul 30, 2014 Catriona Ferris rated it it was amazing
I have just completed this book and loved it. It talks about a journey over a short space of time but using lots of anectodes about being having a "white name" and being brough up in the UK. It doesnt' give you all the answers you might expect from this type of book but that is it's charm. It leaves you with questions and that is the sign of a good book.
Cheryl
Jan 16, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Fathers' Daughter is a very moving memoir. At the age of 6 months, Hannah Pool was adopted from an orphanage in Eritrea by a British father and American mother. Hannah tells the story of the search for her birth family. Fascinating story because of all of the cultural, political, social information about Eritrea and the countries struggles with border skirmishes, poverty, government problems, etc. The book is not necessarily well-written, but the story is touching. It really made me want to g ...more
Winta
From reading this book, I learned why many adopted children decide to look for and contact their birth parents when they grow older as if it's a missing piece to their life puzzle. I find this similar to how many people seek to find meaning to their life, and how they fit in this world.
Hannah was adopted by a British family when she was a couple of months old. Visiting Eritrea and the way she describes the culture was very interesting. Being that I am Eritrean, speak the language fluently and fi
...more
Hyacinth
Jul 24, 2014 Hyacinth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adoption, bookclub
This book was so good and yet conflicting. As an adoptive parent, I have seen the looks of wonder and the quiet and sometimes emotionally charged mindset of being adopted and the question that no adoptive parent can completely and truthfully answer and that is 'why'. This book is Hannah's process. It is very reflective, personal, sensitive and enlightening. For the parents of adoptive children it can be both bitter and sweet. It is a joy to become a parent and yet for the child, it is that life ...more
Raneem
Jul 15, 2014 Raneem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
at the beginning i didnt like the book but i kept reading anyway...later on as she started meeting her family i could feel the change in her through the pages and i think being able to communicate this change through the events was just amazing.... and i couldnt stop myself from falling in love with her family
Catherine
Pool was adopted as an infant. Growing up, she was told that her mother and father were deceased. Well into adulthood she discovers that her father is alive and that she has a very large family in Eritrea. Her memoir focuses on the discovery of her birth family and her physical and emotional journey getting to know her country of birth and her African family.

There’s no denying her extreme angst and emotional upheaval. She picks and prods through every morsel of rumination with complete honesty.
...more
Roberta
Aug 31, 2012 Roberta rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I read a similar book a while ago and this is much better. It's well written, which I would expect of a journalist, and gives a very intimate account of the highs and lows of an adoptee. I particularly liked how she dealt with meeting and feeling the connection with people who look like her for the first time in her life. And I appreciated the honesty, when she relates how she gets annoyed or scared. There may be a bit too much of the emotional roller coaster. At times she is annoyingly dithery ...more
Mary Frances
Apr 14, 2009 Mary Frances rated it really liked it
I found this a compeeling and surprisingly touching memoir. It also made me very aware that a black child's life in England with a white family must be much more marginalizing than a similar expereince in the US. Even though mixed race families have problems here, I was really struck by the extreme sense of marginalization the author felt growing up in England as an adopted child. I was also struck by how difficult the author found her status as an adopted child. It's a thought provoking book.
Val
Sep 04, 2014 Val rated it liked it
Hannah Pool was born in Eritrea and adopted as a baby. The book is about her journey to the land of her birth to meet her family and find out about the life she might have led.
I think she is a little too starry-eyed about the traditional way of life, her adoption gave her many advantages she would not have had as a girl in that society. It is an interesting and at times moving story and I could understand her need to identify with the culture and traditions she felt she had lost.
Emily
Aug 21, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adoption, africa
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs. It is a wonderful blend of humor and poignancy. The author (a fashion editor for the London newspaper The Guardian) discovers after almost thirty years that her biological father is alive and that she has a large family in Eritrea.
Interesting companion to Held At a Distance, where another adult revisits the country of her birth (in this case Ethiopia) after fleeing with her family as a young child.
Nderaisho
Feb 13, 2013 Nderaisho rated it really liked it
Loved how the writer pulled me in and seemed to involve me during the unfolding tale. She wrote about the tale like it was happening right then while I read through it. She just wasn't narrating it to me, I felt that I was actually experiencing it with her. This is an emotional and moving story that's told so candidly. This is truly good a VERY GOOD read that I will be coming back to in a few years and would definitely recommend this.
Scooping it Up
Apr 08, 2010 Scooping it Up rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adoption-reads
A wonderful memoir about an adult adoptee and her journey to connect with her birth family and find her roots. Her perspective and storytelling are well worth the read, which I find especially helpful as an adoptive parent.

Her story makes me wish that ALL adoptees who wish to connect to their birth families can find them.

I highly recommend to anyone, but especially to anyone who is touched by adoption.
Thom Dunn
"The extraordinary story of a British journalist who sought out her African birth family [in Eritrea]...an honest, spellbinding account of a remarkable journey." --Kirkus

"Hannah Pool is a thoroughly engaging storyteller who offers us a different way of seeing... layered with subtleties. Althought passages bring tears to the eyes, the sentiment is never pity" -- London Times

Laurie Beardsley
Mar 06, 2011 Laurie Beardsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very engaging novel about a grown woman (and adoptee's) return to her birth country of Eritrea. Gave great history and information and emotion to a topic so much talked about these days. I found her to be very well spoken for a first novelist and really felt like I was visiting and seeing the country for myself. Would definitely recommend!
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