When another friend told me she read this book, she gave the very lukewarm comment that "It doesn't add anything new to the discussion" about adoption...moreWhen another friend told me she read this book, she gave the very lukewarm comment that "It doesn't add anything new to the discussion" about adoption. I couldn't agree more. I supposed I should have expected as much when the subtitle is "In Praise of Adoption".
There is nothing new about a book that seeks to reassure adoptive parents that their feelings are perfectly ok. And by the way! Never fear! There are many many adopted kids and adults who are happy and well adjusted! They love their adoptive parents, even if they have questions! But don't worry, some of them don't want to know anything about those pesky birth parents! Some of them MIGHT want to know, and sometimes it even works out OK! And even if the Chinese government switches your referred baby with some other baby, "It doesn't matter". (Really?? What happened to that other baby?)
Simon's discussion of race and transracial adoption is also so very predictable it is a cliche. Clearly race isn't going to matter much to these chinese kids because they eat Latkes! They embody the multiculturalism of America so all that other race stuff will likely roll right off their backs. And his kids have Chinese connections too. Even the people in the Chinese restaurant love them. Gah.
Don't get me wrong, this is a book by a Dad who really, really loves his kids. In fact, they SAVED him. They GAVE HIM the life he has. (No pressure there, girls.) Adoptive parents, we love our kids. But do we really need to be so self-congratulatory, sappy and shallow about it?
This was a nice little book, but there was no depth. Adoption is complicated. It is bittersweet. All that love doesn't erase those losses. I suppose I was wrong to hope a reporter would dig a little deeper.(less)
It was interesting to read two different versions of the same event. This book was not quite as engrossing as Laura Ling's book, but it was interestin...moreIt was interesting to read two different versions of the same event. This book was not quite as engrossing as Laura Ling's book, but it was interesting in a different way because Euna Lee speaks Korean and knew more of what was going on. This book also had a bit of a Christian slant. (less)
This book started out a little slow, but after I got about a quarter of the way through, I couldn't put it down. It wasn't quite as compelling as Thre...moreThis book started out a little slow, but after I got about a quarter of the way through, I couldn't put it down. It wasn't quite as compelling as Three Cups of Tea, but it was a similarly fascinating story of a part of the world few of us will ever see. Farid and Conor are doing very important work. I am glad to have read this book and would recommend it to others.(less)
I was quite disappointed in this book. It was not very well-written and quite formulaic. For example: Writes the end of the story, then goes back to t...moreI was quite disappointed in this book. It was not very well-written and quite formulaic. For example: Writes the end of the story, then goes back to the beginning and tells the rest. This happens over and over and over. It is not a well-constructed book. It bounces around and leaves as many questions unanswered and the chronology is very muddled.
I did not find the narrator to be likable at all. I kept thinking back to the section where she talks about being known as "Crazy Deb". She DOES sound crazy. I did some work for an NGO in a developing country and ran into people like this often; people who were too crazy and dysfunctional to function in America so they move to some third world country where they can get paid just for being an American. I thought this woman sounded more than a little mentally ill or completely unstable.
The author's attitude toward the people of Afghanistan swings back and forth between affectionate and distainful or condescending. I couldn't figure out her agenda, did she want us to feel sorry for these women or to think they were to blame for their own fate?
I could go on, but I don't even want to waste my time criticizing this book. Big thumbs down. If you want a much more insightful look at Afghanistan during this time period, you should check out Come Back to Afghanistan by Hyder Akbar.
When I was younger, I also lost someone very close to me. As I was reading this book, I found myself remembering those early days of grief and darknes...moreWhen I was younger, I also lost someone very close to me. As I was reading this book, I found myself remembering those early days of grief and darkness. I cried as I read Ms. Taylor's descriptions because they hit so close to home. Grieving is so personal and so lonely, knowing my experience wasn't unique was a bit of a surprise.
I thought this book was well-written. It was an emotionally-challenging read, but I am glad to have experienced it.(less)