Barbara's Reviews > Mother Number Zero

Mother Number Zero by Marjolijn Hof
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Aug 02, 2011

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bookshelves: ncbla

"Why did she do it? Why was I left behind?" are questions that many adopted children eventually ask themselves--even when they are content with their new homes. In the case of Fay/Fejzo, he spends hours sketching birds and collecting postcards of artistic renderings of animals. Maud, a new neighbor, encourages him to find out the answers to questions about his biological mother whom he calls his Mother Number Zero. This curiosity affects the lives of all those around him, including his parents and sister Bing, who herself is adopted as well. The story is told gently as Fay goes for counselling, and a search for his mother begins. But sometimes the answers we think we want aren't the ones we want, and Fay must reconsider his choices and their effect on those he loves.

While I enjoyed this book because of the honesty of Fay and Bing, whose situations are quite different--his mother came to the Netherlands from Bosnia; Bing was born in China--their parents are too patient to be real, and there are some holes and slight references that left me somewhat disoriented. Although I knew a lot about Fay, I also felt as though there was much more that I didn't know, including his relationships with his friends. Still, this one raises important issues about family, parenting, and identity.
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