Holly's Reviews > No Biking in the House Without a Helmet

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene
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Feb 07, 2012

it was amazing
Read from February 07 to 08, 2012

I loved this book for the joy it gave me. It wasn't the first time I picked it up. I had read bits of it in magazines, and started it at least once without finishing. I think the difference was that this time I got as far as the Ethiopian adoptions and then I was truly captivated. Living in Ethiopia for 4 1/2 years, our family met and hosted several American and Canadian families who had come to adopt. I always had mixed feelings about it, worrying about the suffering of the families who gave up their children for adoption and worrying about the children's adjustment to American life and integration into their new families, and feeling sadness that the adoptions, while opening up opportunities, also meant probably leaving Ethiopian culture and heritage behind. Greene's story is almost like a best case scenario happy ending to the loose ends of these half-witnessed adoption experiences. In the Samuel family, the children, though they become Jewish Americans through adoption, retained a sense of their heritage and kinship thanks to ongoing ties to their remaining biological family members (which mom Melissa pursued, nurtured and supported), a family return-visit, an Ethiopian babysitter, and connections to the local Ethiopian community in their new hometown of Atlanta. And the story of how they all become a family is inspirational and heartwarming. I still see international adoption as a complicated issue, but I celebrate the Samuels and the beautiful family they have created together.
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Reading Progress

02/07/2012 "I am loving this book. It's vivid descriptions of adoptive family life and Ethiopian cultural interactions makes me laugh out loud and cry in awkward locations (on the bus, at the breakfast table)."
02/07/2012 page 284
89.0% "The kum ba ya couldn't last forever, but I have a feeling it's coming back."

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