Friday, March 27, 2009
Twice Born by Betty Jean Lifton

This is my second book on adoption and it varies so much from the first one I read. As authors or writers or whatever, we often want to convey how events shaped our writing techniques or stories or lives as writers. What we too often forget is that the people reading those stories, even sometimes our fellow writers, don't really want to read about that process as much as they want to read the story. That's why they've gotten the book in the first place.
Betty Jean Lifton is doing an awful lot of that in this book. And while I don't mind it too much, I am finding it to be a little annoying because I want to read the story for what it is and less for how it would come to effect her as an author.
Currently, I am a little more than mid-way through the book and I am enjoying it. The story is a memoir about the author herself who was told she was adopted when she was seven.
"I was seven when I was told I was adopted. It was during the Depression years and my adoptive parents, having lost a comfortable way of life in Cincinnati, Ohio, were struggling to put it all together again in a one-bedroom apartment on Chicago's South Side. They who were used to the comforts of a large house, now slept on a bed that folded into the living room wall, while I, their only child, slept in the bedroom.
The shades of that room are drawn.
I have scarlet fever, a dread disease in those days before penicillin. There is a quarantine notice on the door of the apartment warning the public not to enter for three weeks. I lie there burning with fever, but I am a docile, uncomplaining child. I make no demands. Although I do not understand it then, this period is a kind of transition from the past and a preparation for the future. I will not rise from this bed the same person.

I have to admit I feel like I am gaining great insight into the ways that being adopted has influenced her life and the way she feels about herself as a person and how confusing it was as a child to know you are tied to something else but not know what that something else is. But at the same time, my situation will be different in that adoptions are open now and the little girl I get will know who her parents are, she will always have that information. It won't be like finding out when you are seven years old that your parents aren't your biological parents.
I need to start looking for books that are a little more like my situation I guess.

The thing I am enjoying the most about this book is that the author and her husband are frequently going to Japan. Japan is so important to her and she is constantly telling stories about the people there, their myths and legends and the way she feels like Japan is her mother. I look forward more to the stories about Japan than anything else.

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 5:18 AM
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