The Mistress's Daughter
A few days ago I finished reading "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good" and was looking for a short read before I was scheduled to receive a book order from Ebay. I went to my bookshelf -- the one that is completely organized with a good number of unread books and I searched for something that looked like a quick yet interesting read.
My eyes fell on "The Mistress's Daughter" by A.M. Homes. It is not a long book and I figured that I could knock it out pretty quickly which I did. I figured it was a novel about, well, a mistress's daughter. I was wrong. At the first page I realized that I was reading an autobiography. A really sad autobiography. I will admit it was pretty depressing in the beginning and then we hear about Ms. Homes learning that her biological mother was looking for her. We are introduced to the biological mother only to realize that she isn't a stable person. We meet the father and learn that he isn't a great guy and never was. During all of this we don't hear a whole lot about the adoptive parents -- it is a story of her struggle to deal with her past. As the book progresses, however, and Ms. Homes learns more and more of her heritage we learn of her desire to join the DAR and her struggled with that. As I read along the book that started out a personal and painful journey turned into a genealogical study which fascinated me. Toward the end we learn about her adoptive family and the grandmother that Ms. Homes adores -- and the table. The table is fascinating.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was different than I imagined, it was sad, it was emotional but, in the end, it was joyful. For a quick read to sandwich between more important books, it was a great choice but it was too good to be a "sandwich" so if you want to read it, give it the time it deserves. As I looked at the picture of that beautiful child on the cover I felt that I had even let her down, sandwiching her story between other stories and that was not right. It is well worth reading and it deserves the time and attention of any other work that might be in your queue.
I definitely recommend to anybody who does genealogy, anybody adopted who doesn't know their whole story or anybody who is just interested in a completely different, compelling read.