Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lucky Girl -- a book response

I'll admit I've been taking a break from adoption books and letting myself read fiction again, nothing worth sharing.  However, I did recently finish "Lucky Girl - memoir" by Mei-Ling Hopgood.  Mei-Ling was adopted as an infant from Taiwan into the United States by a couple near Chicago.  The book tells of her relatively easy search for her birth family and her communications and visits to reunite with them.

In some ways, I enjoyed the book very much.  She was trained as a journalist so most of the story is relayed as it happens without much emotional editorial.  It is nice to see the perspective of an adult adoptee from Asia.  Her first interactions with her family and subsequent visits are portrayed very clearly making you feel like you are amongst the chaos and enthusiasm yourself.  As you discover more about the family dynamics and the whys of the adoption (including the fact that another daughter has been adopted out), you feel drawn into the mystery and drama.

In other ways, I found it disappointing.  She mentions her emotions occasionally, and I respect her desire to not put it all out there, but it feels a little simplistic.  Everyone, including the author, seems two dimensional, not a whole person.  The story almost feels like fiction it fits into a mold so neatly.  Adoption is good, finding birth families is not necessary, and if you accidentally do, you are sure to find it messy.  Ultimately birth parents are actually evil or stupid and weak like society believes.  Adoptive parents are the real parents.  She didn't say that in so many words, but I'm not sure how else to interpret her facts as they are presented.

Now her reality and story is her story even if it does read like a cautionary tale as to why to not reunite with birth parents (she actually has several birth siblings that "rose above" her parents backwards culture and make okay connections).  There are very few voices representing the adult Chinese adoptee, so it is great to have her book.  Her voice is important.  I only wish the raw emotion of her heart (that must exist) could be heard more clearly in her voice.

(By the way, I finally figured out what code I need for my review tab to just pull up the most recent reviews instead of me creating a list.  It has been bugging me for months, so I am very excited to have figured it out.)

1 comment:

Merrill said...

I adopted my daughter from a Latin American country and so far, I've only found one book about the whole process and then meeting the birthmother. It is written by the adoptive mom. I think we will see more of that coming about as the current generation grows up to tell their stories.