A Father's Voice

August 23, 2007

It has always been striking to me that most of the authors writing about adoption (both from professional or personal perspectives) are women. I just finished reading one of the most moving and candid books on adoption and it was written by a father. In "China Ghosts: My Daughter's Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood", journalist Jeff Gammage goes beyond the typical adoption tale and invites the reader to peer into the emotional experience of what it means to become a father, a father to daughters with their own histories and ties to a country that is not his own, a father who entered into adoption somewhat reluctantly but all of that changes when he sees the referral photo of his daughter thousands of miles away. "China Ghosts" reminded me of Neely Tucker's adoption story "Love in the Driest Season" (also a journalist, also a father), but Gammage's story and his voice resonated even more strongly with me. Beautifully written with emotion, honesty and with such a clear voice I couldn't help getting sucked into his heartfelt narrative. Having read so many adoption books and depressing Chinese tales in the past few months, I have to admit that I reluctantly pulled this book off the shelf at the library....I am very glad I did. I'll end with Gammage's description of parenting to give you a taste (and then go out and read the book for yourself):
"I thought that raising a child would be like taking an ocean journey, sailing from Port A to Port B aboard the sturdy ship of my knowledge and understanding. It's not like that. It's more like trying to body-surf on a giant wave. At moments you're safely tucked in the curl, feeling the speed, the force of the water propelling you toward shore. You think you have mastered the art. Then, without warning, the wave pulls you under, drags you across the broken shell bed of the shallows, and throws you to the surface, where you gulp air" (p.186)


Amy, Ryan, Aidan & Lauren said...

I read this, too, Lucia. I also liked the story but thought some of the pacing (I think that's the right word) was a bit too dramatic--he seemed to like to end chapters/sections on cliffhangers a lot. But I did enjoy the book and also enjoyed reading a story from a father's perspective.

Lucia, Adam, Noah and Camille said...

Amy,
That's funny because that was one aspect of his writing style that I enjoyed...added a little more interst. What else have you been reading lately?

Amy, Ryan, Aidan & Lauren said...

I wish I had more time to read. I recently read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver and "Plenty" by Alisa Smith and J.B. McKinnon--both books about eating locally. I really enjoyed both of them. Any other favorites you've read lately that you'd recommend?

Lucia, Adam, Noah and Camille said...

I also read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" this summer and loved it. Thanks for the suggestion of "Plenty". I'll have to check that out soon. I just started an interesting novel set in Kyoto "The Teahouse Fire" by Ellis Avery. So far it is good.

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