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The Mistress's Daughter: A Memoir by A. M.…

The Mistress's Daughter: A Memoir

by A. M. Homes

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6673822,851 (3.45)55
An acclaimed novelist's memoir about what it means to be adopted and how all of us construct our sense of self and family. Before A.M. Homes was born, she was put up for adoption. Her birth mother was a 22-year-old single woman having an affair with a much older married man. Thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes, renowned for the psychological accuracy and intensity of her storytelling, tells how they made contact with her, what happened next, and what she was able to reconstruct about the story of their lives. Her birth mother, a complex and lonely woman, never married or had another child, and died in 1998. Years later, Homes opened boxes of her mother's memorabilia, hoping to know her secrets, but no relief came. She then became obsessed with finding out as much as she could about all four parents and their families.--From publisher description.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
I love A.M. Homes' novels and short stories... but this memoir is wildly different. It's almost like a completely different person wrote it. The whole thing is drenched in self-pity and I found her obsession with genealogy to be more than a bit weird. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Very interesting memoir. When she is 31, A.M. Homes meets her birth mother, Ellen, and her biological father, Norman. Ellen is the one who initiates contact. Both bio-parents appear selfish and evasive. A.M. struggles to understand more about where she came from, and how her two sets of parents make her who she is. I enjoyed hearing about A.M.'s reactions, the imagined conversations she couldn't have in reality, and felt for her search for identity. The genealogical research she undertakes to find both adoptive and biological relatives made the book a bit boring...I couldn't keep track of who was who, nor did I really care. ( )
  LynnB | Jun 19, 2016 |
Review: The Mistress’s Daughter by A. M. Homes.

This is a memoir of pain and self-discovery, outlined in harsh abnormal detail. Holms writes with extraordinary depth, courage and grace that will knock you down and pick you back up again. The book is interesting from the beginning pages to the end and I admire her abrupt honesty.

The basic story of her adoption is what captures the reader’s attention, but it is her powerful story telling that keeps the story intriguing. Homes knew she was adopted but didn’t meet her biological parents until she turned thirty-one. At this time she writes that it was the most ethereal and biological emotional experience of her life. She writes her emotions and thoughts in a sparse haunting language, which felt like she wasn’t really interested in her biological parents but she really was curious.

Her biological mother was the first to contact her but Homes felt frightened and unsure if this person was in her right mind. Then she meets her biological father who she is also unsure about his behavior. He only met her in strange places and kept her at arms length giving her the impression he didn’t want to claim her as his daughter. He had never married her biological mother and he had a whole family of his own that he completely kept invisible to her with many excuses to keep her isolated from them.

Holmes struggled with her identity, as well as her attempts to connect with her birth parents and finally a genealogical identity search to place her somewhere between her two mothers and two fathers. Homes writes about the issue of being adopted as being complex and with uncertainty of how she became living a fractured life. Like she said, special and shattering, leaving you asking yourself…. “adopted or not, who am I?”
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
I so enjoyed this audiobook. The author is adopted and has been a part of the only family she has known for 31 years when her mother tells her that her birth mother has reached out through an attorney and wants to meet her. The book is her account of the events that occur.

I see some reviews that accuse the author of being whiny and feeling sorry for herself. I adamantly disagree with that assessment. I can't possibly imagine how mind blowing that kind of news would be, that after all this time, a birth mother is no longer a concept but something real. Homes is both fascinated by the possibility of real roots but reluctant to leave the comfortable shell of her life. The listener feels her struggle. I have strong feelings about the birth parents and Homes talks about them both honestly and without any illusions. I was sorry when the book ended.

The narration by Jane Adams is astoundingly good. I must seek out more by this young lady. She does an excellent job and makes a really good book that much better.

Recommended. ( )
  enemyanniemae | May 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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There are two ways to live your life--one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.
                     Albert Einstein
In memory of Jewel Rosenberg and in honor of Juliet Spencer Homes
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I remember their insistence that I come into the living room and sit down and how the dark room seemed suddenly threatening, how I stood in the kitchen doorway holding a jelly doughnut and how I never eat jelly doughnuts.
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