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Mistress'S Daughter: A Memoir
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About the Author

A.M. Homes is the author of several books of fiction. She has been awarded a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Reviews

Adopted at birth, the distinguished novelist explains what happened when her birth parents came looking for her 30 years later. With an eight-city tour; online reading guide. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

'A compelling, devastating, and furiously good book written with an honesty that few of us would risk' Zadie Smith 'Veracious words on the complexity and ambiguity of the fractured life of an adopted child. Celebratory and shattering, it will leave you asking yourself, adopted or not, who AM I?' Jamie Lee Curtis

Novelist Homes's searing 2004 New Yorker essay about meeting her biological parents 31 years after they gave her up for adoption forms the first half of this much-anticipated memoir, but the rest of the book doesn't match its visceral power. The first part, distilled by more than a decade's reflection and written with haunting precision, recounts Homes's unfulfilling reunions with both parents in 1993 after her birth mother, Ellen Ballman, contacted her. Homes (This Book Will Change Your Life,) learns that Ballman became pregnant at age 22, after being seduced by Norman Hecht, the married owner of the shop where Ballman worked. But Ballman's emotional neediness and the more upwardly mobile Hecht's unwillingness to fully acknowledge Homes as a family member shakes Homes's deepest sense of self. The rest of the memoir is a more undigested account of how Ballman's death pushed Homes to research her genealogy. Hecht's refusal to help Homes apply to the Daughters of the American Revolution based on their shared lineage elicits her "nuclear-hot" rage, which devolves into a list of accusing questions she would ask him about his life choices in a mock L.A. Law episode. The final chapter is a loving but tacked-on tribute to Homes's adoptive grandmother that may leave readers wishing the author had given herself more time to fully integrate her adoptive and biological selves. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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