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The Mistress's Daughter (Anglais) Broché – 25 mars 2008

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"A compelling, devastating, and furiously good book written with an honesty few of us would risk."
-Zadie Smith

"Fierce and eloquent."
-The New York Times Book Review

"As startling and riveting as her fiction . . . a lacerating memoir in which the formerly powerless child triumphs with the help of a mighty pen."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"Rich in humanity and humor . . . Homes combines an unfussy candor with a deliciously droll, quirky wit. . . . Her energy and urgency become infectious."
-USA Today

"I fell in love with it from the first page and read compulsively to the end."
-Amy Tan

"As a memoirist, A. M. Homes takes a characteristically fierce and fearless approach. And she has a whopper of a personal story to tell."
-Chicago Tribune

Présentation de l'éditeur

The acclaimed writer A. M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born. Her biological mother was a twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with a family of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the ruthlessly honest account of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes relates how they initially made contact and what happened afterwards, and digs through the family history of both sets of her parents in a twenty-first-century electronic search for self. Daring, heartbreaking, and startlingly funny, Homes's memoir is a brave and profoundly moving consideration of identity and family.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 256 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin Books; Édition : Reprint (25 mars 2008)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0143113313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143113317
  • Dimensions du produit: 13 x 1,2 x 19,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 145.409 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles

Format: Broché Achat vérifié
L'auteur narre dans cet ouvrage les étapes-clé de son développement à travers son expérience d'enfant adoptée. Les liens tissés avec la famille d'adoption, les relations avec les parents biologiques sont analysés avec claivoyance, donnant au récit un aspect poignant qui ne peut laisser indifférent.
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
An adoptive mother, this book helped me understand how complex family relationships can be for an adopted child, well into adulthood. It was also an eye opener on what it means to know where one is coming from and how disturbing it can be to miss your family history.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 85 commentaires
54 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Brutally honest and touching 28 avril 2007
Par bookarts - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
While I think it is possible for anyone to appreciate the beautiful writing and the touching story of The Mistress's Daughter, it surely carries special meaning for adoptees. I am quite sure that I am not the only adoptee who nodded her head throughout the book as Homes articulated so many of the thoughts I have had about myself and my family through the years. Another reviewer complained that Homes was only speculating about her birth parent's lives in the second half of the book, yet that was exactly the point. After years with thousands of questions and no answers, adoptees who have met their birth parents are usually met with the disappointing realization that they will never have all the answers. The speculation never ends. Homes' book was note-perfect in capturing that and so many other aspects of the adoption experience. I usually give away my books after I read them, but I will be reading this one again.

I feel compelled to address one other issue. As an adoptee, I found one reviewer's headline, "A Case For Abortion", to be incredibly offensive. I am pro-choice, but telling an adoptee they should have been aborted simply because you don't like what they wrote is disgusting. I too question the motives of some of the negative reviewers, some of whom clearly did not read the book.
49 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Recommended 10 avril 2007
Par Nancy J. Mumford - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Interesting that the two negative reviews posted so far come from people in Washington - wonder who they are and how they are connected to the story??

I read this book in about 3 hours in one sitting and was absolutely fascinated. Rather than being a typical story of an adopted child who rediscovers her wonderful birth parents, A.M. Homes is truthful about her fears and the emotional rollercoaster this information sends her on. Her relationships with her newly discovered biological parents are unsatisfying for various reasons and she struggles with her feelings and definition of what a family is. I thought the book offered a very interesting perspective and was well done. Recommended!
32 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
If you love her fiction--you'll be further impressed 6 avril 2007
Par subway reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I couldn't put down---I've been reading Homes work for many years--going back to her first novel Jack--and on through the terrifying End of Alice--the smart stories in Things You Should Know and last year's inspiring, This Book Will Save Your Life. Now Homes is letting us into her life--giving her readers the back story on who she is. And it's a real case of truth being stranger than fiction. I admire her for letting us in, for sharing the incredible sadness of finding out who her biological parents were--both of them seem soo incredibly self involved, narcisistic--in the end it's a good thing that Homes' was adopted by a family who seemed to truly "get" her and to support her artistic endeavors. This is a heartbreaking and wonderful read--and really informative for those of us who don't know the world of adoption--of searching and reunion with lost family. I really enjoyed the second half of the book--which takes the reader on a kind of wild ride though the land of internet geneology and search for self.
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Reality of Adoption 11 avril 2007
Par Lynn V. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I was eagerly awaiting the release of this book. I just finished it and as an adoptee, I think A.M. Homes got the tone just right. She honestly deals with the feelings that are prevalent in many adoptees. Hers was an interesting story without the happy ending, but she seems to come away stronger for it and realize she is a composite of nature and nurture, not just a biological product of one set of parents. I agree that the second half is a little scattered and not as concise as in the brilliant first half, previously published in the New Yorker. As for those reviewers who criticized her "imaginings," that is pretty much all most adoptees have. There is little reality to their existence, just what they have been told. Recommended for adoptees, anyone who is struggling with identity issues or those who just appreciate an interesting story.
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Turns on its head the conventional account of an adopted child 29 mai 2007
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
A Google search of the term "genealogy" yields more than 47 million hits. With the growth of the Internet, it is indisputable that the impulse to trace one's ancestors has become a source of passionate engagement for many. Paralleling that phenomenon is the explosive popularity of the memoir genre. These trends converge with considerable power in A.M. Homes's frank and moving new memoir, THE MISTRESS'S DAUGHTER.

Recognized as a keen-eyed observer of contemporary society in her fiction (THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS, THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE), Homes shifts her vision inward with equal acuity in this work. During a visit to her adoptive parents in Washington, D.C. at Christmas 1992, she learns --- through the family lawyer who had arranged her private adoption in 1961 --- that her mother, Ellen Ballman, who gave birth to her at the age of 22, wants to make contact. Homes's birth was the culmination of a relationship Ellen had had with a married employer almost 20 years her senior.

At first, Homes's engagement with her mother is unsettling, as Ellen lurks around the fringes of the author's appearance at a Washington bookstore and peppers her with phone calls and letters. Their first real meeting, at New York's Plaza Hotel, is poignant, if awkward. After devouring a lobster dinner, Ellen seeks her daughter's forgiveness for giving her up. Homes readily grants it in that encounter, but tensions between them soon emerge. Ellen persists in reaching out to a child who is unwilling to reciprocate the feelings of a woman she considers strange and difficult.

Concealing the seriousness of her medical condition from her daughter, Ellen dies of kidney failure in 1998, and Homes waits until 2005 to open the four boxes of papers and personal effects she removes from her mother's house after her death. When she does, she discovers a bizarre assortment of materials that reveal a life combining incidents of petty crime with the struggle of a single woman simply to survive after her lover's devastating rejection and the loss of her child.

As needy as Ellen is, Homes paints an even more problematic picture of her father, Norman Hecht. He's a respected businessman and father of four, but, as portrayed by Homes, he's little more than a handsome, self-absorbed lout. Most of their encounters take place in hotel lobbies at his request, as if their own relationship has an illicit aspect to it. Shortly after their first meeting, Norman insists that they undergo DNA testing that reveals the near certainty of his paternity. Later, when Homes almost sheepishly applies for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, made possible by the English ancestry she traces to the mid-16th century through her paternal grandmother, Norman does everything possible to deny that he's her father.

Homes's prose is spare and uninflected, occasionally bringing to mind the work of Joan Didion ("To be adopted is to be adapted, to be amputated and sewn back together again. Whether or not you regain full function, there will always be scar tissue."). Repeatedly, she returns to this theme of brokenness or the absence of wholeness that has plagued her as a child of adoption. There is considerable emotion in the story's telling, but for the most part it bubbles below the surface of the narrative. The memoir's seriousness is leavened with occasional humor, most notably in Homes's account of Norman's difficulty finding an acceptable payment method for the DNA test.

Homes devotes her final chapter to a loving tribute to her adoptive mother's mother, a vibrant woman who died "unexpectedly" at the age of 99. She writes movingly of her grandmother's inspiration that resulted in Homes giving birth to a daughter at the age of 41, after two years of considerable effort. Somehow it seems fitting that this unusual family saga will continue at least into one more generation.

What gives this memoir its originality and emotional force is that it turns on its head the conventional account of an adopted child on a quest to find her birth parents and instead offers the story of an adult involuntarily introduced to them when they re-enter her life. Despite her initial lack of inclination to discover her roots, Homes finds the journey she's launched on by her birth parents' unexpected appearance a transformative and ultimately rewarding one. In the end, she offers a fitting benediction to this flawed and all-too-human pair: "Did I choose to be found? No. Do I regret it? No. I couldn't not know."

--- Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg
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