Official Review: Finding Joe Adams by Joe Field

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Laura Lee
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Official Review: Finding Joe Adams by Joe Field

Post by Laura Lee »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Finding Joe Adams" by Joe Field.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Finding Joe Adams by Joe Field is the story of one man’s odyssey to find the father he had never met.

Field was born in 1957 to a single mother. Over the next several years, five more children were born. These were the days of Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best when the man was the breadwinner and every mother, a stay-at-home mom. It was extremely difficult for a single woman with an incomplete education to support so many children. It was not a stable home environment, and Field and his siblings paid the price. There often was not enough to eat and the family had to move frequently. In this deprived environment, Field was left to raise himself as best he could.

At first, the lack of a father was his normal: he didn’t know anything different. But the older he got, the more he felt the loss as he struggled to cope with adulthood. His childhood certainly had not prepared him for it! Author Clyde Edgerton wrote: “Fathering is the act of guiding a child to behave in ways that lead to the child’s becoming a secure child in full, thus increasing his or her chances of being happy and fruitful as a young adult.” The loss of a father to guide Field is clearly seen as the struggles of childhood carried over into mistakes and lost opportunities in adulthood.

The thing I liked best about this book is that, despite all the hardship and neglect, Field is not bitter. He’s matter-of-fact: this was his life and these were the mistakes he made along the way. He owns his mistakes and never makes excuses for them. Furthermore, he does not blame his mother. Life was a struggle for her, too, and she did the best she could. I also liked how, once Field finally found his father and his father's other children, everyone was so warm, welcoming, and accepting. Despite the topic, it’s not a dark, depressing story. Field’s attitude throughout is positive and the ending is uplifting.

The book has clearly been carefully edited. There are some mistakes scattered throughout but these have more to do with punctuation than anything else so it is not difficult to understand what is being said. The book would appeal to anyone who enjoys stories celebrating an indomitable human spirit persisting against crippling difficulties. While Field does discuss the role his religious faith played in his life, it is not done in an evangelizing way that would be distasteful to those who do not share his beliefs.

There really wasn’t anything to dislike about this book. I would have enjoyed seeing his growing desire for a fatherly presence developed earlier in the story. However, this is a minor, stylistic difference that is simply a personal preference.

Finding Joe Adams is more than the tale of one man’s search for his father. It is the story of how one young boy clawed his way out of abject poverty and built a life for himself as a respected member of the community. Yes, there were plenty of missteps along the way as he lacked the guiding influence of a father. But, ultimately, it is the saga of triumph over adversity. I am happy to give this book 4 out of 4 stars.

******
Finding Joe Adams
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Laura Lee

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Post by readerrihana »

That book sounds so interesting, and you have described it well in the review. I think that there are quite a few people of that generation who have parents that they have never met, perhaps reading real accounts such as this will make them realize that they are not alone and perhaps give them some ideas

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Post by Laura Lee »

readerrihana wrote:
07 Feb 2020, 09:00
That book sounds so interesting, and you have described it well in the review. I think that there are quite a few people of that generation who have parents that they have never met, perhaps reading real accounts such as this will make them realize that they are not alone and perhaps give them some ideas
I'm sure you're right. I know one woman of that generation. By the time she finally tracked down her biological mother, she learned that her biological father had died some years before. He had been a priest.

Thanks for taking the time to read the review and for your response!
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Post by Nkoo »

This is inspiring. I'm impressed that in spite of the fact that his father was not there during his early childhood years, he was happy and grateful when he finally found him. Some people would have chosen to react resentfully. I enjoyed reading your review, thanks.

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Post by Laura Lee »

Nkoo wrote:
08 Feb 2020, 08:20
This is inspiring. I'm impressed that in spite of the fact that his father was not there during his early childhood years, he was happy and grateful when he finally found him. Some people would have chosen to react resentfully. I enjoyed reading your review, thanks.
Thanks for your comment, Nkoo! Yes, that really impressed me. He'd had such a hard life and it cannot be argued that the absence of a father contributed to that difficult life to at least some degree. But he wasn't bitter. The entire tone of the book was cheerful and positive. That really impressed me.
Laura Lee

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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes »

I didn't know single motherhood was already rampant in the 1950s. I have only thought that single mothers had an enigmatic existence then. Unlike today, well, you could say it is even in vogue. The movement for the equality of the sexes must have been very successful. And people seem to have a liberal perspective nowadays. Not so much stigma is attached to aberrant family situations as had been the case before. I have not read the book, but I only took the idea from your comprehensive review. Thanks.
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Post by NetMassimo »

Growing having only a single mother can be tough today, in the 1950s must have been hard. Regardless, the desire for a father figure is very subjective, so maybe the author developed it as long as it grew for the protagonist. Thank your for your review!
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Post by Laura Lee »

ReyvrexQuestor Reyes wrote:
09 Feb 2020, 07:43
I didn't know single motherhood was already rampant in the 1950s. I have only thought that single mothers had an enigmatic existence then. Unlike today, well, you could say it is even in vogue. The movement for the equality of the sexes must have been very successful. And people seem to have a liberal perspective nowadays. Not so much stigma is attached to aberrant family situations as had been the case before. I have not read the book, but I only took the idea from your comprehensive review. Thanks.
It is interesting, isn't it, to think of single, working mothers in the 50s/60s. Truth is, there have probably always been some, but it's still surprising because we don't think of it happening during that era. Thanks for your comment!
Laura Lee

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Laura Lee
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Post by Laura Lee »

NetMassimo wrote:
09 Feb 2020, 10:57
Growing having only a single mother can be tough today, in the 1950s must have been hard. Regardless, the desire for a father figure is very subjective, so maybe the author developed it as long as it grew for the protagonist. Thank your for your review!
Thanks for your comment, Massimo. Yes, I think the author's desire definitely grew over time. As a young kid, your normal is your, well, normal. You don't know anything different. But, as he grew and saw that others had what he didn't, he came to long for that connection with a father, too.
Laura Lee

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Post by Amy747 »

As a single mum with kids whose dad shows minimal effort and interest, I worry about them not having a stable father figure in their lives too.

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