4 out of 4 stars
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Marylee was given up for adoption at six weeks old. And later in life, when she grew up and became a mother, she also gave her first child up for adoption. Surrender brings to the fore the very salient, yet, largely unknown pains of searching mothers who were forced to give up their babies for adoption due to life circumstances.
This book was an inspiring read. As stated earlier, the author, Marylee MacDonald, detailed her experiences as both an adopted child and a mother who had to give up her son for adoption. Both mother and child carry long-term effects of the adoption, and I like that Marylee's story deals with this issue from both the child's and the mother's perspective. For Marylee, she had to endure the pain of not knowing where her son was or how life turned out for him.
I loved that the book also exposed how Marylee's experience threatened other aspects of her life. A good example was her angry standoff with her husband when he wanted them to move to Phoenix for his job. Her objection would have been seen as inconsiderate but for the fact that Phoenix held bitter memories for her. It was here that she had given away her child.
It's disturbing that some people adopt kids to score some cheap charity points. But these children are not charity cases or an opportunity to make oneself feel good. They are humans in need of genuine love, care, and attention. What I love most about Surrender is how it agrees with this sentiment. It warns such people against adopting a child as the consequences for both them and the child can be overwhelming. John's experience at the hands of his adoptive family helped drive home the potency of this warning.
While reading this book, I learned that infants could experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon separation from the mother. It also highlighted the "nature vs. nurture" discontinuities and complications after adoptees reunite with their blood families.
Although this is a work of nonfiction, I was thrilled that Marylee approached this book like she was writing a novel. This helped to make her story more intriguing and engaging for me. I often had to be reminded by the images in the book that I wasn't reading a novel. Speaking of the images, although not surprising with memoirs and autobiographies, I appreciated that Marylee inserted many pictures from her life into this book. Although her writing was spectacular, I felt like the images helped me see her and her circumstances in a way that the writing alone could not achieve.
Surrender was professionally edited, considering I could only identify one grammatical error in the entire book. There was absolutely nothing I disliked about this inspirational memoir. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because of its excellent grammar and seamless storytelling. I would recommend this book to parents, counselors, and adoptees that have come of age.
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