3 out of 4 stars
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When Kimi J. Baibre Jackson finds out that her dad isn't her biological father, it triggers a chain of events and revelations. The discovery of this deception gives rise to feelings of insecurity, and it's because she remembers how her supposed grandmother, Claudia, treated her with distaste and disregard. Because of this treatment, she develops feelings of low self-esteem, which makes her seek acceptance wherever she can. This quest for acceptance leads her into an early first marriage, several instances of betrayal, and many more mistakes. Finally, she begins to discover herself again while she keeps searching for the truth about her family tree. The details of her journey are delightful to read, but you'll have to pick it up yourself if you want to know more.
Descendant Deception is an autobiography about how family secrets can make or break an individual's life. Written in the first-person narrative, Jackson told her experience about how her mother fabricated a well-crafted deception about her paternal bloodline. It was intriguing because it was a story I could relate to as the same thing had happened on some fringe branches of my family tree. I wasn't surprised by the fact that Jackson's discovery of the deception caused her to spiral, lose sight of her self-worth, and make many wrong decisions. I was glad, though, that her journey of self-discovery saw her eventually start to dig her way out of the tunnel and back into the light.
I appreciated the author's use of flashbacks as she told her story. It seemed to me that certain aspects of her journey would have been difficult to understand without the method of reverse narration she employed in her writing. It helped me see more clearly the purity of her spirit and her yearning for closure, which I can relate to as well. Jackson's writing also expertly highlighted the themes in the book: betrayal, deception, self-discovery, and love, among others. Even though this is non-fiction, the author managed to maintain suspense throughout the book; I couldn't wait to get to the end to find out whether she found closure or not.
The only dent in my reading experience was the way the author sometimes used pronouns awkwardly. A good example was on Page 56 where Jackson was talking:
This statement came right after Jackson had written about her first husband. At this point, there had been no prior mention of her dad, so the statement was confusing; it made it seem like her first husband was her dad. I found this a little creepy and unsettling.I think had she treated me decently, because I never got any inklings from him that he wasn't my dad, it would've been so much harder for me to reconcile the fact this wasn't my family, that all these things were true.
I did find a few grammatical errors but nowhere near enough of them to deny the book's professional editing. I enjoyed how this book was relatable and got me thinking about my own family tree and the deception that could still be hidden in there. Barring a few pronoun hiccups, I also enjoyed the author's writing and how it evoked the right emotions at the right time. The flashbacks were the most significant selling point for me. Based on the above reasons, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. In the absence of the pronoun situation, this book would have deserved a full rating. I recommend it to people who love stories—fiction or non-fiction—filled with mystery and drama. If you love reality television shows, this book is right up your alley as well.
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