Tuesday, January 12, 2016
What Was Mine: A Novel by Helen Klein Ross Review
In WHAT WAS MINE Ross reveals how a distraught and damaged woman convinces herself that her actions are acceptable one misguided and selfish decision at a time. Lucy knows that what she is doing is wrong but manages to justify and accept her actions so easily that it's disturbing. The story takes place in the 1980's which allows for many of the discrepancies that Lucy covers up to occur much easier than it would today. WHAT WAS MINE is a page turner that allows the reader to get the points of view of not only Lucy but the other affected characters as well. Marilyn, the distraught mother's experience is told from her point of view and eventually Mia's perspective is shown as well. Although WHAT WAS MINE is a good read it did end abruptly which leaves the reader wanting a few more answers than what is given.
WHAT WAS MINE takes a look at what propels a seemingly normal and sane woman to kidnap a child from the aisle of an IKEA and consider her actions as justifiable. After suffering through her own infertility and a destroyed marriage, Lucy allows warped and delusional reasoning to justify her taking an inexcusable action. Ross shows the trauma and suffering that Lucy's actions not only cause the distraught parents but the impact that they have on Lucy, her family, and eventually Mia. In the end it's Mia who has to make decisions of forgiveness, acceptance, and what it means to have lived a life that turned out to have been a lie.
**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**
Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore—and gets away with it for twenty-one years.
Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.
When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.
Author Helen Klein Ross, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia’s birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What Was Mine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and the life-shattering effects of a single, irrevocable moment.