25 Women to Read Before You Die
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Lists | September 2, 2015

    Joy Williams: IMG Eight Essential Attributes of the Short Story and One Way It Differs from the Novel



    1) There should be a clean clear surface with much disturbance below. 2) An anagogical level. 3) Sentences that can stand strikingly alone. 4) An... Continue »
    1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.50
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside LG- LARGE PRINT319Endcap, 321EndCap,

Theory of Relativity (Large Print)

by

Theory of Relativity (Large Print) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What Makes a Family Strong "When I wrote my new novel about
adoption and child custody, I had no idea
how closely life would imitate art.

by Jaquelyn Mitchard

In old movie Westerns, and even on some hippie communes, people sometimes got married using an ancient ritual. As described by my 11-year-old son, Marty, it is "gross and disgusting." But I think it's kind of nice, and I'd have done it at my own wedding if it wouldn't have sent my mother-in-law screaming for a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

The ritual consists of people making a tiny cut in each of their palms and then pressing their hands together — becoming, symbolically, of one blood.

Seventeen years ago, when my oldest son, Rob, adopted at birth, was a little towhead, he cut his finger on a piece of broken glass. As all mothers do, I lifted his tiny finger to my mouth, to kiss it and make it better. But as I did, it crossed my mind: Now we are of one blood; his molecules will forever be part of my molecules. I was allowing myself the symbolic expression of what I already knew, that Rob was my true son.

Perhaps because I have six children — a stepdaughter so long a part of my life she has become mine, four who were adopted and one to whom I gave birth — many of the novels I have written have examined, in part, what family really means, what destroys and strengthens it. In fact, I contend that all novels are about family, because the individual harbors from which we were launched have made us the people we are.

But only my latest book takes that topic as its heart.

A few years ago, I was writing a ghost story based on a century-old case involving the mysterious death of a schoolteacher. At thesame time, I read in my local newspaper of a custody battle in a nearby city that the press had dubbed the "blood relative" case. It had all the excruciating elements of Greek tragedy: A young couple, Susie Albrecht and Steve Mole, had died within months of each other, leaving behind their baby girl, Abigail. The godparents, one of whom was a cousin of Steve's, wanted to adopt Abigail, as did Susie's only sibling, Scott Albrecht, and his wife.

Close family members are usually the courts' first choice when it comes to adopting the children of deceased relatives. Yet stunningly, the judge refused to hear the Albrechts' petition. According to the law as then written, Scott did not meet the test of a "blood relative" because he, like his sister, had been adopted as an infant.

I wrote about that case as a columnist for my newspaper syndicate, and for this magazine. I wrote about good people on opposing sides of an intractable issue, all with valid points, all acting out of love. But I couldn't, as Ernest Hemingway said, get shut of the agony of the Albrechts and the Moles simply through commentary. When I should have been writing my perfectly nice, elegant ghost story, I found myself instead chewing on pencils over the anguish of these two families.

I could not grasp how a judge, a presumably intelligent person of conscience, could make a judgment so counter to the sense and intention of adoption. To answer that question — since all stories begin with a question — I gave up writing about my lonesome ghost and began to create a fictional judge and two families faced with the same impossible choices. Each clan clung to a reasonable definition of family, but each of thosedefinitions was different. So I called the novel "A Theory of Relativity.

Not long after I began writing, my husband, Chris, and I, newly married, were surprised to learn that I was pregnant. We had never imagined such a possibility because of my age and previous inability to conceive; nonetheless, we were terribly excited, and equally crushed when, after only eight weeks, I miscarried. Around the same time, we got a call from our good friend Elizabeth, the director of the agency in Texas that had helped me adopt my daughter Francie. She knew of a newborn girl, with eyelashes that weighed almost as much as she did, whose planned placement with an adoptive family had fallen through. Elizabeth had a hunch we might be interested. We were.

Coupled with our recent private grief, the birth seemed to carry a message, a tingly sense of something foretold: Our baby had been born in Texas exactly nine months — nearly to the hour — after our wedding. This seemed a source of secret delight, as if the baby soul we sincerely mourned was determined to make its way to us.

We named our baby Maria, after my mother, but decided to call her Mia — in Spanish, "my own." She made her family debut on the very night of the benefit premiere in Wisconsin of the film based on my first novel, "The Deep End of the Ocean. Chris and I felt as though we were dancing under a lucky star.

But after a few months, we received terrifying news. Though Mia's birth father had been aware that his brief encounter with the birth mother had resulted in a baby, he had been facing a jail term on a minor charge at the time Mia was born, and the relationship with Mia's birth mother had ended. Now, halfway through thesix-month waiting period to finalize our adoption, he had decided to fight for custody. With ferocious vividness, we began to live my newborn novel.

Lawyers were retained, and my husband and I were evaluated by psychologists who would determine whether interrupting the life we had established with our 3-month-old darling would have an adverse affect not only on her, but also on the rest of our children. With the death of their father — my first husband — the children had already endured an extraordinary amount of loss and change in their short lives. One undeniable fact for a child who has been adopted is the buried fear that what can be given can also be taken away. If Mia could be removed from our family, might someone else come for them?

Francie, then 4, began to have nightmares. Though we tried to keep the worst of our anxieties from her, she sensed the tension in the air. "I hate the judge," she said one day. "Judges take babies away." As carefully as we tried to reassure her, we could not promise Mia would stay with us forever.

My husband and I began taking the very tests and submitting to the exact interviews that the characters in my novel resented but tolerated. And we were living through the same miserable doubts: Why did we have to prove we were fit and committed enough to keep the baby who had been ours since Chris and I first looked into her eyes?

We also had to examine and re-examine our own theories of relativity. There are some who believe that adoptive parents are selfless people who "choose" an "unwanted" child. But, in reality, our choice is the same as any parent's: a selfish wish to have a little bundle who loves you, for which you pay withselfless love until your very last moment on this earth.

People think you love adopted children "just as if" the children were your own. Outsiders often don't understand that, from the moment your children step into your life, their heredities are braided into yours forever. I'm Canadian, Slovak and Native American, for example, but I will have Sicilian, Hispanic, German and Irish grandchildren. And so I grow impatient (my husband would use a stronger word, perhaps "psycho") when folks ask, "Which ones are yours?" The answer is obvious: They all are; we make no distinctions.

The worst of those months of turmoil was tied to that essential truth. We had no rancor toward Mia's birth father. He was just acting out of his own understanding of love and kinship, like the people

Synopsis:

“[An] astonishing pleasure.”

—Seattle Times

 

“A graceful, moving, and compelling novel. Jacquelyn Mitchard at her finest.”

—Scott Turow, author of Innocent

 A poignant and unforgettable novel from Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the monumental New York Times bestsellers The Deep End of the Ocean and The Most Wanted, A Theory of Relativity is a powerful tale that explores the emotional dynamics and dramas of two families fighting for custody of a young child. The very first author selected by the Oprah Book Club, Mitchard is a matchless, wise, and warm chronicler of families and their human foibles—and A Theory of Relativity is contemporary womens fiction at its best, a must-read for fans of Sue Miller, Jane Hamilton, and Elizabeth Berg.

Synopsis:

Jacquelyn Mitchard's first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, launched the Oprah's Book Club and riveted millions of readers across the country. Now comes A Theory of Relativity, Mitchard's most compelling and beautifully written novel yet.

At twenty-four, Gordon McKenna thinks he's already heard the worst news of his life when he learns that his sister Georgia is fatally ill. Then Georgia and her husband die in a car accident, leaving behind their baby daughter, Keefer. Gordon and his parents are able to survive their sorrow only by devoting themselves to the care of the beloved one-year-old.

But the decision of who will raise Keefer is far from over, and soon Gordon's most basic assumptions about his family will be challenged in ways so provocative that he will be driven to disbelief and then to outrage. The ordeal will test the bonds of this closely knit family, challenging even love's ultimate capacity to heal.

Synopsis:

Jacquelyn Mitchard's first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, launched the Oprah's Book Club and riveted millions of readers across the country. Now comes A Theory of Relativity, Mitchard's most compelling and beautifully written novel yet.

At twenty-four, Gordon McKenna thinks he's already heard the worst news of his life when he learns that his sister Georgia is fatally ill. Then Georgia and her husband die in a car accident, leaving behind their baby daughter, Keefer. Gordon and his parents are able to survive their sorrow only by devoting themselves to the care of the beloved one-year-old.

But the decision of who will raise Keefer is far from over, and soon Gordon's most basic assumptions about his family will be challenged in ways so provocative that he will be driven to disbelief and then to outrage. The ordeal will test the bonds of this closely knit family, challenging even love's ultimate capacity to heal.

About the Author

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the author of Twelve Times Blessed, A Theory of Relativity, The Breakdown Lane, and The Deep End of the Ocean. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her family.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780066210605
Author:
Mitchard, Jacquelyn
Publisher:
Harper
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
Large type books
Subject:
Grandparents
Subject:
Custody of children
Subject:
Orphans
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Traffic accident victims
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1st ed. ; Large print
Large Print:
Yes
Series Volume:
no. 264
Publication Date:
20010619
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
624
Dimensions:
9.19x6.08x1.18 in. 1.87 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!... Used Book Club Hardcover $7.50
  2. Midnight in the Garden of Good and...
    Used Hardcover $4.95
  3. Thanksgiving (Large Print) New Trade Paper $14.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry

Theory of Relativity (Large Print) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 624 pages HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS - English 9780066210605 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

“[An] astonishing pleasure.”

—Seattle Times

 

“A graceful, moving, and compelling novel. Jacquelyn Mitchard at her finest.”

—Scott Turow, author of Innocent

 A poignant and unforgettable novel from Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the monumental New York Times bestsellers The Deep End of the Ocean and The Most Wanted, A Theory of Relativity is a powerful tale that explores the emotional dynamics and dramas of two families fighting for custody of a young child. The very first author selected by the Oprah Book Club, Mitchard is a matchless, wise, and warm chronicler of families and their human foibles—and A Theory of Relativity is contemporary womens fiction at its best, a must-read for fans of Sue Miller, Jane Hamilton, and Elizabeth Berg.

"Synopsis" by , Jacquelyn Mitchard's first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, launched the Oprah's Book Club and riveted millions of readers across the country. Now comes A Theory of Relativity, Mitchard's most compelling and beautifully written novel yet.

At twenty-four, Gordon McKenna thinks he's already heard the worst news of his life when he learns that his sister Georgia is fatally ill. Then Georgia and her husband die in a car accident, leaving behind their baby daughter, Keefer. Gordon and his parents are able to survive their sorrow only by devoting themselves to the care of the beloved one-year-old.

But the decision of who will raise Keefer is far from over, and soon Gordon's most basic assumptions about his family will be challenged in ways so provocative that he will be driven to disbelief and then to outrage. The ordeal will test the bonds of this closely knit family, challenging even love's ultimate capacity to heal.

"Synopsis" by , Jacquelyn Mitchard's first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, launched the Oprah's Book Club and riveted millions of readers across the country. Now comes A Theory of Relativity, Mitchard's most compelling and beautifully written novel yet.

At twenty-four, Gordon McKenna thinks he's already heard the worst news of his life when he learns that his sister Georgia is fatally ill. Then Georgia and her husband die in a car accident, leaving behind their baby daughter, Keefer. Gordon and his parents are able to survive their sorrow only by devoting themselves to the care of the beloved one-year-old.

But the decision of who will raise Keefer is far from over, and soon Gordon's most basic assumptions about his family will be challenged in ways so provocative that he will be driven to disbelief and then to outrage. The ordeal will test the bonds of this closely knit family, challenging even love's ultimate capacity to heal.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

       
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.