Poetry Madness
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft



I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
  1. $9.07 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$5.95
List price: $15.00
Used Trade Paper
Usually ships in 5 to 7 business days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Qty Store Section
1 Remote Warehouse Biography- General

The Mistress's Daughter

by

The Mistress's Daughter Cover

ISBN13: 9780143113317
ISBN10: 0143113313
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $5.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An acclaimed novelist's riveting memoir about what it means to be adopted and how all of us construct our sense of self and family.

Before A.M. Homes was born, she was put up for adoption. Her birth mother was a twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with children of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the story of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her.

Homes, renowned for the psychological accuracy and emotional intensity of her storytelling, tells how her birth parents initially made contact with her and what happened afterward (her mother stalked her and appeared unannounced at a reading) and what she was able to reconstruct about the story of their lives and their families. Her birth mother, a complex and lonely woman, never married or had another child, and died of kidney failure in 1998; her birth father, who initially made overtures about inviting her into his family, never did.

Then the story jumps forward several years to when Homes opens the boxes of her mother's memorabilia. She had hoped to find her mother in those boxes, to know her secrets, but no relief came. She became increasingly obsessed with finding out as much as she could about all four parents and their families, hiring researchers and spending hours poring through newspaper morgues, municipal archives and genealogical Web sites. This brave, daring, and funny book is a story about what it means to be adopted, but it is also about identity and how all of us define our sense of self and family.

Review:

"Novelist Homes's searing 2004 New Yorker essay about meeting her biological parents 31 years after they gave her up for adoption forms the first half of this much-anticipated memoir, but the rest of the book doesn't match its visceral power. The first part, distilled by more than a decade's reflection and written with haunting precision, recounts Homes's unfulfilling reunions with both parents in 1993 after her birth mother, Ellen Ballman, contacted her. Homes (This Book Will Change Your Life,) learns that Ballman became pregnant at age 22, after being seduced by Norman Hecht, the married owner of the shop where Ballman worked. But Ballman's emotional neediness and the more upwardly mobile Hecht's unwillingness to fully acknowledge Homes as a family member shakes Homes's deepest sense of self. The rest of the memoir is a more undigested account of how Ballman's death pushed Homes to research her genealogy. Hecht's refusal to help Homes apply to the Daughters of the American Revolution based on their shared lineage elicits her 'nuclear-hot' rage, which devolves into a list of accusing questions she would ask him about his life choices in a mock L.A. Law episode. The final chapter is a loving but tacked-on tribute to Homes's adoptive grandmother that may leave readers wishing the author had given herself more time to fully integrate her adoptive and biological selves." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A can't-put-it-down memoir as remarkable for its crystalline prose, flinty wit, and agile candor as for its arresting revelations." Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"The Mistress's Daughter has the beguiling pull of mystery, memory, and surprise. I fell in love with it from the first page and read compulsively to the end. It lays bare those questions about our essential selves: How did we become who we are? What elements of inheritance, neglect, accident, and choice gave us our confused identity, our quirky personality, our urges to be wholly loved? As A.M. Homes shows, there are no definitive answers, but in our search for them, we find more important truths." Amy Tan

Review:

"Both a heartbreak and a thrill to read, The Mistress's Daughter is a radiantly smart memoir of pain and self discovery, outlined in savage, very strange detail. A.M. Homes is a writer of extraordinary depth and courage and grace. Her story will knock you down and pick you back up again." Sean Wilsey

Review:

"To my generation of writers, Homes is a kind of hero, and The Mistress's Daughter is the latest example of her fearlessness and brilliance. It is a compelling, devastating, and furiously good book written with an honesty that few of us would risk." Zadie Smith

Review:

"[An] unsatisfying and depressing story [that] proves to be of far more interest to the principals involved than to the reader. Ultimately off-putting and unappealing, due to a whiny, self-pitying attitude conveyed in overwrought prose." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Homes draws you in from the first sentence and holds your interest throughout....By the end, you'll feel glad that nurture rather than nature has been dominant in her upbringing. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"What propels the book forward is a phase of intense, even obsessive genealogical research....Her perception of her situation shifts, her brilliant imagination takes fire, and she begins to engage with the broader realm of history." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"[I]f The Mistress's Daughter is not entirely satisfying, if it loses some of its furious precision...as a document of a flawed, incoherent self, it remains fierce and eloquent. And even some of its messier sections are gripping." Katie Roiphe, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[A] taut, mesmerizing book that relies on both Homes' brutal honesty and her tendency toward high drama....The Mistress's Daughter...succeeds because of the writer's intimacy with her material, but also suffers from it." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Review:

"Homes makes too much fuss about the adoption thing. Certainly being adopted can lead to anxiety and feelings of uncertain identity....The problem is that Homes seems to think that this has never happened to anyone else." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"[T]hough the wary tone serves the presentation of the book's first half, it undermines the second....[H]ere the reader's imagination doesn't have enough context to work with. Except for the story of Homes and her four parents, the world is absent." Sven Birkerts, The Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

Before A. M. Homes was born, she was put up for adoption. The Mistress's Daughter is the story of what happened when, 30 years later, her birth parents came looking for her.

Synopsis:

The acclaimed writer A. M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born. Her biological mother was a twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with a family of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the ruthlessly honest account of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes relates how they initially made contact and what happened afterwards, and digs through the family history of both sets of her parents in a twenty-first-century electronic search for self. Daring, heartbreaking, and startlingly funny, Homes's memoir is a brave and profoundly moving consideration of identity and family.

About the Author

A. M. Homes is the author of several books of fiction. She has been awarded a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Shoshana, May 2, 2010 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Aficionados of Homes's seductively creepy novels and short stories will enjoy her memoir, which is in many ways no less weird than her fiction. The first half describes how Homes, at that point an adult woman, learns that her birth mother wants to be in touch. Homes's part of the back story, and her speculations, hopes, and fears about this unknown mother who asserts her motherness, will be familiar to those who have gone through this experience themselves (and to their friends, who have heard these anxious concerns before). The uncovering of just who these biological parents were and what they are now to the author is riveting.

The drive to know, plus the drive to buffer the experience and any potential commitment, explains the second half of the book. Critics have found this section less engaging, but I enjoyed it more, because here we see Homes at work, sleuthing and poking and fantasizing. She portrays herself as both obsessed and resistant, creating a parallel experience for the reader. We see the psyche from whom her strange, compelling fictional characters arise, the bizarre tangents that are their genesis. We see her enter into a world of genealogical and internet research and expose both the voyeurism and frustrations that any amateur genealogist has encountered. We ultimately encounter the insoluble riddle: Who am I if other people control the proof of my identity?

This memoir makes me want to re-read all the Homes I have, and go find even more.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
kai, June 22, 2008 (view all comments by kai)
This is my first A. M. Homes book and I can't wait to read more. I love her style of writing and the way that she keeps the pace moving, keeps the reader engaged at all times. Homes was adopted at birth and at the age of 31 she is told that her birth mother wants to contact her. She takes us through the ups and downs of finding out something that she had wanted to know all her life. There is a section of the book when she's describing the history of each and every person on her family tree that at first was sort of boring for me. But then I realized how much this meant to her and it reminded me of a talk I had with my father a couple of weeks ago when I was grilling him for information about my ancestors. I was then happy to hear her tell the history because I know how much that means to each of us. Or at least it should.

There are times when I wanted to slap the birth mother, she seemed so pitiful and needy. But then the next page would make me feel sorry for her, she had a rough life and was reaching out for love and belonging. The birth father....now, he's one that I always wanted so slap. What a jerk.

The last chapter is a beautiful and moving tribute to A. M.'s grandmother. I can't imagine a more loving tribute to a remarkable woman. It was the best way to end a book like this.

And I admire the author for her tenacity; a lot of us would probably have given up the search for our past when faced with all of the obstacles that she faced.

Thank you, A. M., you have written a beautiful memoir. I will be reading more of your work
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143113317
Author:
Homes, A. M.
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Adoption
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Adopted children
Subject:
Birthmothers
Subject:
Adoption & Fostering
Subject:
Adopted children -- United States.
Subject:
Homes, A. M
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20080431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w photos throughout
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.72x5.32x.44 in. .38 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. Without a Map: A Memoir
    Used Trade Paper $2.95
  2. Easter Everywhere: A Memoir Used Trade Paper $2.50
  3. We Need To Talk About Kevin Used Trade Paper $7.95
  4. Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous...
    Used Book Club Paperback $6.95
  5. Dandy in the Underworld: An... Sale Trade Paper $1.00
  6. Jim the Boy Used Trade Paper $2.50

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Adoption and Foster Care

The Mistress's Daughter Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143113317 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Novelist Homes's searing 2004 New Yorker essay about meeting her biological parents 31 years after they gave her up for adoption forms the first half of this much-anticipated memoir, but the rest of the book doesn't match its visceral power. The first part, distilled by more than a decade's reflection and written with haunting precision, recounts Homes's unfulfilling reunions with both parents in 1993 after her birth mother, Ellen Ballman, contacted her. Homes (This Book Will Change Your Life,) learns that Ballman became pregnant at age 22, after being seduced by Norman Hecht, the married owner of the shop where Ballman worked. But Ballman's emotional neediness and the more upwardly mobile Hecht's unwillingness to fully acknowledge Homes as a family member shakes Homes's deepest sense of self. The rest of the memoir is a more undigested account of how Ballman's death pushed Homes to research her genealogy. Hecht's refusal to help Homes apply to the Daughters of the American Revolution based on their shared lineage elicits her 'nuclear-hot' rage, which devolves into a list of accusing questions she would ask him about his life choices in a mock L.A. Law episode. The final chapter is a loving but tacked-on tribute to Homes's adoptive grandmother that may leave readers wishing the author had given herself more time to fully integrate her adoptive and biological selves." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A can't-put-it-down memoir as remarkable for its crystalline prose, flinty wit, and agile candor as for its arresting revelations."
"Review" by , "The Mistress's Daughter has the beguiling pull of mystery, memory, and surprise. I fell in love with it from the first page and read compulsively to the end. It lays bare those questions about our essential selves: How did we become who we are? What elements of inheritance, neglect, accident, and choice gave us our confused identity, our quirky personality, our urges to be wholly loved? As A.M. Homes shows, there are no definitive answers, but in our search for them, we find more important truths."
"Review" by , "Both a heartbreak and a thrill to read, The Mistress's Daughter is a radiantly smart memoir of pain and self discovery, outlined in savage, very strange detail. A.M. Homes is a writer of extraordinary depth and courage and grace. Her story will knock you down and pick you back up again."
"Review" by , "To my generation of writers, Homes is a kind of hero, and The Mistress's Daughter is the latest example of her fearlessness and brilliance. It is a compelling, devastating, and furiously good book written with an honesty that few of us would risk."
"Review" by , "[An] unsatisfying and depressing story [that] proves to be of far more interest to the principals involved than to the reader. Ultimately off-putting and unappealing, due to a whiny, self-pitying attitude conveyed in overwrought prose."
"Review" by , "Homes draws you in from the first sentence and holds your interest throughout....By the end, you'll feel glad that nurture rather than nature has been dominant in her upbringing. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "What propels the book forward is a phase of intense, even obsessive genealogical research....Her perception of her situation shifts, her brilliant imagination takes fire, and she begins to engage with the broader realm of history."
"Review" by , "[I]f The Mistress's Daughter is not entirely satisfying, if it loses some of its furious precision...as a document of a flawed, incoherent self, it remains fierce and eloquent. And even some of its messier sections are gripping."
"Review" by , "[A] taut, mesmerizing book that relies on both Homes' brutal honesty and her tendency toward high drama....The Mistress's Daughter...succeeds because of the writer's intimacy with her material, but also suffers from it."
"Review" by , "Homes makes too much fuss about the adoption thing. Certainly being adopted can lead to anxiety and feelings of uncertain identity....The problem is that Homes seems to think that this has never happened to anyone else."
"Review" by , "[T]hough the wary tone serves the presentation of the book's first half, it undermines the second....[H]ere the reader's imagination doesn't have enough context to work with. Except for the story of Homes and her four parents, the world is absent."
"Synopsis" by , Before A. M. Homes was born, she was put up for adoption. The Mistress's Daughter is the story of what happened when, 30 years later, her birth parents came looking for her.
"Synopsis" by ,
The acclaimed writer A. M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born. Her biological mother was a twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with a family of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the ruthlessly honest account of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes relates how they initially made contact and what happened afterwards, and digs through the family history of both sets of her parents in a twenty-first-century electronic search for self. Daring, heartbreaking, and startlingly funny, Homes's memoir is a brave and profoundly moving consideration of identity and family.

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.