Synopses & Reviews
A woman unexpectedly finds her best self through a sleepy bundle handed over at the airport in this heartfelt and surprising memoir.
In Make Me a Mother, acclaimed memoirist Susanne Antonetta adopts an infant from Seoul, South Korea. After meeting their six-month-old son, Jin, at the airport — an incident made memorable when Susanne, so eager to meet her son, is chased down by security — Susanne and her husband learn lessons common to all parents, such as the lack of sleep and the worry and joy of loving a child. They also learn lessons particular to their own family: not just how another being can take over your life but how to let an entire culture in, how to discuss birth parents who gave up a child, and the tricky steps required to navigate race in America.
In the end, her relationship with her son teaches Susanne to understand her own troubled childhood and to forgive and care for her own aging parents. Susanne comes to realize how, time and time again, all families have to learn to adopt one another.
"A writer based in Bellingham, Wash., Antonetta (A Mind Apart) reflects thoughtfully on the many important functions of adoption as gleaned from her own experience adopting a baby boy from South Korea in 1997. Antonetta and her longtime husband, Bruce, gave up trying to conceive after an initial miscarriage: Antonetta, who came of age in the early 1970s, had bipolar disorder, and suspected mental illness in other members of the family as well as alcoholism. Having first looked at adoption of a girl from China, the couple was referred to Jin, a four-month-old Korean child whose parents ('Birth mother: heart-shaped tattoo, waitress. Birth father: good at math') were probably very young. Alternating her journal of Jin's flourishing development through adolescence within the family's deepening bonds is Antonetta's musings on the historical uses of adoption, such as its prevalence during Roman times and in Oceania, for example. Moreover, becoming a mother allowed the author to rework the thorny issues between her rather withholding mother and critical father, now aged and infirm and living in New Jersey. Antonetta's generous, humbling take on adoption adds another layer to today's vastly 'changing landscape of family,' where couples seeking adoption don't necessarily have infertility issues and ethnic make-up tends more toward the richly diverse. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Antonetta, author of two previous memoirs (A Mind Apart, A BodyToxic) chronicles her journey through motherhood, from the dramatic adoption of a South Korean infant through the stages of her son’slife. She explains how her interracial family dealt with difficult issues of adoption and race, and reflects on how the experience ofbeing a parent has opened her eyes obligation to take care of her aging parents.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
"In this honest and thoughtful memoir, Susanne Antonetta examines not only her own adoption journey but also family, home, and parenting. At once personal and universal, Antonetta ultimately shows us that no matter how we make a family, 'each love has its own body of water.'" Ann Hood, author of The Obituary Writer
"Reflecting on her troubled childhood, aging parents, and Korean-born son's complex sense of his own origins, Antonetta wrestles with the vexing conundrum of human connection. Call it adoption, call it something else. This book 'gives a shape to what love is.'" Ralph James Savarese, author of Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption
"An award-winning memoirist's moving account of how adopting a South Korean baby taught her about motherhood and love." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Susanne Antonetta is the author of the memoirs A Mind Apart and A Body Toxic, a New York Times Notable Book, as well as the poetry collections Bardo, Petitioner, Glass, and, most recently, The Lives of the Saints. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Republic, Best American Essays, and other publications. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her husband and son.