Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

Thursday, January 21, 2016 with 1 comment
Title: What Was Mine
Author: Helen Klein Ross
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
Source: Received for review from publisher via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

This book was awesome. Sometimes I like to break away from the YA and read something different. What was mine certainly did the trick. I saw this on Netgalley and the description grabbed me. It ended up being so much more than I expected. I'm not even sure where to start, but I'm gonna try. 

Lucy Wakefield has always wanted a baby. Clearly, because she up and stole one. I won't get into details but she cannot have one on her own, otherwise this story would not have come to fruition. Does that excuse a woman from stealing another persons baby? No... not at all. This was a constant struggle for me and other readers I'm sure. She loves this baby, She raises this baby, and while I loathed her for what she did, I felt bad for her when she was finally caught. 

My favorite thing about this story is how it's told. It's almost like everyone is being interviewed, or not so much interviewed, but telling their story. In the present tense. After she's been caught. Lucy talks to us and gives us her life story pretty much. We get snippets from her family members, ex family members, and other people tied up in the web of Lucy's lies. 

The most heart breaking point of view we get, is the birth mother. Oh my gosh, some of those passages had my eyes filling with tears. And eventually we even get to hear from Mia herself. Through every detail of her finding out the truth. I was glued to my kindle. I could not put that shit down if  I wanted to. Wow. Such an emotional story .

The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars was the ending. It's not a bad ending by any means, it just a personal preference. I would have liked a little more closure, and well.. something else, but I'm not sure what, if that makes any sense at all. lol. I would read this a thousand times over though, even knowing the conclusion. So glad I picked this one up. :) 

About the author:

Helen Klein RossHelen's poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York
Times, literary journals and in anthologies, including SHORT, published in 2014 by Persea Books. Her first novel, Making It: A Novel of Madison Avenue, was published as an e-book in 2013 by Gallery/Simon and Schuster. Her debut novel What Was Mine, will be published in January 2016.

Helen is also the creator and editor of a poetry anthology, The Traveler's Vade Mecum, forthcoming next year from Red Hen Press. Over 80 poets-- including Frank Bidart, David Lehman and Billy Collins-- wrote to titles from an 1853 compendium that provides a glimpse into habits and social aspects of nineteenth-century America.

Helen lives in New York City and Salisbury, Connecticut where she is on the board of a haven for book lovers: Scoville Memorial Library.

Find Helen:

WebsiteGoodreads | Facebook | Twitter

1 comment:

  1. I want to make more of an effort to read outside of YA this year. It's not that I'm liking YA any less, but I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of great reads by limiting myself. Though this story isn't something I would typically pick up, I think it sounds pretty powerful. Your review reminded me that there's so many stories just waiting to be discovered, and I'm excited to start looking. Great review! :)


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