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My Family, A Symphony: A Memoir of Global Adoption Hardcover – December 7, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; 1ST edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230104150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230104150
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,496,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eske was born in Nebraska in 1983, and in 1989 his parents welcomed from India an infant they named Meredith. Three more siblings followed: Michelle and Jordan from India, and Jamie from Korea. As the family grew, they moved into ever-larger houses ("1,000 for each of us kids"), and Eske's feelings of alienation increased. After completing a master's degree at the London School of Economics, Eske decided to visit his siblings' home countries and the orphanages they lived in, even meeting their original caretakers, during a 23-city journey he viewed as essential to "getting back in with my family again." Throughout, Eske (communications director for Global Action for Children, funded by the Jolie-Pitt Foundation) shares family stories, reflections and observations from his travels, and details the history, joys, and complications of international adoption. The author notes he had to "search the world to understand our miraculous connection that beat evolution," but while his is a heartfelt story, it's not entirely clear if he's come to terms with the events and feelings that led to his feeling disconnected in the first place. (Dec.)
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About the Author

Aaron Eske works for a communications firm that specializes in non-profits. He was Communications Director for Angelina Jolie’s orphan advocacy organization, Global Action for Children. He has a masters degree in Global Politics and Development from the London School of Economics. He lives in Washington, D.C.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is a must read for all adoptive parents and anyone interested in global child welfare.
Matriach of own Rainbow Coalition
The story as written by Eske takes us through the highs and lows, the wonder of discovery, the journey to find yourself by understanding others, he has experienced.
DoubleD
I love the travel writing, and find his stories from time in India, South Korea, and Ethiopia to be so engrossing.
HY77

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jayn on December 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Part travelogue, part recollection of the author's childhood in Nebraska, and part history of international adoption, this book should be on reading lists for anyone interested in adoptive families, or simply the modern American family.

While Mr. Eske's brother and sisters were chosen from around the world before settling in Nebraska, the Eske family dynamic will be familiar to anyone with younger siblings. The book does a fantastic job of realistically portraying the balance of normal family relationships with the often heartrending complications of physical disabilities and emotional trauma from the previous lives of adopted children. Mr. Eske is very aware throughout the book of his privilege and the special circumstances of his family. He also writes with modesty, humbleness, and a sharp sense of humor about himself - seen most clearly in the travel portions of the book. The anecdotes about traveling with friends in India to see both tourist haunts and the orphanage from which three of his siblings were adopted fit together seamlessly while still conveying the jarring contrasts between the expectations of a group of American students and the realities of the country they traveled. Mr. Eske has a knack for words and a special knack for drawing subtle comparisons that pull the reader in - for example, the author's description of the overwhelming atmosphere of monsoon season and the overwhelming emotion when hugged by the woman who ran the orphanage he visited. Dancing to Beyonce in the lobby of an Ethiopian hotel with a hotel worker before visiting that hotel worker's house in the slums of Addis portrays in a few crystallized moments of human interaction the author's earlier musings on globalization as something that, for all of his study, was still mysterious.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. S. HARDEN VINE VOICE on December 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Where to start? I'll keep this simple! I always marvel at people with enough love to adopt and the will to see it through, no matter how things end up. For in all families, you are going to have successes and, maybe failures. From his perspective, Eske provides details on the children that came to live with him and his family. Frankly, we are shown the good, the bad and the ugly with this group, from physical handicaps to mental illness. Through it all, the Eske's hung in there. Interspersed through the book are details and data dedicated to the sheer numbers of homeless and abandoned children, along with some numbers on those adopted. As opposed to finding adoption data a distraction in Aaron's family story, it actually helped me broaden my understanding of the process, and the effect it can have on the individuals involved on both sides of the adoption coin. Finally, we are treated to Aaron himself, his journey to understand where his adopted family came from, along that journey, he was able to reconnect with them, and therefore, himself. Bravo!

Well presented, well written and informative. Aaron Eske lived this life, thanks in no small part to his parents, who opened their hearts (and homes) to children from different parts of the world. I would be interested to see what Mr. Eske does next!

I rate Aaron Eske's "My Family, A Symphony:" Five stars! May I suggest you read (and discover) this book for yourself? You won't be sorry! Trust me!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By allisong on December 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Eske is truly a captivating writer - any person interested in children, travel, child welfare, adoption, or, indeed, family relations in general will find this book fascinating. It's a powerful story of sibling relations and family dynamics that I could easily relate to, even without a direct experience with adoption. The feeling of solidarity he shares with his family even when he's miles away is palpable. It's truly a story that transcends age and individual family experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matriach of own Rainbow Coalition on December 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Eske examines his family's experience with internationally adopted siblings and also the political and economic morass that create orphans. It is funny, tender and provacative. He reconciles his distance with his siblings and triumphantly reclaims the knowlege that we are all a small circle of mankind.

The story will resonate with those who have travelled the same path; others may misunderstand elements because they read it with a limited perspective of one who has not experienced such a reality. And while the story is a celebration of triumph over adversity, it does not have a pretty ending tied up in a bow.

This is a must read for all adoptive parents and anyone interested in global child welfare.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DoubleD on January 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Eske's tales of growing up in a most non-conventional family are enthralling, engaging and hilarious. This book gives the reader unusual insight and access to a family structure most never encounter. The story as written by Eske takes us through the highs and lows, the wonder of discovery, the journey to find yourself by understanding others, he has experienced. It is a wonderful read and would be a great gift for your family or friends who have adopted or are considering adoption. Well done, well written and well researched. Bravo, Eske.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alli on December 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book on a whim and I was totally blown away by the awe inspiring writing of Eske. This family story is truly one of a kind. Its the new american story. I highly recommend purchasing the book - it takes you from your couch, around the world, and back.
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