From Publishers Weekly
Gerrold, a Nebula and Hugo Award winner, proffers this tale of adoption and fatherly love for the adoptive parents of troubled children. The quasi-fictional protagonist, David, decides that he wants to be "a dad" and initiates adoption procedures through the mind-numbing California bureaucracy. He stumbles upon a photograph of eight-year-old Dennis, a slight, blond boy abandoned by an alcoholic mother as a baby, who is approaching the age when placement is doubtful. Although David had not counted on having a "problem child" for a son, he eagerly embraces the idea. For about two years, he deals with being a single, gay parent of a child who insists that he is a "Martian," a common psychological defense mechanism used by abused and neglected children. The account moves quickly and somewhat sporadically and selectively through about 24 months of adjustment, doubt and finally acceptance of a situation that often has the potential for disaster, although no genuine crises are detailed. The biggest question is why the story is presented in fictional form. As Gerrold explicitly states, it is based on reality, and no point seems to be served in manufacturing details, except, perhaps, that it allows Gerrold to focus on the thesis that lavish applications of love, patience and understanding (along with a bit of medication) can overcome any child's difficulties and create a marvelous father-son relationship and a successful adoptive process. Because it doesn't thoroughly address such serious potential problems as Dennis's propensity for petty theft and violence, the resulting story is less than believable. Readers interested in the topic might better turn to the several nonfiction works available on the subject.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Ten years ago, sf and fantasy writer Gerrold, a single, gay man, saw a photo of a towheaded kid bursting with life and fell in love. It wasn't what small minds might think, for Gerrold was looking for an adoptive son in California, which allows gays and singles to adopt. Gerrold eventually took Dennis, the child in the photo, home and began the work of earning the acceptance of a hyperactive, severely insecure eight-year-old who desperately wanted a father but thought of himself as a Martian and, therefore, probably unworthy. Gerrold's memoir of the first two years Dennis was with him ends with the crisis of Dennis running away and waiting in a city park at night for the saucers to come and whisk him back to a world he might be able to manage. Although Dennis is the reason for the book, Gerrold keeps the focus on himself and his responses to Dennis, not to mention his insecurities over perhaps having bitten off more than he...can chew. The heart-searing moments are many but never overwritten, thanks to Gerrold's bright, efficient exposition. And yes, the crisis was overcome. Dennis, now 17, "shows dangerous signs of maturity and responsibility." Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved