- Paperback: 290 pages
- Publisher: Atticus Books (August 4, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 099154692X
- ISBN-13: 978-0991546923
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.8 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,603,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe Paperback – August 4, 2015
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"Through metaphors and a fragmented, lyrical style that reflects the writer's background as a poet, Jakiela communicates the sense of a fragmented self experienced by many adoptees with little information about their origins. 'An adopted person's story is someone else's secret,' says Jakiela, the author of two previous memoirs. A laugh-out-loud funny writer in much of her earlier work, Jakiela shows herself to be equally at home in this compelling and poignant story of her search for her birth family and for her place in the world." -- Ploughshares
"This is a book about the lies we are told, the lies we tell ourselves, and the things we just believe without proof. It searches out the authenticity in all of it and illuminates how beliefs sometimes persist because we need both the truth and the lies to make life livable--to keep loving ourselves and each other. ... Jakiela recognizes that the life she has created for herself, deeply connected to her husband and children, is the one that matters, while readers recognize those places in themselves where belief and truth mingle." -- Weave Magazine
"Belief is a moving memoir that sifts through the overlapping, conflicting, and at times buried stories of the narrator's adoption narrative. ... Lori Jakiela crafts a compelling version of herself as narrator, devoid of sugar coating. Readers of this memoir are on the journey with her, alternating between elated and upset, cautious and rash, fiercely independent and in need of familial support." -- Small Press Review
"This engaging, multifaceted creative nonfiction memoir is exquisitely written and effortlessly draws the reader into a series of philosophical issues. Ostensibly the narrative concerns the narrator's quest for her biological mother and medical history through the Catholic Charities following the death of her adopted mother. However, it soon develops a series of narrative threads moving back and forward in time, which concern nature versus nurture, motherhood, authenticity and mapping a life." -- Tears in the Fence
"Jakiela is a master at weaving past and present together; at creating a seamless picture between who she was, who she has become, and who she does not remember--the self that she cannot grasp. Her memoir is like a recipe: "a proof of an exchange, a transaction between generations" Imbued with raw feelings of love and doubt, Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe is an unforgettable story from the first page to the last." -- JMWW
From the Inside Flap
Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe is the story of one woman's search for her mother, but more than that it's the story of what we all long for, the feeling of belonging to a family and knowing how safe we are there, how protected and loved. Lori Jakiela's memoir is filled with heart-wrenching scenes and moments of transcendence. It doesn't look away from the ugly, but it always finds the light that rises above it. To read this book is to experience our lives and their complicated arrangement of disappointment, sadness, wonder, and joy. I won't soon forget it; neither should you.--Lee Martin, author of Such a Life and From Our House I am a big fan of Jakiela's writing, and Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe has all of her gifts on full display. This memoir is sharp, insightful, sad, and often darkly funny. Her prose is honed to perfection, sure, but it really is her big heart and her wisdom about the stupid, terribly imperfect, and beautiful world that makes me want to read anything she writes.--Greg Bottoms, author of Angelhead and Pitiful Criminals Adoptees look out at the world from the eyes of what was lost. We can't help it, but we can transform it. Lori Jakiela's new memoir--Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe--is a beautifully written journey into one woman's process of letting go of what was lost, and the messy dignity of human transformation. Her story is one of life, of reaching for life. With a deep gift for storytelling and unsparing, beautifully gritty self-examination, she brings the reader on the harrowing journey with her. It's an important ride, and an important book.--singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier Brilliant, heartbreaking and fiercely honest. In Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe, adoptee Lori Jakiela tells a story of losing her birth family twice, yet creating abiding connection and love with the family she creates. A powerful, essential read.--Linda Carroll, author of Her Mother's Daughter and Love Cycles 'What is the nature of your search?' asks the Catholic Charities counselor at the beginning of Lori Jakiela's memoir. There is no simple answer. It is a search full of pain, vividly remembered or imagined details, and laughternot all of it from trying not to cry. Jakiela leads the reader through her search for her birth family, the rejections, the struggles to understand, and the victories, and intertwines this with her memories of the sometimes uncomprehending parents who raised her, her discoveries about their wounds, and her day-to-day struggles as a parent to much-loved small children. No part of her life is easynor are the lives of any of her families. But Jakiela's spirit and voice and sense of the absurd keep the reader involved. I couldn't put the book down.--Marianne Novy, author of Reading Adoption: Family and Difference
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Jakiela rightfully refers to the woman who raised her as her “real mother.” The same goes for her “real father,” the other half of the parents she knew and loved her entire life. But now, in her third memoir, both of her real parents have passed on. Now, lingering questions remain unanswered in Jakiela’s mind, but the natural urge to know is nothing compared to the fact that she needs a medical history for her own family. Her daughter, Phelan, suffers from a condition that requires her to wear a leg brace. Jakiela fears that medical history has repeated itself, and that her daughter is “like her.” Though the conditions are not the same, she feels that having a medical history is pertinent. And so, the search for her birth mother begins.
Catholic Charities, who handled her adoption, is of no help to her. They are put off by her visit. They ask her why she’s initiating contact. They ask her why she wants a medical history. Then, a strange email arrives in Jakiela’s inbox; it is her biological sister. The woman at Catholic charities informs her that her birth mother was “immovable,” refusing contact, a medical history, or the divulgence of any further information. But with her reporter’s instinct, Jakiela has acquired information on her own. She has pieced together details from family, friends, and others who knew her birth mother. Those details become part of the journey that Jakiela takes us on.
She hypothesizes what happened in her birth mother’s life that led to the very moment of her conception. She dreams up the vision of her own father and grandfather, and what roles they played in her birth mother’s life. She estimates how it all happened, and she does so brilliantly.
The reception of her biological siblings is lukewarm. The mysterious sister by email turns out to be a disappointment; blaming Jakiela for the mess she accuses her of making. The sister begins to email her messages with one simple word—“Bitch!” On the other hand, Jakiela scores a lasting friendship with her brother and another biological sister. But the birth mother is “immovable.”
Through it all is the life with her real family, the family she’s created. Her son is a ten year-old, insightful little boy who gets Luke Skywalker’s feet stuck in her computer keyboard. He says things that are ironically wise, things that make more sense in the adult world than he could imagine. Her daughter is still young, but happy and loving regardless of having to wear a leg brace. Here is her real family, but the unanswered questions keep nagging her.
“Belief” makes us hold our breaths, wondering what will happen next, or who is going to show up in Jakiela’s life. We wonder along with her what it will be like when she meets her biological siblings. We are angry with her when she suffers from backlash. As usual, Jakiela demonstrates her talent for turning a memoir into a page-turner that cannot be put down.
The laughs are consistent, and so is the heartbreak, but “Belief is its Own Kind of Truth—Maybe” is an essential piece in the puzzle of Lori Jakiela’s life.
Jakiela starts off her book with a simple statement that sets the tone for her story: "When my real mother dies, I go looking for another one. The Catholic Charities counselor's word for this other mother I want after decades to find is biological. Illegitimate is another word for people who end up like me. It's what I feel now, unlawful, unauthorized, unwarranted her in this office that smells like antiseptic and rubber gloves, hot teeth drilled down to the bone."
From this first paragraph, we are introduced to several important components of the book. Jakiela is not just feeling the loss of her mother, she is feeling a loss of herself, and she believes that looking for her biological mother is a step in regaining part of her personal identity that seems muddled and foggy (at least in her viewpoint). This is not what she tells the counselor, however. Instead, she says that she is looking for a medical history.
What follows is a braided story. First, Jakiela chronicles her journey towards finding her biological mother. Second, she retells stories that highlight her relationship with the couple who adopted her. Finally, she relays her own frustrations (and joys) of being a working wife and mother.
Readers who are new to Jakiela's work may find the nonlinear progression of her journey a little confusing, yet, I believe that many people who find this book are already familiar with many of the characters introduced in Jakiela's two previous memoirs, Miss New York Has Everything and The Bridge To Take When Things Get Serious. My advice to those who are new to the writing of Lori Jakiela: read Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe and then read her two other memoirs. I will bet you will return to Jakiela's newest memoir with a deep appreciation of the delicate way that she balances humor with her depictions of love, in its rawest, yet purest forms.