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The Brotherhood of Joseph: A Father's Memoir of Infertility and Adoption in the 21st Century Hardcover – May 27, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A tender, humorous account of a couple's struggle to start a family.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Though the subject matter is emotionally difficult, Hansen's humor and positive outlook make this memoir an encouraging read for any parent-to-be.” ―Publishers Weekly

About the Author

BROOKS HANSEN has written five novels and his work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Best Life, Open City, Grand Street, and Bookforum. He and Elizabeth live with their children, Theo and Ada, in California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Times; First Edition, First Printing edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594868271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594868276
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,329,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an adoptive mom, I've read literally dozens of adoption memoirs, and this is the finest out there. Hansen is brutally honest about the sometimes harrowing (sometimes amusing) world of infertility and adoption. In a genre that naturally lists toward the mushy, this memoir is both muscular and moving. Even though the book flap tips you off to the ending, the journey truly is a nail biter. Highly recommeded
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not a parent, and I don't want to be a parent. I picked up this book because I'm a fan of Brooks Hansen. I am now an even bigger fan; nay, a DEVOTEE of Brooks Hansen! I wish I had words to describe how moved I have been by this remarkable account. Hansen can be as glib and laugh-out-loud funny (or more so) than Annie Lamott at her best, but much more than that, there is such riveting honesty and spiritual depth that shines through every page of this extraordinary book. The incisive and illuminating way that the story is told transcends the subject matter; it is a journey of the soul. It's so rare that a book brings me face to face, as this one has, with my most fundamental questions about what I believe is true about life, and what I value, and how I see my own role in the world. Thank you, Brooks Hansen! I hope this book gets the attention it deserves. If this is not a bestseller, the world will be poorer for it.
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Format: Hardcover
This memoir is a page-turner about the 6 year journey Hansen and his wife endured -- from Manhattan fertility clinics to a children's hospital in Siberia -- to start their family. Hansen's writing is graceful and honest, sometimes dryly funny, sometimes quietly reflective. The book is essential reading for anybody navigating the complicated terrain of fertility treatment and adoption today, or anybody interested in a compelling, passionate account of one couple's struggle to become parents.
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Format: Hardcover
It's clear from the author's comments on the [...] blog that he is profoundly ignorant of the impact of adoption on the real/natural/first/birth mothers and the children he adopts. He considers only his own need . He deludes himself into believing that he can excise the real/natural/first birth mother by having a closed adoption. Although he portrays the unknown mothers as saints who sacrifice their for the author's happiness, he has no empathy for what they may be feeling. Worse, he has no regard for the need of his adopted children to know their origins.

Please, for those of you considering adopting, forget this book and buy some of the excellent books on the adoption and real/natural/first/birth mother experience, such as those by B. J. Lifton.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having survived infertility I am always eager to read stories of other people's journeys to build a family. I was fascinated at the idea of this book being written by a man, and not just a regular guy, but a REAL writer. I am so glad I finally ordered it and I can't imagine why you can't wander into any bookstore and pick this one up - it ought to be standard reading for this topic. Brooks Hansen's humor makes the story readable even though, like most infertility stories, it has plenty of ugly moments. I appreciated his ability to strip his feelings naked, even when they were anything but complimentary. But what really knocked my socks off was that instead of being less interesting than the stories written by women (because of the lesser role the man typically plays in the world of fertility medicine) this was a MUCH better story than many of the women's tales precisely because the author did NOT take the shots, undergo the operations and indignities. From his slightly removed perspective the true gravity of the process was presented in bold relief. I found it both terrifying and exhilarating to have a taste of what my own husband's experience might have been as we underwent the heartbreak, over and over again.

Anyway, this was beautifully written with plenty of funny moments and sports references (you won't find THOSE in any other family building memoir) and had all the best elements of any good love story! Even if you don't have my macabre fascination with infertility this is an excellent memoir and will keep you glued to your chair!
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