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The Family Nobody Wanted Hardcover – October 18, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October 18, 2001

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews


“This unique adventure tells how a young couple changed the course of their life from empty frustration to loving fulfillment. . . [Doss] tells her story with the friendly simplicity of a woman talking over a back fence.” —New York Times Book Review

“Thoroughly joyous . . . It is impossible, in an appraisal of this length, to do justice to the true spirit of brotherly love and tolerance that pervades the book; similarly, to the genuine humor and pathos which are part of the story. The book will find many readers.”—Library Journal

About the Author

Helen Doss has been a writer and an internationally known advocate for adoptive families for more than fifty years. She has published numerous articles in such national periodicals as American Girl and Reader's Digest, and is the author of thirteen books, including All the Children of the World and Really Real Family and the coauthor (with Carl Doss) of If You Adopt a Child. She lives with her husband Roger Reed in Yuba City, California. Mary Battenfeld is Associate Professor of Humanities at Wheelock College. She is the author of several articles on teaching and multicultural literature, and the mother of two children adopted from India. She lives in the Boston area.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Northeastern; Subsequent edition (October 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555535038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555535032
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,705,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read this book at the age of 10, after ordering it from Scholastic book services. I have since read it uncountable numbers of times, each re-reading bringing warm feelings at the familiar passages. This reprint has been highly anticipated, as I had wondered for years what had happened to the Doss family after the end of the book. It is the story of a man and a woman, and their desire for a family. But it is also much more. It is the tale of the strength found in a loving family, a family made by love and not biology. It is a reminder that we are all family, flesh and blood or not, skin color and ancestry aside. And it is filled with the humor that only small active children can provide! I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages, and would suggest it to families to read aloud together.
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By A Customer on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
In 1991 our local high school was selling off some old books from their library. I picked up a book with a rather sad looking cover. Upon opening it I saw that it was titled, "The Family Nobody Wanted" and it was covered in scribble. The scribble on this 1954 copyright says this, "Wonderful book to read! This well be one of the best books you have ever read! Oh Yea!; Good Book, Read it!; This book is real cool!; This book is great and great for a book report!; Kid! Read this book! It is stunning!; Notice everybody! This is the a real cool book, so people take head and read this book!; This is a great book and you will not regret reading it!" There are about 20 more reviews written throughout the book by high school students. With that in mind I figured I had better buy it for the 25 cents they were asking. I was so delighted to read it but had misplaced it just short of finishing during a move. My husband has read it and cried, laughed, giggled, all while learning what a struggle this family must have gone through to adopt and deal with prejudices. I have recently found it in our move to Germany and I am over joyed to have finished it finally. I hold this book as a treasure in my life representing the true nature of humanity. What a wonderful story! Thanks for trusting your instincts Helen Doss and sharing your personal life with us! What a blessing.
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Format: Hardcover
Only my closest friends are given the privilege of borrowing this delightfully written true story; the long out-of-print and (before the days of the internet) irreplaceable book has been one of my most closely guarded treasures since childhood. Any family with several small children, of course, will have a store of hilarious anecdotes; children raised with love combine insouciant joy with freedom from adult assumptions and habits of thought, so that any house full of love and children is a house full of unpredictability and laughter. But Helen Doss, unlike most parents, can capture her children in her writing and pass the joy on to us. I don't know anyone who has managed to read the book through without at some point laughing to the point of tears.
But the book is much more than a connection of Readers' Digest anecdotes strung together. Ms. Doss reveals, through deft and honest touches, her own weaknesses and struggles, her impetuosity and her grit. She communicates with power the pain that can come in so many different ways to a woman with a tremendous need to love, especially when obstacles - infertility, unreasonable adoption agencies, poverty - rise up to keep her from satisfying that need. And the portrait of her husband Carl, who changes as much as the children do, is vivid and telling. The Carl who says, "Let's take `em all" at the end of the book is a very different Carl from the one who agrees to the first adoption largely to humor his wife and to keep her from moping weepily and endlessly about the house, and whose annual refrain for many years is, "This is the last one!" You expect him to come on board, of course; but his path is a bit surprising and most revealing of the essence of the man.
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Format: Paperback
When I recieved this book as a gift from my brother(see Ken Pierce's Review) I actually cried from happiness. I had no idea he was the one who had taken the battered copy from our family home, and have searched for the last fifteen years for another one. I had finally given up, and simply told my children, "If you never get to read it, you will have missed one of the greatest books ever written." It's re-release is a blessing that I am glad to share with them.
The new addition has a forword by Mary Battenfield which, unfortunately, makes this book sound like a social justice primer. Instead it is a book of love, joy, and laughter in situations that "should" have left the author and her family bitter instead of blessed.
When I first read this book I was too young to truly understand racism, and was simply gripped by the way Mrs. Doss made her children come to life in my mind. I could relate to the children, as their personalities, not their race, gave each a unique voice.
Now that I am an adult, I understand that the Dosses had a wisdom, love, and faith that transcended their culture. The family and the book prove that one doesn't have to preach to change the world. I can truly say that my life is better from having been introduced to both.
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