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What Was Mine: A Book Club Recommendation! Paperback – January 5, 2016
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About the Author
Helen Klein Ross is a poet and novelist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and in The Iowa Review where it won the 2014 Iowa Review award in poetry. She graduated from Cornell University and received an MFA from The New School. Helen lives with her husband in New York City and Salisbury, CT.
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While the idea of feeling anything but horror for such a woman would normally be a predominant one, I found myself empathizing with Lucy, the “kidnapper,” whose almost obsessive desire for a baby leads to such a horrific act. The author skillfully takes us through her thought processes, breaking them down into manageable moments that slowly turn into something almost palatable…and then, just when we think we can live with what she did, the repercussions start happening. Life comes undone.
With part of the story in Lucy’s voice, we come to understand her. But what about all those whose lives were damaged? We view the perspectives of Marilyn, the mother of the kidnapped child; other people in Lucy’s life; Mia herself; and more characters as the pages lead us to what happens after.
From Manhattan to California, and finally to China, the story unfolds into some surprising developments. The emotions that Mia feels upon learning of Lucy’s actions soon change as she realizes, finally, that she was who she was because of Lucy. And despite the biological connection with Marilyn, parts of her would always belong to the woman who raised her.
In some ways, the conclusion to What Was Mine: A Novel felt unfinished, as we are left not quite knowing what the outcome will be. But as we watch the pieces begin to coalesce, we are struck by how nothing is quite black and white, but in muted shades of gray. 4.5 stars.
After Mia's discovery of the truth and her introduction to her real mother and her stepfather and siblings, there are some flashbacks to her life with Lucy, the woman who snatched her. Mia realizes that she had a good childhood, not perfect but happy and normal. This book is a roller-coaster
ride. I felt such empathy for all the characters. I wanted to hug them all and give them a Hollywood ending. The ending was a little abrupt and disappointing until I realized that the author had given us enough information for us to speculate on her own as to the fate of the characters. I'm thinking baby steps. We can see the beginning of forgiveness and understanding before the last page. I would love a sequel. I read this book in three sessions. It was hard to put down. The short chapters made it relatively easy to read. The emotions were profound.
I liked this book pretty much until the ending. The circumstances which brought the whole episode to a close seemed a bit contrived and the ending was abrupt.
The characters were difficult to relate to. I really didn't ever like Lucy, her sister or any of the husbands (except Grant).
It's certainly not a bad book, just not my favorite read.