YAEL (Associate Editor): Its a great argument for not telling your kid that theyre adopted. Maybe there are some things that are better left unknown.
JOANNA (Editor in Chief): Really? You cant be serious. Nothings more important that knowing where you come from.
EILEEN (Editorial Assistant): I might be biased because Im a really big fan of her other books. Which are pretty dark. In a Country of Mothers, the main character goes to a psychiatrist and talks about being adopted, and the psychiatrist realizes the patient is really her biological daughter and begins to stalk her. Its interesting to see parallels in her own life.
ABIGAIL (Deputy Editor): I dont think Id call this book dark though. Just cynical. LAUREN: Yeah and melodramatic. When she says the deep chaos that has been my existence ? Please, shes adopted, not a former child soldier.
YAEL: Or how about when she says about her biological dad, I imagine him fucking me. I dont know if thats dark or just wrong.
JOANNA: Er, wrong!
EILEEN:I dont remember that but Im glad I blocked it out.
LAUREN: Ugh, that was so blatantly Freud! The sexual tension she created with her father creeped me out. Maybe this is my own warped mind, but given the title The Mistresss Daughter, I kept thinking the fact that she had been bred of this affair was going to play a bigger role in the way she defined herself. You know, what does it say about me? Am I a slut, too?
ABIGAIL: Well, I did like the idea of looking into her identity. I mean, Ive been lucky enough to see my own grandparents grow old. I see elements of myself in them and it gives me a hint about how I might handle things later in life. So I can understand wanting to know where you come from. YAEL:What did you guys think about the way her Jewish upbringing played into it? She was so fixated on this idea of never having a Christmas tree and how because of that her family wasnt normal. And now, she has this biological father who does celebrate the Christmas but never invites her in. It reminded me of that Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry David thinks hed been adopted, finds his biological parents who werent Jewish and suddenly he was able to let go of all of his stereotypical Jewish neuroses.
LAUREN: I wanted to know more about her adoptive parents. She says in one paragraph that she never felt her adoptive mother really loved her because she had once lost a son. And thats it! Moving on And I was like, thats a whole book right there! That was the real stuff! But she never really went into it. The rest of it with all the genealogy stuff read like she was ranting in a journal that she kept and decided to publish.
YAEL: She never put it all out there, and I dont blame her I wouldnt want the whole world to know my business either. The idea of a memoir, working out very personal stuff in the public sphere, is kind of bizarre. That said, if you commit to writing one, you have to be prepared to lay yourself bare. Dont you?
JOANNA: Its a bit of a con to us poor readers if she doesnt.
ABIGAIL: At least the writing was really nice.
LAUREN: Yeahthat part when her biological mother is begging to meet her, and Homes writes I am tempted to tell her, You cant see me right now, because right now I am not visible to anyone, even myself. I have evaporated. Evaporated. It was such an interesting way of saying it.
YAEL: My favorite line was when she says I was suffering the deafness that comes in moments of great importance. Ive definitely experienced that. When someones telling you the most important piece of information youve ever heard and ten minutes later you cant remember the details. Its just too bad the story felt incomplete. But its probably incomplete in her own life, too.