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Publisher's Summary

Before A.M. Homes was born, she was put up for adoption. Her birth mother was a 22-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with children of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the story of what happened when, 30 years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes, renowned for the psychological accuracy and emotional intensity of her storytelling, tells how her birth parents initially made contact with her and what happened afterward (her mother stalked her and appeared unannounced at a reading) and what she was able to reconstruct about the story of their lives and families. Her birth mother, a complex and lonely woman, never married or had another child, and she died of kidney failure in 1998. Her birth father, who initially made overtures about inviting her into his family, never did.
The story then jumps forward several years, to when Homes opens the boxes of her mother's memorabilia. She had hoped to find her mother in those boxes, to know her secrets, but no relief came. She became increasingly obsessed with finding out as much as she could about all four parents and their families, even hiring researchers and spending hours poring through newspaper morgues, municipal archives, and genealogical Web sites.
This brave, daring, and funny book is a story about what it means to be adopted, but it is also about identity and how all of us define our sense of self and family.
©2007 A.M. Homes (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.
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Critic Reviews

"To my generation of writers, Homes is a kind of hero, and The Mistress's Daughter is the latest example of her fearlessness and brilliance. It is a compelling, devastating, and furiously good book written with an honesty that few of us would risk." (Zadie Smith)
"The Mistress's Daughter has the beguiling pull of mystery, memory, and surprise. I fell in love with it from the first page and read compulsively to the end. It lays bare those questions about our essential selves: How did we become who we are? What elements of inheritance, neglect, accident, and choice gave us our confused identity, our quirky personality, our urges to be wholly loved? As A.M. Homes shows, there are no definitive answers, but in our search for them, we find more important truths." (Amy Tan)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 07-23-08

Being a good listener rewards in the end

The book is really about listening as another person explores deep feelings about connection, family, adoption and responsibility for personal behavior and choices not limited by time. It is all too easy to judge such a free flowing stream of consciousness tale as it unfolds, however letting the story play itself out pulls all the threads together. The need for connection and story transcend adoption issues and pertain to anyone who has struggled to know themselves better.

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34 of 36 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Robin on 08-26-08

A journey worth taking!

I found this story compelling and worth the journey. Those who stated that they did not listen to the second half missed out! I will admit that I found myself "zoning out" in a few places and being reminded of the book of Numbers a couple of times. However, I believe this was an important aspect of Ms. Homes' journey and helped her immensely to heal. I love that she comes full circle in the end. I was so worried about her throughout! I am happy that she has realized what really matters! I did not find the narrator annoying or monotone. I actually enjoyed listening to Jane Adams. I thought she was very appropriate for this type of reading.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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