Catching up on my reading

Actually, I’m catching up on writing about my reading. In the two months since my hand surgery and my move into a new (to us) house, I’ve been reading quite a bit. I just haven’t been sharing much. And now, because I find it difficult to hold more than one or two thoughts in my head at once, my reviews will be necessarily vague. Kind of like me. I know I read more than three books in two months, but these are the ones I’m sharing today.

First, if you haven’t read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, you must. World War II, Germany and France, again, but my oh my…a young, poor, orphaned German whiz kid whose only chance at an education and a future is to work for the Nazis and the blind, motherless daughter of the locksmith for a Paris museum. Radios and philosophy and natural science and imagination and courage beyond anything you can imagine. Brilliant.

Second, a gift. In on It: What Adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption by Elizabeth O’Toole, offers wise, sensitive and compassionate hints for the friends and family. Several relatives and friends have built families through adoption and more will, I’m sure. I felt myself cringing a bit at (dumb) questions I may have asked. Can I apologize here?  I’m SO SORRY. The main lesson here is to please respect everyone’s privacy including that of the adoptive child. The reasons why a couple choses to adopt, the means of adoption, the birthparents’ nationality (or reasons), and the terms of the adoption are really no ones business but theirs. The author’s preferred response to inappropriately intimate questions: “That’s not my information to share.” An excellent resource.

Lastly, I just finished Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming. The actor went in search of his own roots as well as the root of his father’s violent abuse against himself and his older brother. The search began because as an adult, Cumming couldn’t understand why he was so sad.
He writes “So the box in the attic stayed up there, gathering dust, neglected. Eventually I think we forgot about it completely. But the thing about boxes full of denial and years of unresolved pain and hurt is that eventually…they explode.”
Dark secrets fester and infect every experience. While the truth can hurt, not knowing can hurt more. In Cumming’s very personal and ultimately global quest to understand himself and his family, he comes to some degree of closure and peace. He offers both insight and thoughtful compassion for others who might have had similar troubles.

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