Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Forever Lily

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_32734NjWdk4/SSdapMGwGVI/AAAAAAAAAis/80VFNDpESOY/s320/forever+lily.jpg http://www.simonsays.com/assets/authorkey/36818921/C_36818921.jpg

Title: Forever Lily: An Unexpected Mother's Journey to Adoption in China
Author: Beth Nonte Russell
Pages: 240
Genre: Personal Memoir, Adoption
Yearly Count: 11

Beth Nonte Russell shares her story in this personal memoir of her voyage to China with her friend Alex. Alex has been trying to adopt a baby from China for a year and a half, when she gets the approval she chooses her friend Beth to go with her. Beth feels she is an unlikely choice, as they are just casual friends and she hasn't been very close in the last several months, but never a woman to turn down an adventure she agrees.

Alex goes throughout a series of doubt and withdrawals while they are in china, she says she just, "doesn't love this baby". The author takes the reader through her own roller coaster of emotions which are choreographed all too well with the manipulation of her friend Alex. She wants the baby, then she doesn't, wants it, then doesn't- the whole time Beth is falling more and more in love with this delightful baby girl. What could be her fate if not brought back to America? She is already months behind in physical and mental development, and soon will probably just fail to thrive.

I wished I would fall in love with this book, and I didn't. I thought it was interesting, but it was too much about the relationship between the two American women and not enough about the baby's or the orphanages or china. The little glimpses of those things that are there are beautiful and a joy to read about. All of the internal wars between the women- that is something that I could have done without. I think that if you were really interested in international adoption it might be different. This one just wasn't for me, I would have preferred the author to tell of a different adoption that wasn't so much about her relationship with Alex, more about their family, and how the girl ended up being integrated into their family.

Also (not to rip on it) but throughout the book there are dreams, dreams that are supposed to be her past connection with this particular child. It was too strange (and disjointed) and didn't really work for me.

What did you think? Did you read it and love it? How do you do when you have to write negative reviews? I can't make all my reviews glowing, and I do not make apologies, this one just wasn't for me.

Other Blogger Reviews:
The Book Nest
The Written Word
Ramya's Bookshelf
Book Chatter and Other Stuff


S. Krishna said...

I think this book sounds a bit...odd. Not really my type of book, thanks for the review!

bermudaonion said...

This isn't the first less than glowing review I've read for this book. Your review is great - fair and honest.

Mrs. B. said...

I reviewed this one too. :)
loved it.

Gwendolyn B. said...

I really enjoyed this book, but I have to admit that I read it as though it was fiction. The dream sequences were a story unto themselves, and I learned some things about Chinese culture and history. Considering it as a memoir, as it is meant to be, diminished it for me, and I don't think that was the author's intention!

Anna said...

Thanks for the honest review. I've seen a lot of mixed feelings about this one, especially when it comes to the dream scenes. This one's in my TBR pile, so I hope I can enjoy it.

Diary of an Eccentric

Jennifer said...

That all sounds very odd to me. Why would an acquaintance ask you to go to China while she adopts her child? I have questions about the perspective adoptive mother from the beginning. Who would do that? I may not have adopted Emma internationally, but that entire process is very, very personal and, in some ways, invasive for everyone. Were I to have done that alone, I would have asked my mother or my best friend to go with me. It's too much to share with someone you don't know well. I would have questioned the potential mother's stability. Bizarre. I don't think I want to read it. I really appreciate your review.

Literate Housewife

mominsanity said...

What a shame - I saw this book and was going to pick it up because I'm so interested in China - I took a survey history course in Chinese history in college - and I so wanted to learn more about the contemporary orphanages and little girls in China. I guess if I pick it up, I'll now know what to expect. What a shame - so much potential!

Serena said...

I haven't read this book, but from the reviews...it doesn't seem like this would be the book I was seeking for my cousin who has adopted two children in China.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Funny you mention the dream scenes...I have always hated those in just about any book. Don't know why, but they just creep me out. It can ruin a whole book for me. (I know, I know...I'm weird).

Ramya said...

i really wanted to like the book to.. the cover was beautiful and the premise - interesting .. but the dream sequences "over-fictionalized" the memoir for me and as you say, there seemed to be too much bickering between the women!

avisannschild said...

Thanks for the honest review! I haven't read this book but from your review and Ramya's I don't think it would be my cup of tea.

Callista said...

Just wanted to share the link to my review if you'd like to add it to your list. I added you to mine. My review is here I enjoyed the book so it would offer your readers another view of it.