What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

What Was Mine

Rating: ★★★1/2

Genre: Fiction

Medium: Paperback

Synopsis: All Lucy wants is a baby.  And one day, she finds one.  All alone in a shopping cart in Ikea, Natalie is ripe for the taking.  Twenty years down the line, Natalie–now Mia–is still unaware of her mother’s crime.  In a thrilling novel about what it means to be a mother, follow both the new family and the severed one as they deal with the trials and tribulations about kidnapping and discovering who they really are.

Review: This book was so intriguing to me.  I’ve only ever been a daughter–never a mother in any way, shape, or form–so I’ve never learned the heartbreak of potentially never being able to have a child, or potentially having my child taken from me.  However, having only ever been a child, this book raised questions to me that I still haven’t found the answer for:  What if my mom wasn’t really my mom?  Would I want to meet my birth mom?  How betrayed would I feel, and how would I react?  Of course, I love my mom to pieces so knowing that I’m (hopefully) not a kidnapped child, I’d love to imagine that my reaction to all of that possibly happening would be fairly positive.

That being said, if it really turned out that I was kidnapped, I think my reaction would be similar to Mia’s, and that’s what makes this book so realistic.  While it slightly borders on the it’s-a-book-so-it-works and the there’s-a-pretty-good-explanation line, the reactions are genuine.  There’s the mother’s grief, the mom’s joy, and the daughter’s loss of a life that was never hers.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the shifting perspectives.  I don’t think this type of book could be written in any other way, and it’s worth noting tha tit’s not just the main characters it switches between: it’s the Ikea worker, it’s the ex-husband, it’s the aunt, it’s the new boyfriend as well.  All of these external points of view shed new lights on our characters, and it’s well worth it.

Another thing I thought was great was the inclusion of Chinese culture.  Mia’s nanny growing up is a Chinese woman she calls Ayi.  Through Ayi, or Wendy (as is her American name), we see a new perspective on what it means to be a mother, and what it means to be a mother from a different culture.  This added copious amounts of outside perspective to the story, and it was one I appreciated greatly.

Ultimately, this book was an enjoyable read, and it’s a book I’ll be glad to share with others.

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