By: Lauren J. Sharkey - Akashic Books, $15.95
Description: Rowan Kelly knows she’s lucky. After all, if she hadn’t been adopted, she could have spent her days in a rice paddy, or a windowless warehouse assembling iPhones—they make iPhones in Korea, right?
Either way, slowly dying of boredom on Long Island is surely better than the alternative
But as she matures, she realizes that she’ll never know if she has her mother’s eyes, or if she’d be in America at all had her adoptive parents been able to conceive.
Verdict: With all of that running through her head, each and every day, Rowan sets out to prove that she can be someone’s first choice.
After running away from home — and her parents’ rules — and ending up beaten, barefoot, and topless on a Pennsylvania street courtesy of Bad Boy Number One, Rowan attaches herself to Never-Going-to-Commit.
When that doesn’t work out, she fully abandons self-respect and begins browsing Craigslist personals. But as Rowan dives deeper into the world of casual encounters with strangers, she discovers what she’s really looking for.
With every page's heartbeat, 'Inconvenient Daughter' is a book that brings forth the story of a transracially adopted girl in such a way that brings you into her world; and never lets you out until the very, abrupt end.
Rowan is coming to terms with a sense of belonging, which in these "new normal" times we are all experiencing in our own ways, but what Sharkey manages to smoothly showcase is how her very own experiences parlay into those of Rowan; and her relationship with, amongst others, her adoptive mother.
Told in a first person stream of consciousness style, Sharkey's storytelling begins with her being in a hospital following a traumatic incident and never lets up thereafter.
I have to say that during this revealing, intriguing book we not only learn that Rowan was adopted from Korea as a baby by white parents in Long Island, New York - with the story following onward unveiling her emotional struggles thereafter - but Sharkey dispels some myths surrounding transracial adoption, the ties that bind, and what it means to belong.
Man, I was crying long before a third of the way through the book and that's a rare experience for me, trust me!
Some of these encounters that Rowan goes through make you just want to reach out and grab Rowan, pull her in for a massive hug and a warm, comforting word in her ear.
Flashing back and forward in various plot points, showing us how certain things Rowan is going through today, how they were once planted within her psyche as acorns back in her youth. I usually don't like such things, especially in films, but it actually works here.
In closing, if you are looking for an A-Z form of cliff note here, well, and without giving away any spoilers, Rowan's journey to healing, and a form of redemption too, is a five year quest - and one that leaves you begging for a sequel.
LAUREN J. SHARKEY is a writer, teacher, and transracial adoptee. After her birth in South Korea, she was adopted by Irish Catholic parents and raised on Long Island.
Sharkey’s creative nonfiction has appeared in the Asian American Feminist Collective’s digital storytelling project, First Times, as well as several anthologies including I Am Strength! and Women under Scrutiny.
'Inconvenient Daughter' is her debut novel, and loosely based on her experience as a Korean adoptee.
You can follow her at ljsharks.com, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @theljsharks.
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