I am inclined to agree with Claudia’s review of Born With Teeth. It is not an adoption reunion memoir. It is a memoir that has a thin thread of adoption reunion woven through it. Despite that, I still enjoyed reading it.
The adoption thread seems to be broken into three pieces for me. The first part of the book talks about Kate becoming pregnant by David. The section where she tells her mother about the pregnancy and her mother refuses to help made me wince. I could relate to the feeling expressed in these passages. I suspect many of us could. I could also relate to Kate’s refusal to get an abortion. I faced a similar choice and declined. While I was and still am hard core pro-choice, I did not want to abort my daughter. It would have been the easy choice. While I could not afford it I had a friend offer to pay for it. I declined. I wanted to keep her from the minute I knew I was pregnant. Read more in this blog for background on that aspect of my story.
The second part involves Kate in labor, being alone, making calls, getting to the hospital and such. This also made me wince. I had some pretty heavy duty flashbacks of my own experience of laboring and birthing alone. By that I mean, there was no one present that cared about me. Present were people that cared about acquiring my child and making sure she was delivered safely. The passages where Kate gives birth, has to beg to see her child in the nursery really caused my heart to pinch. How she managed to give birth and go to work and give birth to her show baby is beyond my comprehension.
The third part, where reunion actually happens is towards the end of the book. I found myself a bit disappointed here. This disappointment may be more indicative of my own state and reunion than of the authors writing about hers. The writing seemed to lack depth or emotion to me. However, I state that knowing that Kate Mulgrew was likely guarded even in writing this book. I have read many adoption memoirs and nearly all of them leave me feeling as though the author left much emotion out. I see this more with first mother stories than adoptees. I am going to guess I know why they do it. It is not easy to write that level of emotion and not risk disrupting your relationships. Safer to be a bit vague. Three adoptees who wrote more emotionally for my liking include Patrick McMahon, Jennifer Lauck and Christine Murphy.
Eighty percent of Kate’s book was about her life an actress. As a Mulgrew fan (from the days of Mary Ryan to Janeway to Red ), I did enjoy these stories outside of the adoption thread.
It is an easy read (arrived at my door Friday night and by Saturday afternoon I had read it all). You can get on Amazon if you are interested.