Lorraine Opens a Hole

I am woefully behind on a personal review of Lorraine Dusky new book Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption. I would love to say this delay was due to an overabundance of work, winning the lottery and running off to Turks and Cacos or even lounging at the side of my in ground pool catching rays for days.  It is none of the aforementioned.  It is something entirely different (see below).

I can offer that I thought the book was incredibly well written, painfully moving and superbly architected. By this I mean that Dusky was brilliant in her decision to root her personal experience in the landscape of adoption.  Just as you get to a point where you might doubt something, Lorraine provides factual citations or inserts documentation detailing the “fault lines of adoption”.  I internally stood up and clapped at these parts of the book.  I have thought of a similar approach to my own memoir as it relates to the Kurtz Network of Baby Brokers.

I struggle with offering more than the above at this time.  While I generally rave about adoption books, memoirs (see the Books category in this blog), this book has stopped me in my tracks. I feel as if I am trudging through deep emotional mud to get to the other side of a review. Candidly, every time I go to write about this in depth, I write angry words.  I want to fling that emotional mud I am walking through. This book surfaced my anger.  While I do not run from anger I do not want to project it on to Lorraines’ book.

I have been pondering why this book has made me angry.  I have concluded, for now, that Lorraine’s story hit closer to home than most.  Lorraine’s family background (Polish, Irish, middle class, Catholic) is nearly identical to mine.  Lorraine’s push-pull relationships with the men in her life strongly resembles my relationship with my daughters father and other men I dated (or married) post surrender. Lorraine’s desire to work her way through college, to be a career woman, a writer, could have been written by me.  When she writes about Patrick, I visually saw my own uncles (one named Patrick) who were gregarious, NYC, Irish men (with a taste for the drink).

In a word we all can relate to, this book was “triggering” for me. As I have written many times here in the ten plus years of this blog, just when I think I am good, golden, peachy with my adoption and non-reunion situation, something sets me off kilter.  I walk on sea legs for a few weeks.

I encourage all to read it. I applaud Lorraine for writing it.  When I am recovered a bit more, I will share more thoughts. My lack of commentary should not be a reflection of the book, rather of my tender state – almost thirty years post surrender. It is THAT good and THAT well written.

You can get the book on Amazon.  Indivudals banned from Amazon (like me) will be happy to know you can get it on Barnes and Noble too! Read about it at The Sag Harbor News. Visit Lorraine author page on Facebook.

18 Thoughts.

  1. I ordered it on Kindle last night and am about halfway through it. It is extremely well written. I find that the books that most mirror our own experience are often the most triggering for us. This one is a tough one for many of us. All I can think of is how brave Lorraine is for “going there” to write this if it is triggering for me just reading it. Oddly, I am finding that I am more easily triggered and less able to compartmentalize the older I get. Seems funny….

    • Hey Sandy – Thanks for the comment and validation. I say “exactly” to your entire comment. Totally agree on all points.

  2. Suz–
    When I read about what the book is stirring up for mothers especially, I have a weird reaction. Because I know the only way to get the message out that giving up a child is a lifelong loss is to write it as best as I knew how…but then I feel that some mothers themselves won’t want to read it because it certainly is going to remind them of the pain that never quite recedes. And if that happens, then the book won’t have an impact. There are places in the book that I can’t read aloud myself without breaking down–and so I don’t.

    “Like” is a funny word in relation to this book. Thank you for writing about what it brought up in you. I’m sorry it has to be painful, but I hope the writing is good enough that it stirs feelings in people NOT IMMEDIATELY connected, but will understand what needs to change: the way the world thinks about adoption.

    And the only way to do that is to tell it like it was for me.

    • I completely agree with the importance of writing and publishing – no matter the triggering it causes to me or other mothers. This is very real pain and injustice and you explain it cleary and succinctly. I hope you get press and readership far and wide.

      I def do not “like” the book but as an adoption reform activist I LOVE that you wrote it. Thank you.

  3. I think that healing comes in a spiral. I think I’m past something and *bam* a new trigger hits.

    Thanks for this review. I’m looking forward to reading Lorraine’s book and learning more about the fault lines.

    • Lori – I LOVE that spiral reference. I get it and can relate (and it reminds me of the big man in the maze tattoo I have on my back! as you walk through the maze, forward, you still walk passed old hurts).

  4. Pingback: Book Giveaway - Hole In My Heart by Lorraine Dusky | Writing My Wrongs

  5. Suz – I have been wondering and peeking and waiting for your review. Something held me back from asking and now I understand. Your story Suz and mine have such parallels – I am considering going to a conference and start processing my feelings. 28 years after my son’s adoption I am in need of healing and acceptance.

    • If you go to a conference, let me know which one! I will try and meet you. I can also give you some insight into good ones, not so good ones, great ones. Some really push the adoption koolaid where as others provided a more balanced view. I recommend considering the latter!

  6. I first heard of Lorraine Dusky back in 1979, when her first memoir “Birthmark” was published. That was the very first time I realized that there were other women out there somewhere who had gone through what I had gone through, who felt the same way I felt, who had never forgotten their lost children for one minute…just like I had never forgotten my son. Lorraine gave me the gift of hope for the first time since I had surrendered my newborn in 1972.

    I look forward to reading the final rendition of “Hole in My Heart” and learning more about what Lorraine and her daughter, Jane, experienced during their reunion of more than 25 years…the triumphs, the sadness, the love, the joy, the incredible challenges.

    Yes, I know without a doubt this brilliant new book will “trigger” many of us, not only natural mothers but also adoptees. But I think we can all use the triggers as a tool for healing and change. Bravo, Lorraine, for your courage by giving us all a voice…a voice that will never again be silenced.

    • Thank you for the comment Debbie. I am a year older than Lorraine’s daughter Jane. My own daughter was surrendered at 3 days old after a five month stay in a maternity home 1000 miles from my family home. Despite the near 20 + year difference in our surrendering experiences, so much of Lorraine’s echoed mine (clearly by my reaction). I applaud her as well. This is a story that MUST be told. Someday, maybe, with strength, guidance, mentorship I may be able to finally craft my own to add to the body of knowledge and experience. Fingers crossed!

  7. My heart breaks that we even need to experience this loss and trauma calling it adoption and not forced abduction — but as they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I hate that saying but it is true for me as an adoptee. I do want to read this but I am sure it will trigger me too.

  8. I can’t wait to read the book, even though I suspect it will leave me a blubbering mess. For me, sometimes, it’s good to have a “trigger” to unblock feelings I might be holding too tight. Sometimes I need a good cry.

  9. As a mother of loss I have been following Lorraine’s writings for a few years now. For me she has voiced so eloquently and with such great detail all of the joys and pain that is part of our journey, feelings that I was not even aware of.
    Our stories need to be told, we have all been silent for too too long. I am sure that once I pick up her book I will not be putting it down soon. I envisage many lightbulb moments to come.

  10. Interesting take… Since I read the first book, it is still in my collection, your review makes me wish to try the second one as well.

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