Books I Have Loved: Mamalita and The Anti-Romantic Child

I’ve been reading some good stuff lately. I love a good, engrossing memoir, and these were both tough to put down.

Mamalita: An Adoption MemoirMamalita: An Adoption Memoir by Jessica O’Dwyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this memoir of a procedurally tough Guatemalan adoption, which I know others who’ve lived through. It reminded me of Love in the Driest Season. An unflinching look at both Guatemala and its corrupt systems, and at adoptive parents, besides. It’s an exciting and even suspenseful read, as well, and more great exploratory inner memoir–how much is the author capable of, and how much can she take– more than “parenting memoir.”

The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected JoyThe Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy by Priscilla Gilman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fantastic memoir of living with high-functioning Asbergers. Gilman writes about the ways her husband and son, both with Asbergers symptoms (if not a specific diagnosis) appealed to her extremely romantic outlook on life using constant references to her beloved romantic poetry, in particular Wordsworth–and then chronicles how her realization that the traits she’d seen as unique and magical were also symptoms–or maybe even just symptoms. The way she writes about how she herself manages to accept that a particular trait can be both symptom and personality is fascinating. I’m not going to lie to you–I am not a poetry scholar, and at times I was overwhelmed by the depth of the references, but I loved this book just the same. It’s a memoir in the vein of An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination–literary as well as deeply revealing.

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2 Responses to “Books I Have Loved: Mamalita and The Anti-Romantic Child”

  1. I really loved “An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination”! I have heard of Mamalita and want to read it. I just requested “No Riding Bikes in the house without a Helmet” from my library. Excited about that one.

  2. KJ (aka Lola Granola) says:

    I preferred Mamalita for its immediacy. I liked No RIding Bikes, and in some ways I appreciate that she waited years before writing, so she had more of a sense of how things turned out–but it did put a gloss of nostalgia over the whole thing, so that it felt anecdotal rather than raw in spots. They’re both good in different ways.

    And if you liked Figment, you have really got to get the Anti-Romantic Child. I think you’d love it.