Adoption has been the topic on people's lips for years now. Whether it is "pro-lifers" advocating for pregnant women to rather give up a child for adoption rather than abort the fetus or people who cannot have children of their own choosing to give that love to a child birthed by someone else, those who end up giving up their children do so for various reasons. Whatever the reason, Lorraine Dusky deepens the narrative concerning the overwhelming circumstances that push birth parents to relinquish their child, the aftermath of reaching for the lifeline that is adoption, and how adoption (and its related legislation) affects the concerned child, specifically when it comes to the child's identity in Hole in My Heart: Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption.
The book is a memoir that is divided into various sections that encapsulate the part of the journey that Lorraine Dusky is walking at that time. Dusky is a mother who gave up her daughter. In this book, she writes about her experience with such grace and tenderness that her writing talent is undeniable. Her ability to tell her story is also made more impactful by how rounded it is. The book not only captures her personal experience but she contextualizes her experiences in what was happening in the United States of America in general. Contextualizing her reality in that fashion made her story more accessible, grounded, and relatable even if one has not walked in her shoes or lived during those times. This was a rich and enriching story to read. The excitement, pain, hope, and grief have all been spilled on the pages of this book like inkblots that force one to perform a Rorschach test on the state of affairs and see things that might not have been that clear at first.
As much as I loved many things about the book, I must acknowledge some of its shortfalls. It had some formatting issues in that the pictures in the book were placed in places where they usually cut sentences in the middle and were placed before they were contextualized. The tone of the book was another issue for me. As much as I understand the personal and sensitive nature of Dusky's story, I found the tone to be very 'woe is me' in that it pointed blame in many directions. This is not to say that the blame (like the one placed on Patrick) was misplaced or the law is not falling short (because it is), it is that it almost made the book into a propaganda piece. It became a very slanted read which seemed to project the idea that Dusky was a victim of various forces conspiring against her, without acknowledging many other angles and differently affected parties to the same story. Even with the parts I did not like, I still think that readers who enjoy political and sociological discourse drizzled with some family drama might love this book as it is definitely a page-turner.