Simply told but deeply affecting, in the best-selling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore - and gets away with it for 21 years.
Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: She takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It's a secret she manages to keep for over two decades - from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.
When Lucy's now-grown daughter, Mia, discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.
Author Helen Klein Ross, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia's birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What Was Mine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and of the life-shattering effects of a single irrevocable moment.
©2016 Helen Klein Ross (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
I constantly flipped on who I disliked/sympathized with. Both Lucy and Marilyn are very annoying at different times, the author does a good job of showing the grey area between right and wrong. Mia's initial reaction and ultimate decision are realistic. The whole discovery of Lucy by Marilyn was the only part that seemed a bit contrived, but in general the story was fascinating.
I've just gotten hooked on audio book this last year & I love them. Now I can "read" a book & do other things like walk or hobbies.
Yes, it was such an interesting story and I know there was a true story that was very similar to it. The feelings of each character is what kept me interested. The way the real mother handled her pain and even how she forgave once she found the truth. Also, the daughter's feelings were very interesting to me. I still hate Lucy and I hate how she justified what she did. I think she is a sociopath and she could never justify enough for what she did.
I honestly did not like what this book was about because it was so painful to imagine but I wanted to find out how it got resolved and so I continued to listen. The narrators were excellent.
Each narrator performed wonderfully. I love each of these narrators, Love Julia Whelan and Cassandra Campbell.
She lived a lie and loved the enemy.
I hate Lucy, I hate her and she can never no matter how hard the author tries get me to feel sorry for her. She is a sociopath who is selfish and I do not think Mia should have given her a second chance. Once Mia has her first child, she will finally "get it".
Say something about yourself!
Really enjoyed this book, strayed from my normal suspense thrillers and glad I did. Ended was abrupt and left me wanting more! Would recommend to other readers. This is my first book with multiple narrators and it made the listening experience way more enjoyable!
What I appreciated most about this book is the way the story is told. It was like watching a documentary and live action at the same time. The different voices of the story lend depth to the characters and move the story along at a nice pace. What I didn't find as alluring was the last quarter, which seemed rushed and then ended abruptly. Also, I felt there was an undercurrent of judgement about today's busy moms. The haunting question this book leaves me with is when, if ever, are our children truly ours.
There's no crying in baseball or technology
This book is captivating, nuanced and compelling. Beautifully written, it engages the reader instantly. The structure introduces all the participants in a very organic way as the story develops. As the story progresses we learn and begin to understand the characters and their motives, and in the end, understanding the humanity and vulnerabilities of all of them. The audiobook was superb, the actors used an understated approach brought all the characters to life. –Monica Bay
This book is a must read for all parents.
What Was Mine reminded me so much of the book The Face on The Milk Carton because both stories revolved around a kidnapping and the little girl from both books share similar stories of love, confusion, mistrust and learning acceptance of their "other families" and ultimately forgiveness.
The narration of this story literally brought it to life. When you read books on paper, you can't hear emotions out loud and sometimes you miss them. I was so impressed with the performances of all the narrators. I fell in love with each character and understood them more from their unique tones and what the narrators brought to the characters. I felt like these characters were real, because their emotions SOUNDED real.
Lucy moved me the most because she wanted what most women want in life and she did the unthinkable to get what she wanted!
During their senior year of college in 1975, Lucy and Warren get pregnant and decided to go through with an abortion but upon changing her mind, Lucy miscarried.
Later, Warren and Lucy tried to have a baby the conventional way. They pursued parenthood through making love all the time. Being goal oriented people, the goal of having a child became the only thing that mattered to Lucy while Warren seemed to be interested in a childless life. Lucy would do whatever it took to become a mother. Scheduling sex, sending Tom to collection banks and going to fertility clinics where she would endure embryo selection, harvesting eggs and painful injections.
"I'll never forget the first time I had to give her a shot", said Warren when describing having to do fertility shots to Lucy.
One day Warren came home from work and saw their old office converted into a nursery without him knowing. This clearly upset him and made him feel like he wasn't enough for Lucy. She was enough for him, but her desperate and intense desire to fill the empty space in her arms, was too much for him. They separated a year later, and Tom eventually remarried. Lucy however, remained single and continued on her path towards becoming a mother.
One day Lucy decided she needed candles, and she innocently found herself strolling the aisles at Ikea and as fate would have it, she discovered a baby girl sitting alone, as if abandoned in a cart, slumped in a plastic infant carrier attached to the cart.
"It was as if the cart was a spaceship that had landed, bringing her to me." -Lucy
"If she had cried, I would have taken her back into the store, but she didn't."-Lucy
What would you do if you found your new and only baby missing when you turned away to make a phone call? This is every parent's worst nightmare. Marilyn and Tom Featherstone had a beautiful baby girl named Natalie that they only got to know and love for 4 months before the fateful August day at an Ikea where she was kidnapped while Marilyn took a phone call.
"I walked away from my baby."-Marilyn
I listened to this nonstop for the entire 8+ hours. This was such a captivating story. I felt immediately connected to the story as a mother myself, and it grasped me and didn't let go. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. So many emotions were evoked. Anger, confusion, happiness.. and many tears.
There were times when I would pause and find myself feeling very sad for Marilyn for losing her first baby to kidnapping, and at the same time hating Lucy for being the kidnapper. Then oddly enough, there were even more times when I found myself loving Lucy and appreciating that although she made a terrible choice to take Natalie and raise her (as her "adopted" daughter) whom she renamed Mia, I felt like she was sincere and very loving. Throughout the story, you could tell just how amazing she was as a mother. Protective, loving, supportive, encouraging.. and hardworking. The way Lucy justified her actions in hindsight, I constantly empathized with her grief and her regret.
Mia is the one who I struggled to identify with the most. I guess that should be expected. Her reactions were on point. How would I feel had I learned that my mother had kidnapped me as a child and I didn't know about it for 21 years?
I will say this, without giving the ending away.. I was satisfied with the outcome. I tried not to have expectations of the ending, but I couldn't help but find myself extremely anxious to get to the end. I had lots of tears.
This is a fantastic story and I hope everybody who reads it finds themselves bursting with emotions like I did.
I thought this book sounded like it had a lot of promise. The premise is exciting and has a lot of potential. Sounds good, right?
The book is written from the perspective of several different key players in the drama of a kidnapping. Unfortunately, all of these characters are extremely one-dimensional and, in my opinion, totally boring. There are so many missed opportunities in this book to really examine the depth of the relationships between these characters, the depth of who they are as individuals, and the impact of the events on their lives. There was a bit of that, but it seemed rushed and superficial. They become annoying and predictable caricatures. Ultimately, this book is poorly written, tedious, and boring.
Most of the narrators are adequate. However, the voice of the narrator for the character of Lucy was incredibly whiny and annoying.
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