Saturday, June 17, 2006

Book Five: Store-Bought Baby by Sandra Belton

read Saturday 5:20 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

(Another tear-jerker. Who knew being a mom would make it harder to be a children's book reviewer? I don't like reading about boys who died, I really don't.)

For Leah, the most awful part of a truly awful day--her brother's wake--is hearing a neighbor speculate that maybe it wasn't so hard for her parents to lose their son--not as hard as it would have been to lose Leah. Because she is their "natural" child, and he was only their legal one. Leah wants to choke the stupid woman: "Nobody in this house ever made a deal about Luce being adopted. Especially not Mama or Dad. Luce's realparents." Still, as Leah struggles to cope with her loss, she finds herself becoming obsessed with the idea of finding Luce's birth parents, for reasons she can't even begin to understand or explain.

This is a sad, yet warm story, with some fresh insights about the role adoption can play in the formation of a family. Perhaps its greatest success is how clearly Luce, present only in loving memory, comes to life. It's also an interesting example of "color-blind" writing; although Leah and her family are clearly black, race is never mentioned. (10-14)


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