Acclaimed novelist Winterson (The Battle of the Sun, 2010, etc.) revisits her difficult childhood as an adoptee, chronicling the search for her biological mother.
The author ponders her youth and examines how those challenging years changed and shaped her as an adult. Frequently locked out on the doorstep by her abusive, Pentecostal, adoptive mother or often told she was “a fault to heaven, a fault against the dead, and a fault to nature,” Winterson wondered if she had ever been wanted, by her biological or adoptive mother. The author struggled with the ebb and flow of Mrs. Winterson’s love, finding escape from her mood swings in the local public library, where she devoured a wide variety of literature. When her secret stash of books was discovered and burned, Winterson rebelled by claiming she would write her own books one day. At age 16, she was kicked out of the house and forced to live in her car. Books and words brought comfort and led Winterson to Oxford and writing, but she descended into a deep depression when her lover left her. The search for her true identity and her birth mother helped bring her back from the darkness. Rich in detail and the history of the northern English town of Accrington, Winterson’s narrative allows readers to ponder, along with the author, the importance of feeling wanted and loved.
A moving, honest look at life as an abused adopted child.