Journalist Clarke’s story of her discovery that her biological mother was Carol “Cookie” Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole, a revelation that caused her to build a life-altering relationship with her through the exchange of letters, phone calls and postcards.
The author is an award-winning journalist and the happy mother of two. She is also the adopted daughter of two parents who gave her a wonderful life. When she visited the agency that handled her adoption, she only sought information on her genetic heritage, which she required for medical reasons. The details she received from the agency, however, as well as a series of remarkable coincidences, helped her realize that her birth mother was Cookie Cole, the daughter of the legendary musician. The author’s discovery forced her to acknowledge a deep-rooted curiosity she had about her birth mother since childhood. “All adoptees are curious about their beginnings,” she writes. “Anyone who claims otherwise (as I have many times) is lying.” So she reached out to Cookie in search of answers to the questions she had convinced herself, up until that point, that she could ignore. Clarke’s prose is elegant, crisp and deeply personal, and her narration is gripping, even after she reconnects with her biological mother and uncovers the truth about her own origins. Happy endings in life are seldom conclusions, and that Clarke gets one only complicated her story more. “Whose life is this anyway?” writes Cookie in one of her letters to her daughter, a fraught question coming from a woman who created life, only to have life force her to give her child away. Clarke effectively explores her crisis of identity by peeling back layer after layer of a complex, riveting personal history.
A captivating memoir about a daughter’s reunion with her birth mother and the intricate consequences it had on both their lives.