A painful, poignant, and ultimately triumphant story that will have special meaning for adoptees.




A debut memoir from a woman who was adopted at birth that explores the issues of identity and family.

Stice was adopted by Kenneth and Mona Venda Kirchner in Detroit in 1943, and she was 4 years old when she was told that she wasn’t their biological daughter. The information was barely comprehensible to her as a child, but it planted a question in her mind that she would spend most of her life trying to solve: “Who am I?” When she was 5, she told her cousin Mona that she was adopted, and Mona replied: “It means your mama isn’t your real mama.” It was the first of several comments that made Stice feel she wasn’t an equal member of the family that she thought of as her own. Although she was an only child, her parents both came from large families, including brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and many cousins, and so she felt connected to a wide, extended clan—until she didn’t. The most hurtful comment came from her father; a normal battle between parent and teenager turned especially nasty when the 14-year-old Stice was invited to a dance and her father refused to give her permission to go: “ ‘We have to be so careful with you,’ he says, ‘because we don’t know if you are going to turn out to be bad like your mother. Bad blood. It happens.’ ” In 2003, a few years after the death of her parents, Stice finally embarked on an earnest, and eventually successful, search for her biological family. For financial reasons, the Kirchner family moved around frequently, and as a result, this narrative is enhanced by a great variety of backdrops, including Michigan, Kentucky, and Kansas; Stice and her beloved grandmother spent many summers visiting family members. Comparisons of city and suburban life versus farm life, as well as Northern versus Southern culture, form a portrait of mid-20th-century America. The young Stice emerges as a feisty child with a keen sense of justice. For instance, she was outraged when the family went to a segregated beach on Lake St. Claire, Michigan, and she mused: “A vague, uneasy feeling has come over me. I can’t name it, but it means, I don’t like being a Gentile if that’s the way we treat other people.” For the author, it was one more confirmation that she was somehow different. She reveals that at one family reunion, one of her cousins, Gerald, whispered to her: “Why do you like all those family stories so much? It’s not even your family.” This adoption story has an intriguing extra wrinkle, as her parents had actually met Stice’s birth mother but didn’t share that information due to a fear of divided loyalties. Many vignettes in this eloquent narrative could be those of any rebellious child growing up in midcentury America, but the author also layers her memoir with an ever present fear of rejection.

A painful, poignant, and ultimately triumphant story that will have special meaning for adoptees.

Pub Date: May 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-84976-7

Page Count: 332

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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