Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CHILDREN OF THE MANSE by Lewis Richard Luchs


by Lewis Richard Luchs

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0578035239

In the 1940s, one family adopts four abandoned siblings in this true and tender recollection written by the eldest son.

When a health issue triggers a search for their biological family’s medical history, the author and his sister, now middle-aged, sift through a bureaucratic haystack of adoption records and letters from the county home where they, and their two siblings, had spent two grim years. Even before that lowly stretch in the county’s care, the Luchs children had a chaotic home life with their alcoholic father—a petty criminal who, after serving time in prison, disappeared from their lives—and their unstable mother, who frequently abandoned them. But enter a compassionate social worker who, at young Luchs’ insistence, promised to keep the children together and found a loving and well-educated Presbyterian minister and his wife who unflinchingly welcomed all four into their comfortable home. Descriptive details abound, bringing the book to life through its many charming stories, usually involving Janey, the youngest of the family. As the eldest, the author has a keener memory of the neglect and abuses that he and his siblings endured, and, thus, bears the deepest scars. While cherishing the handful of happy times he had with his biological father, Luchs recounts his conflicted feelings for the man, and that Luchs forlornly held out hope that he would see him again. The author does an admirable job of examining the complex emotions he has toward his biological and adoptive parents and describes his struggle to fully embrace his adoptive parents and relinquish his role as surrogate parent to his siblings. This well-written, honest book would be best suited for those who have an interest in the adoption system of the past, or for those who enjoy the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

A touching story of hope, courage, generosity and the resiliency of children.