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FINDING FAMILY

MY SEARCH FOR ROOTS AND THE SECRETS IN MY DNA

An engaging, page-turning memoir that thoughtfully puts together the pieces of a family puzzle.

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In this debut memoir, one man embarks on a nearly three-decade quest to find his biological family.

Hill details his extensive journey of self-discovery, and he tries to uncover the identity of his biological parents. When Hill was 18, he accidentally learned that he was adopted. Many years later, his adoptive father, on his deathbed, revealed some startling facts about Hill's biological family. The news didn’t unnerve Hill, but instead sparked his curiosity. He began investigating his true identity, with the hope of finding living blood relatives—a search that would last 26 years. His adopted mother had done her best to erase the adoption’s paper trail, and the author’s task was filled with dead ends, wrong turns and tedium. His research even stagnates for long periods in his life. But with the help of friends and advocates, he eventually uncovers his birth mother’s identity, and then his father’s. Hill’s objective was simply “to know the truth about my birth and I didn’t want to hurt anybody.” Although both his biological parents were deceased, Hill did find new family members, including a brother, a sister and multiple cousins, with whom he built long-lasting relationships. He also grew to have a newfound appreciation for the love his adopted parents gave him. Hill’s prose is clear and straightforward throughout, marked by a methodological tone that reflects his careers in science and marketing. Seamlessly and descriptively, he folds a decades-long process into a comprehensible narrative. His years of meticulous note taking translate into an inspiring story about his dedicated search for the truth.

An engaging, page-turning memoir that thoughtfully puts together the pieces of a family puzzle. 

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-1475190830

Page Count: 260

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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