Monthly Archives: April 2019

Judy Bryant, An Adoptee’s Search for Identity

This is a self-published memoir by someone I think I may have met when I was an ‘extra’ on an Open University Chapel Choir tour to Southwell Minster. (I wonder whether she was the person who enjoyed running baths very early in the morning, setting off the noisy plumbing in the place where we were staying?)

She unflinchingly narrates the difficulties she faced as a child, leading to a breakdown in early adulthood. These were: being given up for adoption; the death of her beloved adoptive mother at the age of seven; and a congenital condition which meant her education was disrupted through stays in hospital. One senses that she could have coped with any two of these, but not all three. Happily she took advantage of opportunities later on and enjoyed an interesting career in the legal profession.

She was able to contact members of her birth family (before this was officially permitted) and here the story is tantalisingly incomplete. I would rather have heard more about her meetings with her birth parents than all the details about her various cars and journeys in them! Possibly some details have been blurred; we are told that her half-brother (who died a year after she was reunited with him) was an undergraduate at Oxford when she was in her mid-twenties, but also that he pushed her in her pram, implying that he was older than her.

The memoir might have benefited from an editor, to focus more on the essential story and less on various distractions along the way. But it is not an unrelieved ‘misery memoir’ and the author is able to stand back and do dispassionate self-analysis with a reasonably flowing prose style.

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