No, reviewing it is difficult because the story it tells is so incredibly personal, the writing is so honest and the experiences it relates go right to the core of the author's identity. My Fathers' Daughter is the story of Hannah Pool, a successful British journalist who many will recognise from her writing in a national newspaper. However, Hannah Pool's writing style manages to make the book very accessible and there are touches of real humour throughout ("All I feel is numb. However I did feel that a short section when Hannah is in a hotel in Asmara, waiting to meet her family, could have been shortened slightly just to keep the "story" moving. Hannah Pool has written an eye-opening, fascinating and intensely honest and moving account of meeting her birth family for the first time. I admire her courage enormously: for undertaking the visit to Eritrea; for facing her demons head on, and for writing it all down and inviting everyone else in to experience her most personal thoughts and feelings with her.
Meeting a cousin in London ultimately led to her taking a two-week trip to Eritrea, where she met her biological father, several siblings and extended family. The book is more an emotional memoir than a travelogue: whether because the author is an especially sensitive person or because of the emotional nature of her trip (probably a combination of the two), she has a lot of feelings about everything and describes them in detail. What I really want to read is the book she writes 20 or 30 years after the trip, about how both her biological and adoptive families fit into her life.
Never though did I ever imagine what it might be like for someone who was adopted from a third world country to returne to the strange land of their birth.
Around the time I visited Eritrea I read two books - one about an Eritrean refugee making the treacherous journey out of Eritrea and the other about Hannah Pool, a British journalist who was born in a remote village in Eritrea and adopted from an orphanage, leaving a family she had never met. Hannah's mother had died giving birth to her, and her father, who already had a large family, put her into an orphanage for care. For many years she had no idea that she had any family other than her adopted one, until, at the age of 19 she received a letter from her brother, informing her that her father was still alive. At the age of 29 she finally found the courage to make the journey to the land of her birth and meet her large family.
While I am not an Eritrean, I lived in Asmara for most of my elementary school years. I left Asmara the year that Hannah was born, 1974. Even though I am a white American I had a special feeling when I lived there. A feeling I have never experienced anywhere else I have ever lived. I would love to go back some day.
My only criticism of this book is that it was 25% plot and 75% feelings and thoughts by the author.
But, the story is powerful and interesting.
To spend your life looking for clues in the faces of strangers...We all need to know why we were given up," (Hannah Pool). Children who are given up for adoption live their lives wondering why they were separated from their family. This book is great for teenagers who want to know more about others around them and how someone's life can change if they are given up for adoption.
All I can say is that I hope you read this book with eyes wide-open and look at your life through the vision this memoir gives you. Perhaps you need ot be a certain age to read this but i think if you are open enough Pool can get you to think about life and those lives around you without much effort simply because she told the story in first-person; not your typical memoir of today but one that allows you to live in her skin and experience all she has to offer.
Her adoptive parents had been told she was an orphan, so when she receives a letter from a cousin announcing that her birth father is living, and that she has a number of siblings and half-siblings in Eritrea, and cousins around the world, her world is turned upside down.