15 Women Writers Discuss Their Favorite Overlooked Books
Two things that make any reader happy: an enticing recommendation from a fellow booklover and an underappreciated work that turns out to be a gem.
15 of 15
Jacqueline Woodson won a 2014 National Book Award for Brown Girl Dreaming.
What child doesn't occasionally fantasize that maybe she's been adopted and one day her real parents will show up to rescue her from the crazy clan she's stuck in? Who doesn't question the identity the world endeavors to tether her to even as she struggles to create her own self? And who isn't fascinated by the dynamics of other people's families? Or maybe it's only me. Perhaps that's why I regularly revisit the world inside Catherine McKinley's The Book of Sarahs: A Family in Parts. The first time I picked up McKinley's memoir, I felt like I had fallen into my own life, though in truth her narrative is far removed from my own. Catherine, the biracial adopted daughter of a white couple, sets out to find her "true" mom and dad and discovers a Jewish birth mother and an African American father. The Book of Sarahs questions everything from motherhood to transracial adoption to coming out. It's written for adults, but inevitably takes me back to childhood reveries of escape. These days, though, I also appreciate the book from the other side—as a mother making choices that will change the course of my children's lives.