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Thursday, January 18, 2018

You Don't Look Adopted by Anne Heffron

You Don't Look Adopted by Anne Heffron
Published by Anne Heffron ISBN 9780692755648
Trade paperback, $9.99 ($3 on Kindle), 163 pages

One of the most important things that reading can do is to put the reader into the shoes of another person. For the writer, it can be a cathartic experience, especially when she writes about her own life.

Screenwriter Anne Heffron was adopted at ten weeks of age and writes about how that has colored her entire life in You Don't Look Adopted.  She begins her memoir by stating that for most of her life she has felt "both real and not real" because an infant is born "with a sense of self not separate from the mother", and she believes that her "brain took a nosedive in the gap between mothers".

We have always been told that adopted children should feel special because they were chosen by their family. But Heffron states that while that is true, in order to be chosen, you must first be unchosen. Heffron felt that no matter what reason her birth mother gave her up, she still chose to let her go. This thought caused Heffron to believe that there was something seriously wrong with her for her own mother to give her up.

She also wondered what happened to her and her mother in the ten weeks between her birth and her family adopting her. All her life she felt that something was wrong with her, and as a teen she sought out therapists and doctors to help battle with her "depression, eating disorders and inability to stick with jobs, schools and people."

Heffron was adopted by a couple who also adopted two boys. Her mother wanted to prove that she could have it all- take care of her family, run a household, and have a fabulous career. She was a writer, but her dream of writing a great book became the reality of being a stringer for a small town newspaper. Her mother was not a happy woman, and she took some of that unhappiness out on Anne.

Anne did eventually find her birth mother, but she did not want anything to do with Anne, and asked her not to contact her anymore. This led to even more difficulties for Anne.

Relationships were difficult for her. She was married multiple times, and when times were tough, she walked away or pushed others away. Her daughter going away to college completely unmoored her.

Teaching writing in a girls' juvenile hall was an eye-opening experience for Anne, and she told the girls there some of her life story. From that experience, and that of talking to others who were adopted and finding that many of them had similar feelings and experiences as she did, Anne found that "it's the stories we don't tell that keep us in various states of paralysis."

Anne Heffron lets the reader see inside her heart, soul and mind in this heartbreaking and honest memoir. It feels like we are reading her journal, similar to stream-of-consciousness, so it has a bit of an unpolished feel to it.  Her story brings attention to a subject I didn't know much about and I'm glad I read it.

Anne Heffron's website is here.

Thanks to TLC for putting me on Anne Heffron's tour. The rest of her tour stops are here:

Anne Heffron’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 8th: The Sketchy Reader
Wednesday, January 10th: I Brought a Book
Thursday, January 11th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, January 12th: Stranded in Chaos
Tuesday, January 16th: Run Wright
Wednesday, January 17th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, January 18th: Bookchickdi
Monday, January 22nd: Book Mama Blog
Wednesday, January 24th: Readaholic Zone

Friday, January 26th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books


  1. I don't have any direct experience with anyone who is adopted so this book would definitely be eye-opening to me!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  2. I love memoirs and this one does sound interesting but I'm not sure I'd like the stream of consciousness style.