Twice a Daughter by Julie Ryan McGue was an engaging memoir! It was hard to stop reading when Julie was on the cusp of finding out some information about her birth parents.
Julie is adopted. She is also a twin. Because their adoption was closed, she and her sister lack both a health history and their adoption papers―which becomes an issue for Julie when, at forty-eight years old, she finds herself facing several serious health issues.
To launch the probe into her closed adoption, Julie first needs the support of her sister. The twins talk things over, and make a pact: Julie will approach their adoptive parents for the adoption paperwork and investigate search options, and the sisters will split the costs involved in locating their birth relatives. But their adoptive parents aren’t happy that their daughters want to locate their birth parents―and that is only the first of many obstacles Julie will come up against as she digs into her background.
Julie’s search for her birth relatives spans years and involves a search agency, a PI, a confidential intermediary, a judge, an adoption agency, a social worker, and a genealogist. By journey’s end, what began as a simple desire for a family medical history has evolved into a complicated quest―one that unearths secrets, lies, and family members that are literally right next door.
Like I said above, it was hard to stop reading this book when Julie was about to discover something about her birth family. It was really interesting to read an account of trying to find birth parents, too, as I’ve never read an account like this. I know people go searching for their adoptive parents, but I’ve never read a memoir about it.
I actually felt anticipatory nerves as she was about to discover something. For that reason, I enjoyed it! I also liked her insights into being adopted and wanting to discover her lineage.
The book did get a little slow for me in between those breakthrough parts, and the writing was pretty simple. Overall I thought that worked pretty well, but it also added to the slowness for me at times.
If you’re interested in reading an account of searching for birth parents (while keeping a good relationship with your adoptive parents), I’d recommend picking this one up! I’m giving it 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4).