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The Lost Daughter: A Memoir [NOOK Book]

Overview

“I always hoped [Mary Williams] would tell her incredible story. She's a writer of uncommon clarity and humor, and the arrival of her memoir is cause for celebration." —Dave Eggers, author of What is the What

As she grew up in 1970s Oakland, California, role models for Mary Williams were few and far between: her father was often in prison, her older sister was a teenage ...
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The Lost Daughter: A Memoir

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Overview

“I always hoped [Mary Williams] would tell her incredible story. She's a writer of uncommon clarity and humor, and the arrival of her memoir is cause for celebration." —Dave Eggers, author of What is the What

As she grew up in 1970s Oakland, California, role models for Mary Williams were few and far between: her father was often in prison, her older sister was a teenage prostitute, and her hot-tempered mother struggled to raise six children alone. For all Mary knew, she was heading down a similar path.

But her life changed when she met Jane Fonda at summer camp in 1978. Fonda grew attached to the bright girl and eventually invited her to become part of her family, becoming the mother Mary never had. Mary’s life since has been one of adventure and opportunity—from hiking the Appalachian Trail solo, working with the Lost Boys of Sudan, and living in the frozen reaches of Antarctica. Her most courageous trip, though, involved returning to Oakland and reconnecting with her biological mother and family, many of whom she hadn’t seen since the day she left home. The Lost Daughter is a chronicle of her journey back in time, an exploration of fractured family bonds, and a moving epic of self-discovery.


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Superficially seen, Mary Williams has led a life of polarities. Raised in poverty by a fierce single mother of five, she grew up in Oakland, surrounded by Black Panther militants and prostitutes, one of whom was her big sister. When she was thirteen, she received a free pass, an invitation to a children's camp where she met and befriended Jane Fonda. Taken under the wing and then adopted by this mega-celebrity, Mary found herself grappling with the transition even as she was healing from the wounds of her former life. In this powerful memoir and affectionate portrait of her mother, Williams writes about returning to the Oakland she left so many years before and what that return taught her about herself.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101611067
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 113,483
  • File size: 13 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Mary Williams is the author of the children’s book Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. She has also written for McSweeney’s and O, The Oprah Magazine.
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Read an Excerpt

For years I kept my family life a secret from Jane. She knew that I came from a Panther background , but she knew nothing of my mother’s drinking, my shrinking family. When I was thirteen that finally changed. The first person I told my full story to was one of my camp counselors. The camp counselor told Jane. Jane asked me if what she heard was true, and for the first time I opened up to her about everything that was going on back in Oakland.  Soon after telling her this, Jane invited me to come live with her year-round in Santa Monica. I did not ask my mom’s permission. I just left. It was a normal thing in my family to be here one day and gone the next. From my small, run-down house in Oakland, I moved to Jane’s hacienda surrounded by flower gardens and avocado trees. Landing on the moon would have been less disorienting. She sat me down soon after I arrived and said, “I see you as my daughter now. If you want, you can call me Mom.” I also had new siblings, a brother named Troy, and two sisters, Vanessa and Nathalie. Jane became my greatest friend, my cheerleader, and a dedicated mother. Despite being a busy actress and activist, Jane was home most nights and often cooked dinner for us. Everything was new. Even something as seemingly simple as dinnertime was fraught. I had to prepare myself each night for my confrontation with “white people food”—some of it good (baked Alaska), some not so good (artichokes). And I was shocked to learn that people could disagree or dislike one another and still be civil.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2013

    This book hit me where very few books have in the past. excellen

    This book hit me where very few books have in the past. excellent reading, but not for the faint at heart:)

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 18, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A gripping story. Written with great honesty. At times sadness a

    A gripping story. Written with great honesty. At times sadness almost drips off the page.

    19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A wonderfully written masterpiece. Five stars!

    A wonderfully written masterpiece. Five stars!

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    The writer spent so much of her life keeping secrets, to finally

    The writer spent so much of her life keeping secrets, to finally put them out on the page must be almost euphoric for her. I was incredibly moved by this story. I highly recommend this book.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Jane Fonda - PUKE! American Traitor. Hank must be spinning! 000

    Jane Fonda - PUKE! American Traitor. Hank must be spinning! 0000 rating.

    5 out of 76 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Social Responsiibility

    Ignoring the fact Mary is the adopted daughter of Jane Fonda, The Lost Daughter, is an awesome example of a woman who was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape from the dangers of the inner city. She took that opportunity, gave back not only to her community, but saw the need for improved health education to African natives.

    Mary's compassion and curiosity help her overcome an abusive and oppressed childhood. Meanwhile, looking for other ways to help those who had similar experiences. I also liked the fact she recognized she could accomplish her goals with the help of positive roll models and her tenacity.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Lost daughter

    Honest, thoughtful and hopeful. This book reflects the will to persevere against all odds. It shows we can change the course of our lives if we are brave enough to take the chance. It also shows, "we are our brother keeper".

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Highly Recommend!

    Personable, brutally honest memoir of her life with no short cuts. High/lows, good/bad, Mary takes you through her life of survival, self redemption and forgiveness. You almost feel like you know her and most women can relate to some aspect of her life. I could not put the book down.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 29, 2013

    Look past the cover photo,  for those of readers that recall Jan

    Look past the cover photo,  for those of readers that recall Jane Fonda's anti-American tirades of the 60's.  This story is about the struggle of a life that persevered. It is a story of triumph of the human spirit. 

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    I hate Jane Fonda

    Jane Fonda is a trader WILL NEVER READ NOTHING WITH HER IN IT OR ANY TO DO WITH HER? SIT ON ANY JEEPS LATELY?

    3 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Highly Recommended!!

    I read thie book after watching an interview with the author on OWN. I mention the book to as many people as I can, so others will enjoy the book as much as I did. I wish there were more stars! Great read.


    -Bridgettenp

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2013

    A great book! Not for the faint of heart though. It really speak

    A great book! Not for the faint of heart though. It really speaks to the soul.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Jane Fonda's adopted daughter Mary Williams tells a story of sur

    Jane Fonda's adopted daughter Mary Williams tells a story of survival. It is healing to know she reconnected with the people from her past and forgave them. From start to finish it is a remarkable story. I would highly recommend The Lost Daughter as a quality summer read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    Very interesting story

    I was very interested in this lady that Jane Fonda adopted. I had not heard too much about her even though I am an older lady. I was wonderful to hear how Lawanda's life had improved throughout her life. She led a very interesting one once she got away from her abusive family. It was also nice to see that she did reconnect with her family and find the way to forgive what could not have been any different considering the only way her parents could take care of her.
    She can be very proud of herself and so can Jane for directing this poor little girl in the right direction. It was a wonderful story and shows how we can all find some good in what is going on around us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2014

    Excellent reading!

    I could not put this book down. Very well written. A story of love, courage and human emotions. I would definitely recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 17, 2014

    I Highly Recommend This

    This is an outstanding book Mary Williams has wrote about her growing up with a foster mom. She tells a fantastic story about her up bringing without a biological mother and how her foster mother help to raise her and shape her for todays world. This is a must read for all who are alone and was not raised by their biological mother.

    William B. Turner
    Author

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2013

    A very good read!!!

    I really enjoyed this book. I didn't think I would but the writing was so smooth and enjoyable. I never knew this other daughter existed. It's nice that she is out and we were all able to just enjoy her coming of age and maturing and not living in the environment she was born into. A very lucky woman who remains grounded thanks to Jane being grounded as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Great read

    Great reading, interesting, lessons on forgiveness and most important, pursue your dreams and face your fears

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    This book is an easy read that took me on an amazing journey fu

    This book is an easy read that took me on an amazing journey full of emotion. I felt SO sad for the author at times but I admire her for accepting Jane's helping hand, following her heart, chasing her dreams and making the most out of her life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    Poor thing should NOT have used that photo for the cover of her

    Poor thing should NOT have used that photo for the cover of her book.

    0 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

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