This incisive and accessible record of the middle-aged author's trip to China with her four-year-old daughter Lulu has a variety of remarkable aspects. Lulu was taken as a three-day-old infant to a local police station in her small industrial city after being found on a nearby bridge. She lived for seven months in a Chinese orphanage, a modestly run institution housing predominantly girls abandoned by parents under the influence of China's one-child policy. Emily, a journalist and novelist (Eve's Tattoo, 1991), had spent a significant part of her childhood in Taiwan and had traveled in China as an adult. A single white woman living in New York, she adopted Lulu in 1994, and from the beginning attended to her child's need to know about her birth culture. In 1998, she took Lulu to Wuhu, China, for a six-week stay, at a time that happened to coincide with the U.S. bombing of China's newly relocated embassy in Yugoslavia. Prager's daily accounting of the events of her family trip takes into consideration Lulu's adjustments to her identity as an adopted Chinese girl, the joy mother and daughter take in such spontaneous activities as roller skating and eating ice cream, and Chinese television's ongoing reports of the diplomatic situation, as well as the social treatment of Prager as an American in China and her ongoing efforts to find out what she can of Lulu's past so that she can give as much as she can to her child. Prager's capacity to share her child with the locals is gratifying to all; their generous responses to Lulu are delightful. This book will have appeal to anyone who likes a good family story, as well as to those in cross-cultural adoptive families, those with interests in howpolitical policies play out in culture, and to mother/daughter book groups. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Random House, Doubleday, Anchor, 238p. illus.,
This moving story of a single mother's two-month trip to Wuhu, China, in 2001 with her five-year-old adopted daughter, LuLu, combines memoir, travelog, and a bit of philosophy. A novelist (Roger Fishbite) and satirical columnist for the Village Voice, among other publications, Prager herself spent some of her childhood in LuLu's homeland. For anyone considering multicultural adoption or already involved in one, this compelling work offers encouragement and an example of how to help an adopted child get acquainted with her roots and build her sense of self. For others, it provides a wonderful view of a part of China seldom written about. Readers will also gain insight into the strengthening bonds between children and their adopted parents and the insecurities both feel. Following the trip, LuLu no longer exhibited frantic behavior. She seemed to have a better sense of herself and her heritage, which gave her more confidence, as well as a firmer comprehension of her adopted mother's commitment. Enthusiastically recommended. Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
An intimate, everyday portrait of a river city in China, where Prager ("Eve's Tattoo", 1991, etc.) adopted her daughter and later returned with her to gather impressions and information before the place underwent the tides of change. Prager, a novelist and humor writer, adopted Lulu from the city of Wuhu in southern China in late 1994. Lulu had been abandoned by her parents for reasons unknown, and Prager wanted to see the orphanage where Lulu spent her first seven months and learn whether there were any documents that might shed some light on her daughter's early life. "I'm a modest person," declares the author, "a humorist who's scared of feeling," and that is part of what gives her account such charm: She was forced to address profound feelings, and while she never shied away, she was also never glib, searching for words in a way that is sometimes rough but always sincere. While Prager describes the city as she and Lulu go about getting to know the place-they stayed for about six weeks, and the book is structured like an extended diary-she must also explain to five-year-old Lulu what exactly they are doing there-indeed, what it means to be adopted. This aspect of the story weaves itself around other experiences, visiting old tea houses and rock gardens and parks, struggling with bureaucrats and party members, coming across an outdoor park "where about twenty middle-aged couples are ballroom dancing to Chinese pop music emanating from the old Maoist PA speakers," and even more PAs spout Paul Robeson's "Old Man River" during a trip to the zoo. NATO bombed the Chinese embassy in Kosovo while they were in town, so their journey was truncated, although not before their snapshot ofWuhu, stolen out of time, was secure. An elegant sense of place, an emotive story of great vulnerability, and a wonderful gift from mother to daughter.
"Prager is a wonderful writer, able to merge feelings about adoption, motherhood and her own childhood with descriptions of the country and her daughter's reactions to her travels. . . . An important book." San Jose Mercury News
"Moving. . . . For anyone considering multicultural adoption . . . this compelling work offers encouragement and an example of how to help an adopted child get acquainted with her roots and her sense of self. For others it provides a wonderful view of a part of China seldom written about."Library Journal
“An intimate, everyday portrait...an elegant sense of place, an emotive story of great vulnerability, and a wonderful gift from mother to daughter.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Highly personal. . . . Filled with fascinating information. . . . A welcome addition to the growing literature on adoption.” —BookPage