I Got Lost in What-If Land While Reading The Kid
The Kid by Sapphire was a hard read for me. It took me awhile to make my way through the book, and not for the reasons that might be assumed at first look. My adoption issues got all kinds of mashed up into this reading and I felt a heavy weight of sadness and fear as I read along.
My issues weren't some of what I've read elsewhere. How the conversations took place and the way in which they spoke? I adapted to that rather quickly and really felt as though it had a flow once I got into it. The graphic language? I've been known to cuss, so I wasn't fazed. The violence or the sexuality issues or anything else? No. I was fine with all of that.
But when I stopped to think what might have happened to my relinquished daughter if things had gone differently... I got kind of emotional. What-if's began rolling around in my head. If I had died during childbirth and she was placed into the foster care system or an orphanage. Or if the supports in my life didn't exist and something happened to me; where would my sons go?
I found myself stumbling through various what-if scenarios as I read. It's ridiculous, of course, and I try to avoid tossing myself into that place. It's not healthy. And when it's caused by a fictional story that has absolutely no relation to what my story looked liked, well, it means that I need to step back and reevaluate why I'm here in the first place.
I was there in the first place because I read the majority of the book while on a visit with my daughter and her parents. Open adoption has afforded me the opportunity to see that my daughter is not only alive, but thriving. She is safe. She is happy. She is crazy smart and wicked beautiful. No one has been harming her, forcing her to do things that she doesn't want to do (other than eat her vegetables) and she is growing up to be an awesome young lady.
As I put that all in perspective, about 3/4 of the way through the book, I was able to calm the heck down and continue reading the book for what it was. I am wondering if others who have experienced loss would delve into the what-if mindset while reading.
Did I enjoy the book? It's hard to separate what I was going through at the time -- visit-induced anxiety -- with what I was reading. I think that if I had read the book at a different time of year, not during a visit, I would have reacted better. The characters were interesting and the writing was, quite honestly, phenomenal (once you got used to it). I think it was my fault for reading it when I did. I wouldn't have an issue recommending it to my friends, so I think it was a time-place-in-life issue for me.
Did you have any emotional reactions to reading The Kid -- and not just for Abdul, but about stuff in your own life?
Family Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land (the latter of which is her adoption blog). She is a freelance writer and photographer.
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