After reading too many non-fictional books on adoption, it’s quite refreshing to find a novel on the same subject. This book may never appear in the list of recommended reading provided by your social worker, yet in this book the author manages to capture many realities of adoption and its process.

Read on if…

You are looking for a good novel about adoption, or if you are about to start in your adoption journey.

About this book:

This novel is inspired by the author’s real life experience of adopting an 8 years old boy.

The book is about Danny, an unusual boy who spent his entire life in the foster care system, and David, the man who will soon become his father, a single, gay, sci-fi writer who embarks on starting his own family.

It is no coincidence that the father in the story shares the same first name with the author, and in reading this book, it is clear how much of it is autobiographical. Although the author’s actually child never claimed to be an alien, the idea of being from another planet works well as a metaphor.

Danny is an abused, abandoned child, who never found anyone who could understand him or could look after him well. David is a slightly neurotic man who falls immediately in love with the child, although after the adoption, he struggles to understand him and move past his temper tantrums.

In this book, the author shares many of his opinions on family and adoption and captures exactly how it feels to go through an adoption process. He seems to have a good grasp on the real purpose of adoption, which is more that I could say about me when I first approached the process. Somewhere in the middle of the book he writes:

“Family building has to be a choice. The commitment has to come from both sides. Otherwise, it’s just another placement”

The book was turned into a movie in 2007. In the movie the father is not gay, nor single, but a man who becomes a widow while he and his wife were trying to adopt a child. An unfortunate choice, although the fact that David is gay has no real impact on the story, and quite rightly so.

What I liked:

  • It doesn’t idealise adoption.
  • It’s conversational, easy to read, and insanely cute.
  • The many references to the feelings and anxieties experienced by many during the adoption process.
  • Loved the opinions and reflections made by the author on the topic of adoption.

What I didn’t like:

  • The cover of the book (not the same used as image in this article) shows the two main characters cast in the movie, which I found annoying because I prefer imagining in my head what characters look like and how they speak.
  • The structure of the book get confusing just after the halfway point, although it gets better before the end. That portion of the book resemble more pages taken from the author’s own diary that part of the story.
  • Brief chapters centred on the typical life of a writer are in odd contrast with the rest of the story.

The Martian Child, thumb

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