HAPPY 350TH BOOK REVIEW!
To celebrate this momentous milestone, I present to you one of the best stories I have ever read.
All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.
Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.
Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?
I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started reading it, but the first chapter grabbed my attention. Spoilers: the story starts out with Edie saying she never thought of herself as different until her first day of kindergarten when her teacher said to her, “Wow. What are you? Where are you from?” What kind of teacher would ask a 5-year-old their race? Setting aside the fact that a teacher is asking this question, what 5-year-old is going to know how to answer that? Why are some people so obsessed with other people’s ethnicity/race/nationality? What are they writing a biography about the person? Leave them alone. Sure, sometimes I would like to know someone else’s race (just because I’m curious) but I would never ask someone to their face, especially not within moments of meeting them. If you are going to ask someone what their race is, word it in a better way than “What are you?” If someone ever asks you ‘what are you?’ here’s a suggestion for a reply.
Look it up. It’s worth it. I’m going to say that I’m Callipygian if I’m ever asked if I’m Chinese again. (I’m not by the way, I’m half Pacific Islander, half White/Caucasian).
I’m getting way off topic here. Being asked about ones’ race is only a small part of the story. The mystery of the family secret is what kept me reading.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ve decided to put it like this:
The secret is like a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle and in the beginning, Edie only has a few edge pieces to work with. As Edie learn more by reading the other Edith’s letters and learning more of her story, she’s able to put the boarder of the puzzle together. When she is finally told the story of what happened to the other Edith’s and why her mother was put up for adoption, more and more puzzle pieces are put into place but it’s not until that final piece is in place, do you see the full picture and understand the whole mystery.
For those of you who don’t understand my simile, basically you’re not going to understand the full weight of the family secret until the story’s climax. No matter what you think the secret is, you’re never going to guess the truth. When I first read, I was like “OMG! I did not see that coming!”
After you’ve learned the whole story, you might ask yourself if Edith should’ve been told the whole story sooner in life. There’s no definitive answer to that question.
This story was inspired by the author’s own life and her family’s history. Be sure to read the Author’s Note to learn more about the Native American side of this story.