Saturday, June 20, 2015

Half a World Away

Most of us have this idea of adoption as a sort of perfect completion. A couple chooses a child to become a part of their family and love makes them complete. The child, grateful to be chosen, is just like a natural born child. This novel blows that notion out of the water. The simple fact is no adoption is easy. Especially international adoption. The process of bonding with an adopted child is difficult and may never fully succeed (an experience confirmed by a few of my childhood friends who were adopted themselves). Half a World Away puts us into the life of Jaden, a Romanian boy adopted at age 8 with a serious attachment disorder. He hordes food, destroys possessions, and secretly believes his adopted parents (whom he mentally calls by their first names) dislike him and would prefer to be rid of him. When his parents decide to adopt another child, this brings to the forefront many of Jaden's issues and forces him to consider his own value and the notion of love. Kadohata takes us deep into Jaden's emotional world, allowing us to live his life along with him and make connections with him. We struggle to understand his parents and the world around him just as Jaden does. This is an emotionally complex story but one that will have us viewing our own families in a new light.

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