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Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir

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Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir PDF, ePub eBook In her younger years, Jillian Lauren was a college dropout, a drug addict, and an international concubine in the Prince of Brunei’s harem, an experience she immortalized in her bestselling memoir, Some Girls. In her thirties, Jillian's most radical act is learning the steadying power of love when she and her rock star husband adopt an Ethiopian child with special needs.  A In her younger years, Jillian Lauren was a college dropout, a drug addict, and an international concubine in the Prince of Brunei’s harem, an experience she immortalized in her bestselling memoir, Some Girls. In her thirties, Jillian's most radical act is learning the steadying power of love when she and her rock star husband adopt an Ethiopian child with special needs.  After Jillian loses a close friend to drugs, she herself is saved by her fierce, bold love for her son as she fights to make him—and herself—feel safe and at home in the world. Exploring complex ideas of identity and reinvention, Everything You Ever Wanted is a must-read for everyone, especially every mother, who has ever hoped for a second act in life. “A punk rock Scheherazade” (Margaret Cho) shares the zigzagging path that took her from harem member to PTA member…

30 review for Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tony DuShane

    Jillian is a writer with guts. This book is more than a memoir of adopting her son Tariku, it's about the human condition. Jillian dug deep for her third book and it shows. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you read her first book about her experience in a harem, you know that her life experience is deep. This memoir strips the layers back even more. I'm not a guy who runs out and searches for memoirs on adoption....yet this book is a punch in the gut and a warm embrace all at once.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    This book...this book...THIS BOOK! Fuck... it hits me so, so hard in the heart. I don’t remember anything making me feel this much emotion. She is such a brilliant writer but also, the story is just...heartbreaking and life-affirming at the same time. A week ago, I was thinking about the idea of becoming a foster parent or adopting at some point in the future and then SOMEHOW started reading this (not knowing even what it was about) and it just kinda confirmed all the thoughts I had. It sounds s This book...this book...THIS BOOK! Fuck... it hits me so, so hard in the heart. I don’t remember anything making me feel this much emotion. She is such a brilliant writer but also, the story is just...heartbreaking and life-affirming at the same time. A week ago, I was thinking about the idea of becoming a foster parent or adopting at some point in the future and then SOMEHOW started reading this (not knowing even what it was about) and it just kinda confirmed all the thoughts I had. It sounds so cheesy but...to hear about childhood trauma talked about so vividly and tangibly was mind-blowing. I highly recommend this book to ANYONE. I’ve never had a child, and, except for a few moments in my life, haven’t even wanted one, but this softened my heart to the whole thing. I have so much more empathy for parents now.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Danna

    I am surprised by how much I loved Jillian Lauren's Everything You Ever Wanted, a book about the hurdles of parenting. As a childless, not-interested in mothering, single woman, a book about exactly the opposite held little appeal. I read it anyway because I was swept-off-my-feet in love with Lauren's first memoir, Some Girls. Lauren proves for the third time that she has a beautiful and uniquely poetic writing style. I was immediately caught by her story, and continually awed by her brutal hone I am surprised by how much I loved Jillian Lauren's Everything You Ever Wanted, a book about the hurdles of parenting. As a childless, not-interested in mothering, single woman, a book about exactly the opposite held little appeal. I read it anyway because I was swept-off-my-feet in love with Lauren's first memoir, Some Girls. Lauren proves for the third time that she has a beautiful and uniquely poetic writing style. I was immediately caught by her story, and continually awed by her brutal honesty. It's a rare thing to hear how impossible parenting can feel, how challenging a child can be, and the flailing failures of motherhood. Lauren writes about it all, which aroused compassion and empathy in me. I wanted to see her son succeed; Lauren's desperation is palpable. Most of all, this is a book of faith. Belief that families can be grown, that love has the power to change, and that, above all, spirits are salvageable. Yes, spirits are salvageable. Favorite quotes: "Every mom I meet offers an endless list of things that can apparently make the difference between your child winning the national chess championship and winning the domino tournament in a maximum security prison" (91-2). "I lift the shades to a brightening sky smudged with clouds the color of Creamsicles and a full moon hanging over a little white farmhouse. Green and gold fields of sunflowers turn their expectant faces to the horizon. This kind of sunrise is a gift to baristas, farmers, insomniacs, and mothers" (157-8). "I have always thought that at the end of the world, Jen will be the last person standing, kept company only by the roaches and Cher" (196-7). "I am on Matt's couch again. Half the time I think I am irretrievably lost and half the time I know that I will not be here forever. This disgusting place with this love of my life. Not Matt, of course. Gross. Not even hero in. Okay, heroin, yes, heroism. But really it's the relief. The floating glaze of today and today and today. Is it so much to ask for, some relief? Says everyone who has ever made a deal with the devil. Is it so much to ask for? "This is how it feels: My back opens up with waves of light. Radiance flows around my shoulder blades, hooks through the web of my rib cage, and spreads out like wings. Then I rock shut and my need washes over me like rain. How can I leave?" (224-5). "...this same me, one hand always clinging to a buoyant balloon of hope, as ghastly as things seem. What on earth gave me the gall to dream of this life today, when I was nothing but appetite, a pure specimen of selfishness and single-minded desire?" (225-6).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Patrick O'Neil

    Beautifully written, strong, heartfelt, and deeply moving - READ IT!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristan

    Not sure everyone will appreciate this book as much as I did. This memoir focuses on the adoption of her son and the following parenting struggles. I have a lot of respect for her brutal honesty when she writes about some of her toughest parenting moments.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tami Elliott

    Wow.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Richardson

    I received an early copy of this book through the Penguin First to Read program. This story of a family adopting an Ethiopian child starts off slow, but builds to a wonderful ending, not quite "happily ever after", but more "merrily we go along" that brought me great joy. Jillian and Scott tried to have children on their own, but decided to go the adoption route and had to travel half way across the world to pick their child up in Africa. Neither of them are the "ideal couple" for adoption, she wa I received an early copy of this book through the Penguin First to Read program. This story of a family adopting an Ethiopian child starts off slow, but builds to a wonderful ending, not quite "happily ever after", but more "merrily we go along" that brought me great joy. Jillian and Scott tried to have children on their own, but decided to go the adoption route and had to travel half way across the world to pick their child up in Africa. Neither of them are the "ideal couple" for adoption, she was once in a harem and had a drug problem and he is a bass guitar player for Weezer. They are both determined to be the best parents they can be. Isn't that what is really necessary? Tariku is not an easy child to raise, but they never give up on him and I was really pulling for them to make it past all their hurdles. I have six natural children of my own and could identify with all the individual problems you can have with a child. Tariku likes to bite and hit and they have a difficult time finding a school that will work with them to get him better adjusted. Finally things do come together and it seems that the hazardous journey will come to an end with a big Tariku sandwich hug. "He puts his arms around my waist and stands there beside me. He holds my hand and kisses it. He whispers in my ear, “I love you to the moon and back two thousand hundred times.” This is a remarkably truthful story of a family coming together and growing stronger every day. I highly recommend it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    Lauren was writing Some Girls at the time that the events of Everything You Ever Wanted were taking place, and while normally I'm not a huge fan of memoir-meta—that is, memoirists writing about writing their memoirs—it makes a lot of sense here because, well, it's part of the story. How do you become a parent when your uterus says no? How do you not, when it's the one thing you've been desperate to do? How do you reconcile a colourful past with a new, more 'traditional' role as 'mother'? How do Lauren was writing Some Girls at the time that the events of Everything You Ever Wanted were taking place, and while normally I'm not a huge fan of memoir-meta—that is, memoirists writing about writing their memoirs—it makes a lot of sense here because, well, it's part of the story. How do you become a parent when your uterus says no? How do you not, when it's the one thing you've been desperate to do? How do you reconcile a colourful past with a new, more 'traditional' role as 'mother'? How do you balance parent and writer? And, most pressingly, what do you do when there is clearly something wrong with your child, but doctors write it off? As much as I loved Some Girls—which was a lot, considering that I'm hanging on to my copy despite the fact that I'm moving in a month and a half and really need to downsize my book collection—it would be hard for me to make an argument that it was better than Everything You Ever Wanted. Because...Everything is a harder story, I think. It doesn't have the 'you read a book about what?' factor to carry it through if for whatever reason things lag, and it doesn't need it. It's messy and honest and hopeful.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Cataloged as memoir, but also an adoption book. Jillian is married to the bass player of the band Weezer, but also has a colorful personal back-story. (The couple live in the L.A. area of California.) After fertility issues, they decide to adopt from Ethiopia. A valuable resource for those waiting to adopt or who've adopted. Bibliography includes resources for attachment and sensory issues. Author also has a blog. This book provided perspective for me personally at an opportune time and reminded Cataloged as memoir, but also an adoption book. Jillian is married to the bass player of the band Weezer, but also has a colorful personal back-story. (The couple live in the L.A. area of California.) After fertility issues, they decide to adopt from Ethiopia. A valuable resource for those waiting to adopt or who've adopted. Bibliography includes resources for attachment and sensory issues. Author also has a blog. This book provided perspective for me personally at an opportune time and reminded me to feel grateful for all that we have and brought back memories of "waiting". "We have three months to wait before T's case makes it through court in Ethiopia and we can go over there to bring him home. ...I fill the months with preparation. There is plenty to do, lists upon lists. ...There are open suitcases on the floor of our room for weeks before our departure. On the changing table sits a checklist for our trip that seems to only grow with each item I tick off." (p. 62 & 63). Sounded like us before our 2nd trip(s) to Russia. Pages 126 & 127 also particularly resonated with me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alanna

    Wow, but Jillian Lauren has had a crazy life. And man, does she know how to write about it. This, her second memoir, focuses on her marriage and struggle with infertility and her ultimate decision to adopt a boy from Ethiopia. When he has attachment issues, her ability to throw herself into trying to figure out how best to help him is remarkable. I already knew that parenting was hard, but I can't even imagine dealing with a toddler who has had emotional trauma. Lauren keeps this book incredibly Wow, but Jillian Lauren has had a crazy life. And man, does she know how to write about it. This, her second memoir, focuses on her marriage and struggle with infertility and her ultimate decision to adopt a boy from Ethiopia. When he has attachment issues, her ability to throw herself into trying to figure out how best to help him is remarkable. I already knew that parenting was hard, but I can't even imagine dealing with a toddler who has had emotional trauma. Lauren keeps this book incredibly honest (something that I think is essential in a memoir) and it is often very sweet and funny and unbearably sad. And her wonderful writing makes the whole thing beautiful. Now I have to decide if I want to read her first memoir that details her life in a harem and as a drug addict...??? 4/11/19 I just read this for the second time, and I'm updating it to 5 stars. I think having read Lauren's other memoir, Some Girls and getting a better understanding of her backstory made me appreciate this book even more. Lauren is so very, very talented. I want to be best friends with her.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Ray

    I didn’t know anything about Jillian Lauren before, I just love adoption memoirs. This novel should probably be required reading before adoption so you are prepared to handle the challenges. Jillian struggles with infertility and then she and her husband decide to adopt from Ethiopia. This is the story of adopting Tariku. She gets to meet his birth mother while overseas before she takes him home. This holds special meaning for her, as she herself was adopted. When she brings T home, she faces un I didn’t know anything about Jillian Lauren before, I just love adoption memoirs. This novel should probably be required reading before adoption so you are prepared to handle the challenges. Jillian struggles with infertility and then she and her husband decide to adopt from Ethiopia. This is the story of adopting Tariku. She gets to meet his birth mother while overseas before she takes him home. This holds special meaning for her, as she herself was adopted. When she brings T home, she faces unexpected challenges. He pushes her away. He is aggressive toward her and toward other child, biting and hitting them. He gets kicked out of preschool. Jillian searches for answers, but they don’t come easily. Eventually, she learns about trauma and sensory processing disorder. Although T will always have his challenges, Jillian and her husband become powerful advocates for their child. This was an inspirational novel about the power of unconditional love and persistence.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol Wakefield

    Pretty much a page turner. Will she and adopted child survive their individual demons or not. I became somewhat distrustful of her judgement eventually. Why in the world, when she is trying to raise a badly damaged child and needs so much help does she find it necessary at that moment in time to publish a tell all book about her experiences with sex and drugs prior to the adoption, a book which alienates her parents and understandably so. Does this represent lots of buried angst coming out and i Pretty much a page turner. Will she and adopted child survive their individual demons or not. I became somewhat distrustful of her judgement eventually. Why in the world, when she is trying to raise a badly damaged child and needs so much help does she find it necessary at that moment in time to publish a tell all book about her experiences with sex and drugs prior to the adoption, a book which alienates her parents and understandably so. Does this represent lots of buried angst coming out and is there more that might be affecting her child rearing abilities? Tarik will go through a lot more difficult periods in life--try teen age years. I for one am not certain that Jill's decisions will get them through these later years of chaos. Unless these books make enough money to pay for the masses of therapy the family needs and will likely continue to need.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I have read Jillian's first memoir and feel like the reading of this second memoir was enriched because I "knew" her back story. This memoir is, however, a stand-alone tribute to the power of love, and the reward of tenacity. It is a vibrantly written story of a special little boy and all of Jillian's struggles to give him the best possible chance in life. She succeeds brilliantly, and I feel so much respect for someone who never once tried to make her amazing kid fit into the constraints of con I have read Jillian's first memoir and feel like the reading of this second memoir was enriched because I "knew" her back story. This memoir is, however, a stand-alone tribute to the power of love, and the reward of tenacity. It is a vibrantly written story of a special little boy and all of Jillian's struggles to give him the best possible chance in life. She succeeds brilliantly, and I feel so much respect for someone who never once tried to make her amazing kid fit into the constraints of conventionality. She always saw him for the unique gifted child he was. This journey she has taken to give this little boy a great start in life is a wonderful thing to read about. Highly recommend this book for any parent or step parent who has ever struggled to meet the needs of their child.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    Jillian Lauren gives a vulnerable, raw look at her adoption of an Ethiopian child. The parts that resonated the most with me were the beginning and end - the difficulties she had conceiving, the emotionality of that, and later on, when she finally "got what she wanted," which on some level was the ability to provide what her child needed. There were some chapters in the middle about all the various challenges and stigmas she faced after she and her husband brought their kid home that felt redund Jillian Lauren gives a vulnerable, raw look at her adoption of an Ethiopian child. The parts that resonated the most with me were the beginning and end - the difficulties she had conceiving, the emotionality of that, and later on, when she finally "got what she wanted," which on some level was the ability to provide what her child needed. There were some chapters in the middle about all the various challenges and stigmas she faced after she and her husband brought their kid home that felt redundant. But I supposed they were a necessary to show how many tactics and ways they tried to cope with the situation they were in.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, especially because as a child-free woman I sometimes don't like to swim in the monotony of lengthy descriptions about child rearing (and there were a few paragraphs of describing cake and etc that were more of interest to the writer than the reader) but the writing is so strong and poetic and compelling and contemplative. I found myself wanting to use many of the writing techniques here. I like how the relationships are shown in such a round wa I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, especially because as a child-free woman I sometimes don't like to swim in the monotony of lengthy descriptions about child rearing (and there were a few paragraphs of describing cake and etc that were more of interest to the writer than the reader) but the writing is so strong and poetic and compelling and contemplative. I found myself wanting to use many of the writing techniques here. I like how the relationships are shown in such a round way, with joys and failures as well.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This is some really ballsy writing. Loved it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elana Peled

    I loved every moment of this book. On a par with everything Anne Lamont wrote about being a single parent but framed around her experience as an adoptive parent, Jillian Lauren ultimately writes about the redemptive power of love.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Oh my. This is my life (minus the harem, drugs and rock star husband). This is my child and my life with my child. She says my truth... In a way I could never explain to people who don't have SPD kids

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Beautifully written. Thank you, Jillian, for sharing both the dreamy and traumatic sides of adoption. And offering your story as healing for others struggling through the same season in their story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Fite

    What an amazing relief it was to read about another family struggling to understand SPD.

  21. 4 out of 5

    SaraJane

    pg. 13 "(Becoming a mother) is my second chance, my redemption story. To be so unwanted and so wanted at the same time can carve a fault line in you. I expect motherhood to finally unite this duality. It will settle the question of whether or not I'm needed. Motherhood is going to be the story that justifies my life, riddled with mistakes and missteps." pg. 111 "It takes sitting through so, so many hours of guesswork and frustration and boredom to reach a heartbeat of connection, of understanding pg. 13 "(Becoming a mother) is my second chance, my redemption story. To be so unwanted and so wanted at the same time can carve a fault line in you. I expect motherhood to finally unite this duality. It will settle the question of whether or not I'm needed. Motherhood is going to be the story that justifies my life, riddled with mistakes and missteps." pg. 111 "It takes sitting through so, so many hours of guesswork and frustration and boredom to reach a heartbeat of connection, of understanding." pg. 126 "The general perception is that adopted children are expected to immediately and unequivocally acquire a sense of overwhelming gratitude for not being starving, abandoned, dying of malaria in a developing country. That little boy, who has lost everything he has ever known and loved, in many cases repeatedly? How could he misbehave? Doesn't he know that he is so lucky? I can't walk to any of these friends about the struggles that are beginning to surface with my son. I want to wall out the world and protect him from their judgements. It is not surprising, is it? That it's taking a while for his brain to make sense of this. That it's taking a minute for him to trust. It's not surprising that he needs some extra help. But this is only really clear to me in the face of other people's judgements. This is the mama lion in me. In my darkest moments, when I am not so bold, I hear whispers of the same fears and doubts." pg. 135 "People are constantly saying: Oh, it's a boy thing. Oh, it's a stage. Oh, everyone goes through that. They mean to be helpful, but I am left feeling lonely and inadequate. If everyone goes through this, why does it feel so insurmountable?" pg. 145 "Two things are clear to me: that I have never loved anything or anyone in this world the way I love my son; and that love simply isn't enough to guide me. I need help." pg. 173 "I fear their judgement, but mine is worse: if I were just around more, if I didn't have a babysitter, if I never yelled at him, if, if, if.... Tears prick my eyes. Did I think that motherhood was going to make me feel a part of something? It has done exactly the opposite. I'm more isolated than I've ever been." pg. 188 "You have to keep in mind that my kid didn't have parents for a while at a crucial time in his development and this has repercussions. We're working it out. We're healing. We're doing great, actually. And our version of doing great looks different from how it does for kids who have had a typical attachment cycle in the first three years of life. So he's going to need a little extra attention." pg. 193 "I rock him and we sit there for a good long time. Longer than he's let me hold him in ages. Warmth floods my limbs and it's as if my brain is bathed suddenly in a wash of serotonin. We are survivors, the two of us. We're loved. We're safe. We're going to be okay, my son and I. I know this as surely as I knew he was my son the minute I saw his picture. As surely as I have ever known anything." pg. 205 "Nothing I've encountered in my life has hurled me into darkness as fiercely as this rejection by my son. Not death,...not being disowned, not depressions, nothing. Even when I'm able to remain grounded and patient and not take it personally all day long (it's a rare day, but it happens) come bedtime I still find myself in tears, thinking that in a million years I never imagined being a mother would feel like this. I go over and over it in my head. What are the things about our turbulent relationship that might be my fault? What might I be able to control, to change simply by changing me? As if changing were that easy, but I can't help running through the possibilities. What if I worked less? What if I yelled less? What if I was better at the life balance? What if I was more fun? What if I was better? Would that make my child love me? But even as I castigate myself, I also see a more likely story. With all of the trauma and transition in his short life, it's logical that he would make sure to do the rejecting rather than risk being hurt again." pg. 237 "Children are raised by communities, not individuals." pg. 247 "Every mother has her past, I figure. Every woman has a big idea of what will make her acceptable as a mother, what will put the USDA stamp of approval on her and make her feel worthy of this human experience. And every mother has her whole self, which rarely aligns with either pole. This house is full of love and warmth and music. And we try like hell; really we do. Make a mistake and start again."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fryeday

    The writing in this book is at times so pretty that it reads like poetry or what I imagine poetry to read like since I actually don’t read poetry. Because of that I almost thought I made a mistake in trying this one. I’m glad I kept going. The book is a really raw account on the author’s entrance into motherhood. She’s adopted a son from Ethiopia. Though her foray into motherhood looks different from mine, I quickly realized what I also very quickly realize talking to any mom, we can go through The writing in this book is at times so pretty that it reads like poetry or what I imagine poetry to read like since I actually don’t read poetry. Because of that I almost thought I made a mistake in trying this one. I’m glad I kept going. The book is a really raw account on the author’s entrance into motherhood. She’s adopted a son from Ethiopia. Though her foray into motherhood looks different from mine, I quickly realized what I also very quickly realize talking to any mom, we can go through so many similar things that it really does at times seem to be one of the closest ways to relate to another human. The author is really open about her challenges, frustrations, anger and despair. That made the book very easy for me to read. I could picture everything so clearly. She’s careful to note that this book is her experience solely and that her son reserves his right to tell his own story so there were things that she felt may border a line of preventing him from authentically doing that one day and so she left them out. There’s such an interesting theme of trauma in this book and how society can kind of downplay what that may look like from person to person just because of the thought that everyone deals with some kind of trauma. This book makes clear that that’s no reason to ignore someone’s trauma and not treat it the best you can or be compassionate towards it. I definitely look at it in a much different way than I did before. Interested to read more from this author.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lauren DePino

    When I picked up Everything You Ever Wanted, I already knew I loved Jillian Lauren’s writing, but I didn’t think it was possible to love it even more. From the beautiful lyric opening about Los Angeles light to the candid passages about the struggles that come with parenting—Jillian has written a gorgeously told story about how she builds her adoptive family. Perhaps what I love most about the book is how Jillian’s love for her son is so big and real, it spills off the page and into the heart of When I picked up Everything You Ever Wanted, I already knew I loved Jillian Lauren’s writing, but I didn’t think it was possible to love it even more. From the beautiful lyric opening about Los Angeles light to the candid passages about the struggles that come with parenting—Jillian has written a gorgeously told story about how she builds her adoptive family. Perhaps what I love most about the book is how Jillian’s love for her son is so big and real, it spills off the page and into the heart of the reader. I underlined too many passages to cite, but a couple are: “…even shaking with fear, you can still scale the fence.” “A yoga teacher once told me: if you truly knew all that people had been through, you would get down on your knees and kiss the feet of every person you came across.” “I have learned to release my expectations. Sometimes, you have to be content to face east instead of west, miss the eclipse, feel the strangeness at your back, and know that there will be other marvels. You have no idea. The world is full of them.” We all have deep yearnings. Through her poetic, honest prose Jillian reminds us, it’s not the getting that matters, but “it is the yearning that counts.” And if we let life unfold as it will, in messy and unpredictable ways, we sometimes attain the very yearning we never even knew to wish for, but makes our lives just right.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jill Blevins

    Some people think you shouldn't write memoirs unless you're famous. I am not one of those people. In fact, some of the best memoirs I've ever read are those written by people who aren't well-known, but have gone through some incredible experiences, triumphant over obstacles the rest of us would not even consider conquering. This author is known for being part of a harem and writing about that. She's also known as the wife of the bass player for Weezer. So she's kind of famous. But that isn't the Some people think you shouldn't write memoirs unless you're famous. I am not one of those people. In fact, some of the best memoirs I've ever read are those written by people who aren't well-known, but have gone through some incredible experiences, triumphant over obstacles the rest of us would not even consider conquering. This author is known for being part of a harem and writing about that. She's also known as the wife of the bass player for Weezer. So she's kind of famous. But that isn't the compelling narrative of her story. There's a whole lot of triumph over tragedy here that her fame and book-worthy life experiences actually make worse for her. And yet. There is something about the voice in this memoir, something about the grit, the determination, the pure love of life and determination to be a mother that brings you close. This is what life well-lived is like, well-written and well-enjoyed, pulling everything out of every opportunity and hint of opportunity that one human could manage. Such a wild ride and so normal, all at the same time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Matlow

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Let me explain my rating. I actually wanted to give it two stars based on the story. But then I realized that I'm not the target market and it's unfair for me to give a bad rating because the book wasn't written for me. If I were a mother of toddlers maybe I'd give it a four star rating. But I'm not. The book is decently written but not great, hence the three starts. That said, I'm the father of a very passionate four year old and I have to say, the stories in this book don't sound any different Let me explain my rating. I actually wanted to give it two stars based on the story. But then I realized that I'm not the target market and it's unfair for me to give a bad rating because the book wasn't written for me. If I were a mother of toddlers maybe I'd give it a four star rating. But I'm not. The book is decently written but not great, hence the three starts. That said, I'm the father of a very passionate four year old and I have to say, the stories in this book don't sound any different than what my child does. The hitting, the arguing, the tantrums. Yes it's tough but parenting isn't easy. So all in all, I felt like the book didn't really give any insight into or interesting story about motherhood. It's basically an inch to one side or another on the spectrum of what parents experience raising kids. Whatevs

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Barry

    I also adopted transracially and many moments in this book felt deeply familiar. I cried with the author and for my own experience as a mother. The book is an easy read and definitely holds the attention. The issues Lauren describes are legit and familiar to me. The reason for 3 stars is that there is a discomfort in my heart for sharing with the world such intimate details about such a young, vulnerable boy. While I identified deeply with some of the moments, experiences, I wonder if there was I also adopted transracially and many moments in this book felt deeply familiar. I cried with the author and for my own experience as a mother. The book is an easy read and definitely holds the attention. The issues Lauren describes are legit and familiar to me. The reason for 3 stars is that there is a discomfort in my heart for sharing with the world such intimate details about such a young, vulnerable boy. While I identified deeply with some of the moments, experiences, I wonder if there was a way to write this book without giving up so much about Tariku's intimate personal life. He can never retrieve all this personal information and that makes me feel a bit voyeuristic for reading this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    A really lovely look at the author's struggle with infertility and adoption journey. It was raw and real and very well-written. She was brutally honest in her writings and at times I felt like she was being more honest with her readers than she was with herself. She loves her son fiercely but also struggles mightily with parenting a special needs child. She takes the reader along with her and Tariku to music classes and mommy/baby yoga classes and then to counselor after counselor and preschool A really lovely look at the author's struggle with infertility and adoption journey. It was raw and real and very well-written. She was brutally honest in her writings and at times I felt like she was being more honest with her readers than she was with herself. She loves her son fiercely but also struggles mightily with parenting a special needs child. She takes the reader along with her and Tariku to music classes and mommy/baby yoga classes and then to counselor after counselor and preschool after preschool, searching for the right fit for her son. I was really impressed with her story, her writing, and this book. Fun fact: Her husband is a guitarist for the band Weezer!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brigid

    Another amazing book by Jillian Lauren! I had decided to get this book after reading her first one called Some Girls. I am not always a big fan of memoirs/autobiographies, but after being pulled in so thoroughly to her first book I just had to see what happened next in her life. She is so real and personable in her writing and how she can engage her audience. A good target audience for this book, would be those that are interested in international adoptions and/or living with, loving, & learn Another amazing book by Jillian Lauren! I had decided to get this book after reading her first one called Some Girls. I am not always a big fan of memoirs/autobiographies, but after being pulled in so thoroughly to her first book I just had to see what happened next in her life. She is so real and personable in her writing and how she can engage her audience. A good target audience for this book, would be those that are interested in international adoptions and/or living with, loving, & learning about the needs of Special Needs children and their families.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is fabulous. Though our stories and children are very different, there were so many moments that I identified with as an adoptive mother, and as a mother of a special needs child. And experiencing those moments of solidarity helps propel us forward into the the next day of our journeys. I’m thankful for this book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Judith M Magness

    The way back machine I want to give this book five stars; I do not want to write a review and remember everything. My son is 37 now. He is a biking nut and he lives in a homeless shelter. He’s my hero and has the best sense of humor I’ve ever seen. I wish I’d known a lot more then, of what Jill learned.

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