An Affair With My Mother by Caitríona Palmer


This book is of interest to anyone who is part of the “adoption triangle” but is written from the perspective of the adopted child.

I am in two minds about this book, it is curiously intriguing and ultimately frustrating. The author gives us tantalising glimpses into her psyche but pulls back when she is on the point of confronting any darkness.

I confess an interest in the adoption process and its effects on all involved. The title caught my attention and it is an apt description of the relationship that developed between the author and “Sarah”, her birth mother.

Palmer is at her best when she is    dealing with the way the adopted child adapts her behaviour when relating to others, but this is not fully explored. At times the writing is painfully honest, but I was somewhat uneasy with the level of revelation about others which was on show. This was hard to fathom as the secrecy aspect was so important to Sarah and though she is not identified directly, there are many clues to be found for those who wish to follow them. On the other hand, the author’s life outside her adoption search is shadowy and vague.

On the whole, this is a worthwhile addition to the literature on adoption. The longing for a feeling of completion, is well conveyed and the difficulties of adoption are by no means sugar-coated. However, I was left with a sense of something incomplete and that I was somehow wishing for more.

You can reserve a copy on South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue online here.