This book was absolutely stunning. Emiko Jean has quickly become a favorite author for me! I love the cultural perspective she provides, and the stories that tug at my heart strings! Read this if you enjoy strong character growth, family stories, and imperfect lives.
Mika is living a messy life. She’s 35 without a job, constantly needing money from her parents, never able to live up to the traditional Japanese expectations of her parents, and she her most recent relationship just crashed and burned.
And then she gets a phone call from Penny and everything changes. You see, Mika gave Penny up for adoption 16 years ago, but they have never spoken before. They begin to get to know each other over the phone, but Mika finds herself creating the perfect life for herself as she inflates and adjusts the truth.
When Penny announces that she’s coming to meet and spend time with Mika, she finds herself trying to make this fantasy life become a reality.
“There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts; an upper heart associated with the standard Western heart, and a lower heart tied to the uterus. They say that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart.”
Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little
What I Loved:
What a beautifully written memoir! I was so drawn in as Nina told her story of her struggles with infertility and miscarriage. Written with such emotion, it was beautiful to read.
How I Felt:
Spirit Baby is a memoir about Nina Neilson Little’s path to motherhood, but it is also a travel memoir of her times in China. I was absolutely drawn in to the descriptions and stories of China. Having visited China twice, reading her book made me want to go back and visit all the places I didn’t get to! Her descriptions of China are amazing. She discusses ancient traditions, the history of locations she visits, eating habits and rituals, and so much more! I loved how the story was written in a way that connected her travel experiences with herself and fertility.
She writes about her name, which I must admit, I was mispronouncing for months until I read this book (sorry about that Nina)! She tells the reader how she never enjoyed her name until, in China, she found all these traditions and beliefs that connected her to her name in a way she never had before. I love how she did this over and over in the book, giving life to these places and experiences.
Nina’s journey through this story is one with sadness and loss, however, she writes with such positivity that the overall feel of this book is uplifting and wonderful. She discusses her sadness and loss, her depression, and her healing. This is truly a lovely book with a wonderful, heartwarming story.
This is a book about struggles with infertility and miscarriage. This could be a trigger for some people.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend Spirit Baby to any reader that enjoys memoirs or stories of travel. The descriptions of China are wonderful and the story of her path to motherhood is so beautiful.
Nina and her husband Chris have struggle with infertility for years. They have decided to head to China for a chance to heal and adopt. Nina takes us with her on her visits through Chinese streets and historical places. She tells us about ancient traditions, sharing the ones that she chose to partake in. Her journey through this story speaks of loss and healing. It is a beautiful journey that readers will be so happy to have gone on.
Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little
Sub-Title: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood
Page Count: 265 pages
Publisher: Illumify Media Global
Pub Date: April 22, 2019
I received a copy of this book for free from a giveaway hosted by the author. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
The intertwining story of the twin’s lives with their birth mother’s story was beautiful. I loved the way the tale was woven together, jumping from one piece of the story to the next. It kept me so interested!
How I Felt:
The Birth Mother is a beautifully written story with excellent research and information about the locations making the book come alive for the reader! I was so invested in the stories! The birth mother’s story had me gripped from the moment I found out her parents were selling her to save their son. I appreciated the statements the book is making on the roles of a female within each country’s culture (and religion). It is not overstated, but you see it within the Chinese portion of the story with the treatment of the birth mother and the orphanage’s lack of boy babies. In America, it is so obvious just from the relationship of the adoptive parents. The religious beliefs are fleshed out thoroughly as you complete the book, giving explanation to why God is a She. I found this to be a great overarching theme through the book and I appreciated the Ah-Ha moment as things were explained towards the end.
The writing style in this book felt so unique. Daryl is having a biography completed for his family so at times, the biographer is telling the story, but then Daryl just can’t contain his excitement and he takes over for portions of their family history. I found it endearing, and their relationship was another trait from this book that had me captivated.
A rape scene that is not graphic but could be a trigger for some people. Discussion of birth and babies.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend this book to any reader that enjoys a book surrounding family. The book is well-written, and the story moved quickly. I highly recommend The Birth Mother to anyone that loves a dramatic story with endearing characters.
On a business trip, a high-powered fifty-six-year-old American entrepreneur visits his partners in China. After their meeting, his Asian mentor invites him to an orphanage, a trip that will change the course of his family’s life forever. Without hesitation, he and his wife fall in love with Anglo/Asian twin girls and become their adoptive parents.
The children grow up in a world of twists and turns with multiple coincidences and synchronicity. Their journey takes them from China to Europe to America and back to China where their unusual birth mother enters their lives. This powerful story is filled with drama at every turn as the daughters face internal and external challenges. The Birth Mother is a story filled with love, pathos, tragedy, and triumph. Read, laugh, cry, and learn. It’s a tale you will never forget.
Seymour Ubell is not a professional author. In fact he never went to college. His father died when Seymour was seventeen years old and suddenly had to get a job and help support the family. Seymour was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He has lived in Manhattan for the last 40 + years. He is the chairman of an American packaging company with offices in New York, China and Europe.
At eighty-eight, the author’s daily routine includes working out every other day at 7:AM in a local NYC gym, breakfasts with friends and arrives at his office each day around 10am. By 3pm he heads home to his wife and continues his research and writing. His weekends are spent enjoying the cultural arts of Manhattan, including the theater the Philharmonic, movies and his family. He is currently writing two more novels. The first, almost complete historical novel about his family business which goes back to early 1880 with his great grandfather in the original family shop in Poland. And continues into 2019 in the USA and the rest of the world. His other novel is entitled, Second Love. About people who divorce, lose their partners from a health problem, an accident or even suicide…and find a second act in love and togetherness.
Seymour Ubell has spent most of his career in the print and advertising business. His clients are, and have been, the largest apparel, footwear, pharmaceutical, retail and consumer products companies in the world. He is a published author (A Life of Risks Taken, 2014 and The Birth Mother, 2019), lecturer, and raises funds for Parkinson’s research when he’s not at the theater with his wife, Marsha.
I had a chance to interview Seymour Ubell on his writing and inspirations!
SJLB Question: How did you do research for your book? SU Answer: Google, thesaurus and dictionary…some interviews.
SJLB Question: Which was the hardest character to write? SU Answer: Shan Di’s biological father. It was difficult for me to imagine the feelings of a father selling his daughter. The easiest? The feeling of the adoptive father was the easiest.
SJLB Question: In your book you make a reference to “God Is A woman”….how did you come up with this idea? SU Answer: When writing the book, my life with my wife, my mother and my daughters fed me with enormous kindness. I began to learn that all beautiful things on this earth have a feminine title. In my marriage to my second wife, Marsha made my life, our home and all that surrounded us into a heaven. Therefore to my sixth sense, God must be a woman. My niece Lori Ubell allowed to include a wonderful brief story that she wrote many years ago, which I never forgot.
SJLB Question: What made you write a book about adoption SU Answer: It came from an original experience of almost adopting Anglo Asian twins.
SJLB Question: Where do you get inspiration for your stories? SU Answer: My inspiration comes from actual experiences. I am now working on two books. One is entitled, The Family Business. It goes back 125 years to my great grandfather’s original tailor shop in Poland. My other book entitled “Second Love or Act ll, I am not sure of the title. The story is about at least ten couples who lose partners by divorce, death or sex complications and find a second love.
SJLB Question: There are many books out there about adoption….What makes yours different? SU Answer: I Have not read any other BOOKS ON adoption.
SJLB Question: What advice would you give budding writers? SU Answer: A good writer is always writing…even as he or she thinks. All thoughts should be written down…otherwise you will forget the ideas that come to you on a daily and even hourly basis.
SJLB Question: Your book is set in China, the USA, and Europe. Have you ever been to these locations? SU Answer: I have spent 25 years of my life going to China on a monthly basis. And Europe as well.
SJLB Question: If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be? SU Answer: I am all the characters.
SJLB Question: Do you have another profession besides writing? SU Answer: Business man in here in the USA, with offices in China and Europe.
SJLB Question: How long have you been writing? SU Answer: Seven years, however I’ve been telling stories my entire life.
SJLB Question: Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it? SU Answer: I do get writers block. I just stop writing until the flush of ideas comes back. Reading helps and the theater definitely helps
SJLB Question: What genres do you write and why? SU Answer: I fictionalize actual experiences. Except for my memoir. All 100% truth.
SJLB Question: What is the last great book you’ve read? SU Answer: Portnoy’s Complaint, The Mueller Report, The Ride of a Lifetime, Bob Iger. The Brothers Karamazov, Red Notice, The Good Earth.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.