Reading for research: ‘A Good Likeness’

a good likeness by paul arnott 24-9-13This is a well-written account of an adoptee’s journey, not in the least bit self-obsessed or mawkish. Paul Arnott knows he was adopted but doesn’t stop to think about what it means until in his thirties with his own children. He writes to his adoption society and gets a letter back with information about his birth parents. “The section of my mind concerned with the concept of identity, which had been lying under a sheet in the garage since I was born, suddenly roared into life.”

He shares the emotional ups and downs of his search, which finally takes him to a second family in Ireland.

“Instead of being Paul Arnott, 11/11/61, I was now Rory Brennan, 11/11/61.” It was this sentence that really grabbed my core.

He was Rory, not Paul. “It must be inconceivable to those raised by their blood parents, surrounded by grandparents, sisters and brothers, that a man in his thirties had never given any serious credit to the potency of family resemblance.”

I read this book as research for my novel Ignoring Gravity, the story of journalist Rose Haldane who finds out at the age of 40 that she was adopted as a baby. Read Ignoring Gravity, coming soon on this blog.

‘A Good Likeness’ by Paul Arnott

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