I’m delving into the world of non-fiction today with a memoir I’m sure you’ll enjoy.
Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race, and Family by Michaela Foster Marsh
Michaela Foster Marsh and her brother Frankie grew up as “twins” in Glasgow, Scotland in the sixties. Born only weeks apart, Michaela was white and Frankie was black, and they were an unusual sight in their dual pram. Despite the doting of his parents and the unceasing love of his sister, Frankie’s life was rarely easy, and it ended far too soon when a fire took him when he was only twenty-six. But for a devastated Michaela, Frankie’s effect on her life was only beginning. She embarks on a search to learn what she can about Frankie’s birth family, a journey that takes her to Uganda, to a culture and a family she never knew, through twists and turns and remarkable coincidences – and to a mission and to a connection with her African brethren she never could have imagined.
Starchild is a remarkably candid memoir that plays out on both a personal and global scale. It is the story of the intimacies of siblinghood and the complexities of multi-racial adoption. It is the story of the unique connection of extended family and the unique commitment to an adopted homeland. It is the story of long-held secrets revealed and long-maintained barriers broken. And it is ultimately the story of a sibling relationship that transcends borders, time, and life itself.
There is no denying that Starchild tells a story of sadness and hardship. But it is also a book so filled with love that I turned the last page with a warm feeling inside.
The love Michaela has for Frankie seeps through her writing and you know it is written from the heart. I felt every bit of her pain and also her joy in uncovering Frankie’s background. Her wonderful work with the Starchild organisation is truly admirable and I take my hat off to the way she was able to turn a sorrowful event in her life (Frankie’s death) into something positive.
In parallel with following Michaela’s journey, we also get insight into what life in Uganda is like. Again, what a wonderful balance between happiness and despair. The poorness of many Ugandan’s will come as no surprise to many and is probably one of the first things that pop into our heads when we think about the country. On the flip side, we also see a truly magical side to Uganda, full of smiling, friendly people willing to help.
However, this journey all brought a downside to Starchild for me. It really is a story about Michaela’s journey when I was interested in learning more about Frankie. Not that Michaela doesn’t have a good story to tell, it’s just that I wanted to know more about the dynamic of living as a mixed-race family in 1960’s Glasgow.
Not that I regret reading Starchild for a moment. It’s an inspiring, quick read with pictures that brought the characters to life.
Learn more about Starchild the charity and the book here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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