"Hello, is Sarah Saffian there?" asks the voice on the other end of the line. "My name is Hannah Morgan. I think I'm your birth mother." So begins this powerful memoir by a young woman whose life changes dramatically when she receives a phone call from someone at once a stranger and her most intimate relation. Saffian's riveting story of painful self-discovery and newfound joy is unique in its reversal of the usual adoption narrative: here, the biological parents seek out the adoptee. Weaving together letters, journal entries, memories and reflections, Saffian tells of her adoption, her adoptive mother's death six years later, and her upbringing in a loving family. She learns that her biological parents ended up marrying and having other children. She is thus faced with an entire family to whom she is genetically linked. Saffian's boldly honest account reaches a moving climax with their reunion, three years after the first phone call. Along the way, it raises thorny questions: What is a family? Can we have more than one? What is the line between parental concern and intrusion? Is it hypocritical to be a pro-choice adoptee? How do nature and nurture work together to form a person's identity? By turns earnest and playful, Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found is sure to touch readers everywhere who have grappled with who they are.
"A multilayered memoir that probes profound questions of identity...Saffian explores this complicated material in beautifully nuanced prose to create a book that grows richer page by page."
--The New York Times Book Review "Ithaka never loses momentum. Compelling, honest, and forthright, it is a beautifully written and spellbinding book. I couldn't put it down."
--Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters
"This fascinating story of Sarah Saffian's psychic journey to a home she never knew tells much about the complexities of adoption. Even those who've thought deeply about the issue are likely to be surprised and engrossed by her tale."
--Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha
"A joy to read."
"There is love and laughter in Sarah Saffian's Ithaka, which almost overwhelms the heart of man and of woman. When I finished it, I wiped the furtive tear, sighed, smiled, and was glad to have read it."
--Malachy McCourt, author of A Monk Swimming
"[An] unsparingly honest memoir...intriguing insights into the nature of family, of loyalty, of inheritance, of what we're born with and what we're given along the way by those who love us most."
--Francine Prose, Elle