Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty by Heather Young

Book: Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty by Heather Young
Genre: Memoir
For: Review
From: Sent to me for free by the author. All opinions are my own.

Short Synopsis: This book follows the story of Ezra and Hadassah (later called Rex and Heather) as they are taken from their biological parents, placed in foster care, and are then adopted by abusive parents. Heather recounts all the feelings she goes through as things beyond their control continue to happen to them. While her own story is heartbreaking, she focuses even more on the story of her brother who, being mentally challenged, suffered even more at the hands of their adoptive parents as she, being too young and too scared, stood by and watched. Later, when she was able to escape the situation, the paths of her and her brother cross again and what follows is an amazing inspirational end to all that went on before.

My Response: I must admit, I was a little nervous to read this book. Reading about abuse is not my favorite thing, you know? And then when I understood that my LDS church played a big role, I was even more nervous. But I was assured that it might not be what I think, so I gave it a chance. Of course, once started, I couldn't put it down. I was completely wrapped up in this story and anxious to find out what happens with Heather and Rex. It's one of those stories that as you are reading it, you can hardly believe it's true and that someone actually lived this stuff. And how can people do these things to kids? And why... why why WHY do they adopt kids when they have no idea how to deal with them? Why? What can their motivation even be? And why adopt special needs kids at that? I so don't get it but I imagine it happens all the time.

It's also one of those stories that while you are reading it, you wonder, how can this ever end happy? How do people survive such things? But that's the reason for the book in the first place... to show and inspire the rest of us that life, no matter how bad it seems or hard it is, can get better and everyone can come to find peace in the end. And the church, instead of actually being the bad guy in all this, ended up truly helping these kids. It took some time, and it bugs me that it took that time, but church members and leaders pulled through there in the end. Yay for that.

And can I just add here, yay also for Heather's husband! What a saint he must be! My hats off to him!

Bottom Line: I totally enjoyed this book, even with its hard subject matter. It was written in such a way that it wasn't overly emotional, or graphic, or "woe is me." It was direct and matter of fact and I think that made it easier for me to read. At the same time, it drew me in made me feel invested from the very first page.

Let's Talk About: How do you feel about reading hard subject like abuse? Do you tend to shy away from it? Or do you expect, like I did, to somehow be inspired by it? Do you feel like it's a fine line there between the hard stuff and the good stuff? Do you usually feel it's worth it in the end?

Other Reviews:

Ezra and Hadassah is a memoir about endurance in tragic circumstances and, above all, about the roles other people play in our lives, from the villains to the unexpected and beloved heroes. From Literary Inklings

Not since The Help has a book struck me with such force. From Goodreads Reviews

She and Rex are my new heroes along with the good people who finally entered their lives, including some good friends and families, a teacher, a Bishop, and her own husband. From Goodreads Reviews

I especially loved reading about Rex as an adult.It is amazing to see that he grew into such a caring,compassionate,wonderful human being who always looked for how he could help others. From Goodreads Reviews


  1. I've got this one on my TBR pile. Glad to hear it's worth the read. I don't generally ENJOY books about abuse, but I do find them interesting. Reading about other people's difficult experiences reminds me to 1) Be grateful for the easy, happy life I've led; 2) Be more empathetic/understanding of everyone, since I never know what hardships they've endured in their lives; and 3) Use their experiences of faith, strength and endurance to help me get through my own trials.

  2. I definitely shy away from tough topics, especially child abuse and rape. I know they're worth reading about, but I just don't think I could handle it.



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