"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 Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found, a powerful book written by a young woman whose life changes dramatically when she receives a phone call from someone who is 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 is sure to touch readers everywhere who have grappled with who they are.
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