When you are writing a book – not even writing, but at that early stage of tossing around ideas in your mind – sometimes you read something which sets your creative juices flowing. Run by Ann Patchett did that to me. My first novel Ignoring Gravity was written and I was well into the planning stage of its sequel Connectedness. Some characters were continued from the first book, but I spent a happy time considering new characters, spending time with them, coaxing them along, seeing them become real.
It was at this point that I read Run, the story of Bernard & Bernardette Doyle an American couple who, after the birth of their son Sullivan, are unable to have any more children. They adopt Teddy, and then his older brother Tip too. It is a story about family, biological and non-biological combined.
The phrase that leapt off the page at me was this:-
“‘They could have gone to someone else,’ she’d always said to him. That was the part of it she never could get over; that these sons who were so unquestionably hers could just as easily have gone to another home, a different fate. But what they never said was that they had already belonged to someone else, and they could have just as easily stayed where they were.”
Bernadette’s sense that they could so easily have missed adopting Teddy and Tip, and that if they had life would have been so different, gave me an insight for a character I was working on for Connectedness. Ignoring Gravity is the story of journalist Rose Haldane who finds out at the age of 40 that she was adopted as a baby. How must it feel, as an adult, to discover you are not who you thought you were? That your family lied? That every single ‘family medical history’ form you have filled in was invalid?
‘Run’ by Ann Patchett [UK: Bloomsbury]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Researching #adoption RUN by Ann Patchett http://wp.me/p5gEM4-ws via @SandraDanby