Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Review of 'The Martian Child' by David Gerrold

"'Oh. One more thing: Dennis thinks he's a Martian...'

Soon-to-be parents are instructed to "expect the unexpected." Good advice, it turns out. Especially for the anxious or apprehensive parent who is considering adoption.

How can one know about an adopted child?

All David Gerrold knew for certain was that he wanted to be a parent. As a single gay man he thought adoption would be the most direct route to fatherhood. But he soon found out-- to both his joy and dismay-- that the emotional route to fatherhood was anything but direct. In fact, it was a roller-coaster ride that changed his life forever.

When he first saw the picture of eight-year-old Dennis beaming up at him from the photograph in the adoption book, David knew this was the boy for him.

But these were the facts: Abandoned as an infant by drug-addicted parents. Documented abuse. Shuffled from one foster home to another. Deficit hyperactivity disorder. Ritalin to control his violent emotional outbursts. For his antisocial behavior: desipramine. The conclusion from experts: Dennis was "hard to place." A polite bureaucratic euphemism for unadoptable. It was a depressing assessment that David could not-- would not-- accept.

He needed Dennis. And he believed Dennis needed him. It was that simple. Until the reality of single fatherhood set in.

A searingly honest, funny, moving, and heartfelt portrait of the joys and perils of parenting, 'The Martian Child' is David Gerrold's valentine to the redemptive value of love... in this case a father's love for a son. A son who thinks he's a Martian."

I'm not a parent (and I don't plan to be for quite some time) but this was an absolutely brilliant read. So brilliant, that I spent the entire day reading it. I couldn't help it, I really wanted to know how everything would turn out! Just when I resolved to put the book down for a mini hiatus, David Gerrold would say something new and interesting and I would get through the next ten or twenty pages and the cycle would begin again.

I have attempted to write stories about orphans (what aspiring writer hasn't at least tried it though?) and I never truly realized that the system of adoption was so... complicated. But it makes sense. You don't want to "give out" children to incapable people.

This book was chock full of pure emotion. You could feel David's apprehension, his unconditional love for this little boy who was initially labeled unadoptable.

Dennis had his good days when he was the cutest kid you could ever come across. Then he'd have his less than desirable days when he'd throw tantrums in public settings such as the mall or a supermarket.

'The Martian Child' was funny, sad, touching... it was beautiful.

I give 'The Martian Child':
Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. It sounds absolutely fascinating! Is this the same David Gerrold who wrote "Trouble With Tribbles"?


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