Grab this Book & Read It – Before We Were Yours

My foray down the electronic book path was short lived.  I missed pages – turning them, carrying them, reading them – but what I really missed was owning the physical version of  something that I loved and subsequently gifting that treasure to a friend who I knew would appreciate it (more on this shortly).  Apparently, I am in the minority on this stance.

Last week during a seven hour plane ride, I was more than delighted to spend most of it with my eyes and nose in the book Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate.  Curious as to how my fellow passengers were spending their time, I took a stroll to the back of the plane and slowly journeyed back to my middle seat towards the front of the plane.  Every. Single. Person -my children included- was on an electronic device (except for those that were napping).  I did not see a single other physical book besides the one in the hands of the handsome guy next to me – my husband.  And most of the electronic devices had moving images on them.  I didn’t know whether to feel proud, or old or sad, or some combo of the three.

I wouldn’t ever dare climb aboard any form of transport without some sort of book tucked into my carry on.  Yes, my computer was also tucked inside my carry on.  I don’t go very many places without that either, but reading to me is a way more satisfying way to allocate a sustained, interruption free, allotment of time.  And this book and it’s topic was well worth my time and attention.  Through this book and it’s fictional tale of horrifying true life events, I learned about a child racketeering organization in Memphis that went unchecked for over 30 years.

Children were literally stolen from their parents on roadsides, front stoops, houseboats and hospitals to be included in the inventory of the “adoption agency” to then be sold to the highest bidder.  If you were poor and struggling and 50 miles outside of Memphis during the years of 1920 to 1951 your children were at risk of being inextricably and irrevocably plucked from your lives.  Unfathomable.  The real life antagonist – Georgia    Tann –  made millions on the transactions and has been referred to as ” the most prolific serial killer” in history.

This story is told via the Foss and Stafford families and their intertwined lives alternating between present day and the real time events in the 1950’s.  There is some romance and self discovery and interesting family dynamics, but it is the details of the “Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage”  that kept me turning the pages of my airline companion.

While I am reading I often like to think about who I can bestow my book upon.  Who will love the book as much as I and who will have the most palpable reaction to the story?    My friend Karen sprung immediately to mind.  I can see her well manicured and accessorized hand grabbing my arm with her eyes wide and her face urgent  “Linda!!  How could this have happened??  I can’t stop thinking about these children and their families.”

This story will not easily leave your psyche as you ponder the evilness of Georgia and the painful ramifications of her operations for countless families.  The fact that it is a little known part of American History is frightening.  I highly recommend you grab this book and read it.


8 Responses

  1. I d love to read this book by the way it sounds. Thanks for the tip Linda. I believe books of this kind should be worth spreading the word about. People should know life facts like this. Ever since i became a parent, the thought always lingers at the back of my head “dont take your eyes off james for one second”. My heart aches. But knowledge gives you freedom and we can be proactive and safeguard ourselves and children all the more.

  2. I read on the Kindle app on my iPad. If I really love the book, I buy it and often gift it or keep it. I understand how you feel about books, but I love that I always have my book with me either on my phone or my iPad.

  3. Am going to add it to my kindle! I hear you on the physical book thing. I also prefer the book but realized that with travel it is so much easier to have the kindle. The problem is I never see the book and its cover so I can never remember the names and authors of books anymore. We had to lock away the boys phones because all they wanted to do was play fortnight. It was tough at first but they are now used to not having their phones. We were at a really nice restaurant in Hong Kong last week and saw two couples out to dinner. Young Chinese couples on what looked to be a double date. I told the boys they better not ever do what these guys were doing on the date. The “men” were playing games on their phones while their extremely attractive dates were talking to each other and eating the rather expensive food. It was crazy as there was no conversation going on. So sad. Anyhow, I always love your blogs! Thank you for sharing and please continue!!

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Space does open up! When it does it’s often at the last minute. Will keep our fingers crossed. Would love to see you at this experience!