Author: Paula Dieck www.ILookLikeMe.com
Book Reviewer: Patricia L. Brooks, Author and Publishing Consultant
I Look Like Me is the story of an idealistic childhood in the Midwest. A loving family. A father and his little girl. It is also about a lot of blonde haired, blue eyed cousins who do not look like the perfectionist who knows she is adopted and loved by her family.
Her memories are sensory as she recalls the intoxicating high of having good grades against the low struggle to find her identity while being reminded she’s different. She’s grateful to be chosen by her adopted parents as the little girl they always wanted, but feels the abandonment of her birth mother. She often lives alone in her thoughts and feels unworthy.
The Norwegian town of her upbringing is a constant reminder she’s from somewhere else. Her dark hair and eyes shape her face, but not feeling good enough engulfs her heart. She knows her anger at a young age. She moves on to a big college taking her shyness and the emptiness she hoped to leave behind with her. She begins to think about finding her birth mother and what she would write in a letter. She longs to know if her mother wants to know her. She becomes obsessed with whom she looks like and why she was given up. Her search for answers is supported by her parents. They know she loves them and they expected this day would come.
Dieck writes with a conversational intimacy, inhabiting the role of a new best friend who shares just enough in each chapter to make you want more. She doesn’t want to find only one parent, but also her father to understand why they did not marry and keep her. She must accept that her birth mother wants nothing to do with the father.
As her biological family’s skeletons are let out of the closet, the story winds back-and-forth from coast-to-coast over and over again as Deck searches for her truth, for the best career choice, for the love of her life and for where she is comfortable in the world. Her upheaval patterns play out through the story and mirror all aspects of her life.
Engaging and laced with mourning for a life left behind, a life not lived, Dieck’s memoir has a coda for which her birth mother would be envious. This is a book of hope, not struggle. It is a life of opportunities for growth and awareness. It is a story of forgiveness and a telling of the human experience. It is recognition of truth and an experience of self-love. I salute her every word.
Respectfully reviewed by,
Patricia L. Brooks, Author and Publishing Consultant