Adoptee Book Review: A Legitimate Life: A Forbidden Journey of Self-Discovery Melinda Warshaw’s adoption memoir book, A Legitimate Life: A Forbidden Journey of Self-Discovery, is a sweeping tale of her first memories in the Dayton, Ohio area to coming of age in California, to college in Arizona, to California again and back eastward eventually to New York state. She addresses the themes of genetic memory and mirroring plus surviving abuse and family dysfunction as she takes the reader along on her adventures and thoughts which culminate in finally finding her birth family, true heritage and peace within herself.

Warshaw is multi-talented in both music and art (painting), and discovers through her artistic expressions and general hunches, hints about the biological family from which she came during the era of sealed birth records, falsified info and closeted birth parents who lived in shame and scorn for what happened in their pasts. She discovers just how accurate her intuition is about her biological ancestry, thus legitimizing and validating her life’s journey, spanning through the 1950s to the 2000s.  

This is an interesting story for readers who enjoy and identify with college life and the youth movement in the 1960s and 70s and or those who appreciate a more “mystical” perspective about the curious synchronicities in life.  Warshaw shares the pain and angst of growing up feeling different, unaccepted and even abused emotionally and beyond by most of her adoptive family. She struggles to find ways to combat these issues through study and forming new relationships, but negative interpersonal patterns are not easily broken.

Also, the author is deeply driven to provide a sense of true history and self for her two sons, and with their support she finds completeness, comprehension and closure as her once-locked past is slowly revealed. 

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