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If You Could See Me Now [Hardcover]

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Item description for If You Could See Me Now by Michael Mewshaw...

When Michael Mewshaw receives a call from a stranger who says she has reason

to believe he is her biological father, Mewshaw realizes he has been half dreading,

half hoping for this to happen for over thirty years. Just like the young woman

who wants to find the last piece to the puzzle of her life, he thinks it's possible that

in the same process he will discover the answers to questions that have plagued

him for decades. But first he has to make sure she is who she claims to be.

In this fascinating memoir, Mewshaw confronts his own past, the chaos of his

family, and complicated memories of the woman he once loved who went on to

success as an ambassador, Undersecretary of State, and a member of one of

America's most influential families. His unusual role in the baby's birth, her adoption,

and, now, her search for her biological parents sets the stage for a revealing

personal odyssey that offers a quest for identity and a journey of discovery, an

obsession with recapturing the past and righting old wrongs, and the constant

potential for disappointment balanced against the possibility of redemption.

Along the way, by rediscovering who he was and who he has become, he finds

his own life enriched.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   225
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2006
Publisher   Unbridled Books
ISBN  1932961208  
ISBN13  9781932961201  

Availability  0 units.

More About Michael Mewshaw

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael Mewshaw is the author of eight critically acclaimed novels, including "Year of the Gun," and six other books of nonfiction, including the recent memoir "Do I Owe You Something?: A Memoir of the Literary Life," He has won awards for his investigative journalism, tennis reporting, and travel writing. He has written for "The New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New Statesman," and "Granta," Mewshaw and his wife divide their time between Key West and Europe.

Michael Mewshaw was born in 1943.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
3Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Adoption

Reviews - What do customers think about If You Could See Me Now?

Not what it appears to be  Aug 2, 2007
This tale is so manipulated that it is annoying. I could tell by the tortured language that the author had some hook; when he reveals it in chapter 2 a rereading of chapter 1 reveals actual dishonesty. By the end of the book, I disliked the author.

The memoir itself is interesting; the way he chose to present it is just wrong. He wrote this book at the expense of the other people involved.
An Unusual Opportunity to read a novel and the source thereof...  May 26, 2006
Having read Michael Mewshaw's novel - Waking Slow - in the year of its publication, 1972 and remembering it as one of the saddest tales of hopeless 'love' that I had encountered at the time, well...

It wasn't until a hatchet-job 'review' in a very recent Los Angeles Times, revealed to me that Mewshaw had chronicled the events of the novel, in a new non-fiction memoir: If You Could See Me Now.

So I reread Waking Slow, after lo, these 34 years. Then I read the non-fictional version.

Mewshaw has of necessity, excised the surplus situations/characters in his novel and cut to just the primary ones: 'Adrienne' and himself.

The story about them has been well-discussed by other reviewers here.

The amazing thing is that after so many years have passed for these two since the birth of 'Amy',and the relative professional and familial successes of both, the pain of Mewshaw's protagonist, Carter, is still very much evident in his creator.

It still hurts!
"I know this may come as a shock, but I have reason to believe you're my biological father."  Apr 10, 2006
In this compelling non-fiction story of adoption and its aftermath, author Michael Mewshaw relives the phone call that begins this book about searches--not just the search of a young woman wanting answers about her parentage, but also the search for answers by Mewshaw and several other people intimately involved in her adoption. Most of the story cannot be summarized here without spoiling the suspense for the reader, but it does not reveal too much to say that Mewshaw knows that he is not "Amy's" father. He has been involved in the circumstances leading to her adoption, however, having been deeply in love with Amy's birth mother.

In the thirty years that have elapsed since then, Mewshaw has frequently thought about "Adrienne Daly," the name he gives Amy's mother here, a high-profile beauty involved in Republican politics, a woman who has been an Undersecretary of State and an ambassador. Mewshaw, who has written ten novels, has often used Adrienne as a model for his female characters, and though he is happily married with a family of his own, he has always wondered what would have happened with Adrienne if....

As Mewshaw digs into the past and tries to help Amy by reconnecting with Adrienne, the reader sees the complexity of the adoption issue, not from the point of view of the adoptee, but from that of the then-young people who chose adoption as the best option for the baby, along with the lasting effects on their lives from that decision, their second thoughts, their memories, their new starts.

Mewshaw's success as an author holds him in good stead as he writes his personal story. His writing is fast-paced, the suspense builds effectively, and the dialogue is natural and realistic. Dividing the novel into three parts, Mewshaw first recreates Amy's initial contact with him, her contact with the agency which handled her adoption, and the support of her adoptive mother. In successive sections, he reveals his own childhood, his college years, and his relationship with Adrienne; and finally, in the present, he focuses on his developing relationship with Amy, his reconnection with Adrienne, and on the changes wrought by their choices.

Thoughtfully written, without hearts-and-flowers sentimentality, this book addresses the adoption issue from a broader perspective than that of the adoptee and the birth parents--other people are always involved, too. As Mewshaw shows each person considering this complex issue and making an irrevocable decision at a very young age, he also connects the past with the present, showing each person revisiting that decision thirty years later. In this he performs a service which many adoptive parents and adoptees will find enlightening. n Mary Whipple
terrific memoir   Apr 4, 2006
The saga began for Michael Mewshaw with a call from his half-sister Karen in Maryland while he was dining with his wife and their son. Karen informs him that Amy from California asked her if she is her biological mother. Michael calls Amy who asks him if he might be her biological father as she insists she does not need a parent having been raised by loving one, but she wants her medical history because she will soon marry and have children one day.

Michael knows the saga truly began in 1964 with his college girlfriend Adrienne Daly, but before providing any response to Amy, he investigates the veracity of what she claims. It has been three decades since he last spoke with the now top Republican official Adrienne, Michael decides to help Amy though he is not related to her in any way.

This terrific memoir will grip from the onset when Karen calls her sibling and never lets readers go even after we finish, as Michael tries to help Amy, but in doing so looks deep inside himself. Michael Mewshaw bears open the core of his essence in this powerful look at who a person is, as he ponders whether someone is a product of the environment, the DNA, or some hybrid. Nonfiction readers will want to peruse this powerful soul searcher.

Harriet Klausner
Memoir that reads like mystery  Mar 15, 2006
One afternoon in the mid-1990's author Michael Mewshaw got a call he'd been half expecting for some thirty years: a woman in America--Mewshaw was living in London--had reason to believe that he was her biological father. The woman, Amy, was almost right: Mewshaw's name was in fact on Amy's birth certificate, and he'd been involved with her mother at the time of Amy's birth, while he was in college at the University of Maryland. But Mewshaw hadn't fathered the baby whose adoption he wound up being instrumental in arranging. Mewshaw's role in Amy's early life nevertheless left him feeling almost paternal toward her, and he wanted to help Amy reconnect with her birth mother.

In his memoir If You Could See Me Now Mewshaw chronicles his involvement in Amy's search for her biological parents, but his story is far from a straightforward account of his attempts to track down an old girlfriend. Amy's quest is rather the peg on which Mewshaw hangs an account of his life, or that part of it that bears on his relationship with Amy's mother. While detailing his efforts on Amy's behalf, Mewshaw writes about his fractured identity as a child, the result of his parents' divorce and his strained relationship with both father and father figure, and about his complicated history with the woman he calls "Adrienne Daly," his college sweetheart. Mewshaw's unpacking of that relationship, his attempts to uncover the truth behind Adrienne's pregnancy and behavior decades after the fact, make for a surprisingly compelling story that at times reads like a mystery.

Mewshaw does not identify Amy's mother by her real name in the book: as a public figure she would not welcome exposure as a former unwed mother. But he does provide a great many details about Adrienne that will send readers running to Google, most tantalizing among them that Amy's mother served as Undersecretary of State during the Reagan and Bush administrations. One wonders whether these same revelations won't send Adrienne running to her lawyers, as she will surely not be pleased with her presentation in the book. Adrienne is the clear villain of the piece, painted by Mewshaw as a calculating and disingenuous user of men, a woman lacking in maternal warmth, who valued--who continues to value--her own convenience over the life of her daughter. One can't help disliking her, even while bearing in mind that Mewshaw's account is necessarily a one-sided affair, and while wondering why he chose to reveal as much about Adrienne's real identity as he did. Is the book a form of retribution? If so, does that alter our response to it?

Though slow in its final chapter, If You Could See Me Now is an otherwise quick read. Tantalizing because of its near exposure of the misdeeds of the nearly famous, Mewshaw's book is interesting also as an example of how the small dramas of one's life, considered in hindsight, can make for good reading.

Debra Hamel -- author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in ancient Greece (Yale University Press, 2003)

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