Saturday, December 14, 2013
Book Review: Global Mom by Melissa Dalton-Bradford
Author: Melissa Dalton-Bradford
Enjoyment Rating: *****
This book would be rated: PG
Global Mom is the story of an expatriate family, beginning when Melissa Dalton-Bradford and her husband decided to make a change-- they were going to leave his corporate job in New Jersey, and her jobs teaching college English and working in theater in NYC, take their two small kids, and move to Norway. From there, they spent time in France, Germany, Singapore, and many other places, many of which required the family to learn new languages, not to mention adjusting to new school and cultures. While a lesser writer might turn the book into a list or a travelogue, Melissa chooses stories that come together thematically as the book progresses.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: sometimes I go easy on my reviews when I know the author. That's not to say that I won't call a spade a spade, but sometimes I might be willing to overlook some problems in a book when it has been written by someone I know and respect. And in the interest of full disclosure, if the author is LDS, I might be inclined to go a little easier, because you know, member of the tribe and all. Melissa Dalton-Bradford is not only someone I know personally, but she's also LDS and a member of the staff at Segullah, so based on those factors alone, I knew that unless it was terrible (and since I know Melissa, I knew it wasn't going to be terrible), I was going to give Global Mom a good review. What I was unprepared for was just how much this book would knock my socks off. Since bringing Eli home, my reading productivity has gone way down. Last year I read almost 200 books, and though I'm not keeping track this year, I know it's not anywhere near that high this year. I average about one "real" book and one audiobook each week, or maybe slightly less. But I read Global Mom in two sittings, and I cried big, ugly heaving tears at the end. And not because the book is emotionally manipulative (because it's not) but because I was both grieving along with Melissa (who writes about the death of her oldest son, Parker, as part of the narrative) and so sad that the book was done.
If you're someone who would love to pack it in and move to Shanghai with your kids, this book will give you the confidence that you can do it. If you want a story about living and grieving, this is that story. If you just want a well-written memoir, read this. It's one of the best books I've read this year, and that was a delightful surprise for me as a reader.