Book Review of Patrick McMahon’s Becoming Patrick

In his memoir, Becoming Patrick, adoptee and author, Patrick McMahon, delivers an eloquent and artistic account of his experience as a young adult coming to terms with being adopted and living in the shadows of the Baby-Scoop Era, where secrets and lies defined the practice of placing babies in new homes. This was an era of closed records, fear and shame for adoptive and birth parents, which in turn shed loss, sadness and a sense of incompleteness on the adopted children of the time.

McMahon skillfully delivers an honest and emotional account of all he felt when he acquired his initial information, experienced the first telephone conversation and attended in-person reunions with his birth family. His descriptions of settings and attention to detail immerse the reader around kitchen tables, long walks and other meet-ups while long-lost family members share photos and stories while recovering lost time.

This is an excellent read for adopted adults who can relate to the experience of searching for elusive loved ones you never knew you loved until you connected. Therapists, social workers and others wishing to explore adoption and its complex effects on adopted people will also appreciate this work. 

There are very few adoptee books written from a male point of view, which adds to this book’s uniqueness. Mr. McMahon’s voice speaks artfully and sincerely for a population whose words long to be heard. His frank yet upbeat writing superbly represents adopted adults wishing to sort out the mysteries surrounding their origins and identity.  

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