Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: An Accidental Mother by Katherine Anne Kindred

This beautiful memoir details an aspect of blended families that I hadn't ever considered before - what happens to a step-parent following the break up of the blended family.  Kate Kindred had given up on relationships after a failed marriage when she unexpectedly met and fell in love with Jim.  Jim had custody of a young son, Michael, from his own previous marriage.  Kate hadn't planned on children, but fell in love with Michael as well and the family spent six years living together, with Kate raising Michael like her own child.  When Jim and Kate's relationship ended, however, Jim denied Kate all contact with Michael.  Even though Kate had raised Michael, she had no legal recourse and no options for enforcing any visitation.

The writing is exactly what I look for in a memoir - nothing too heavy or detail-y, like you'd expect from a biography, but with a large focus on the author's emotions surrounding this portion of her life.  Kindred did an amazing job of conveying those emotions in a way that is both a beautiful portrait of the choices she made to be a mother of a child that was not hers biologically and heartbreaking in their depiction of her loss.

Entertainment Value
I'm not sure how many times I can say heartbreaking in a review, but there you have it.  The book is short and hard to put down.  I read it over the course of an hour or two one night.  Easy to get through, but touching and have I mentioned heartbreaking yet?  Because it is.  I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child you had raised from a very young age and have absolutely no options regarding even the basic visitation of that child.  As I mentioned earlier, I had never given any thought to this possibility, but I can only imagine how many parents face this kind of thing. 

I highly recommend picking this one up - especially if you're in any kind of blended family situation, but also if you like the memoir genre or if you're any other kind of non-traditional parent.  This is a beautiful story of motherhood and that love and connection that transcends biological parenthood.


  1. I too had never thought of this situation but it must be absolutely heart-breaking. I wonder how many people it happens to?