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Detachment: An Adoption Memoir Paperback – Sep 2 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Freehand Books (Sept. 2 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554812062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554812066
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #183,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"It's a book that doesn't sugarcoat the challenges of building a family across borders, with children who acutely remember what it's like to have been abandoned. It also lays bare the sometimes-unanticipated impact on marital relationships, on a person's confidence in themselves as a parent." -- National Post

"Detachment: An Adoption Memoir is a frank, tense and fully engaging story of the processes and consequences of adoption. And it's more than this." -- Winnipeg Free Press

"Detachment is a startling portrait of a real Modern Family--cobbled together across continents, haunted by old wars and buried trauma, held together by the stubborn human need for love and connection, for belonging. Maurice Mierau's attempt to understand the people who made him what he is, while holding his own family together, is completely compelling: brutally honest, harrowing and compassionate." -- Michael Crummey, author of Galore

"With wry honesty, Maurice Mierau surprises the reader again and again with the failure, the vulnerability, the surprise, and the tenderness of relationships. For all its coolly detached tone, this story has incredible heart. And the children. Oh, the children." -- David Bergen, author of The Age of Hope

"In the first half of Detachment, Maurice Mierau tells a fascinating story of working through the byzantine beaurocracy of the adoption industry to bring two boys home from Ukraine. In the second half, he recounts the hardest part of the journey, learning the emotional language of being a dad. Maurice Mierau is a smart and unsentimental storyteller, and I loved this book." -- Joan Thomas, author of Reading by Lightning

From the Back Cover

In 2005, Maurice Mierau and his wife, Betsy, travelled to Ukraine to adopt two small boys, age three and five. After weeks of delays while navigating a tangled bureaucracy, they returned to Canada as a proud new family of four. Now what?

In Detachment, Mierau probes not only the process of adoption but what comes after--the challenges of becoming a family, the strain on his marriage. While his son acts out and gets in trouble at school, Mierau feels removed, detached, thinking instead about his own emotionally distant father. Also born in Ukraine, Mierau's Mennonite father has a traumatic and mysterious past of his own. If Mierau can come to understand his father's life, perhaps he can start to make sense of his new sons...

Detachment is a moving, darkly funny, and searingly unsentimental memoir about learning to become a father and a son.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The only thing wrong with Maurice Mierau's Detachment: An Adoption Memoir is that it ended! This memoir covers lots of ground -- beginning with Mierau and his wife adopting two boys from Ukraine and the family crisis that choice precipitates to Mierau's fraught relationship with his father and the trauma experienced by his father and grandfather in Stalinist Russia during World War II -- and does so without flinching. Filled with love and compassion, Mierau didn't put a word wrong.
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Format: Paperback
Thanks to Maurice Mierau for writing this book. And writing it so well! I could hardly stand to put it down-- it's got all the drama and suspense and character that one wants in a book, and that one feels sometimes is missing in real life. Though of course it's not. Detachment tells a moving story, but I was really impressed by Mierau's openness and candour. It's a true memoir-- we learn as much about him as about the adoptions. I think he's written an important book and I hope it gets the recognition and celebration it deserves.
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Format: Paperback
I was disappointing with this book. It is fairly well written with some really interesting information and insights about Ukrainian past and present (at time of the book). However, I expected more depth to the issues of detachment syndrome, how it affects the children and how it affects the adopting family, and less about the authors own emotional issues from his past. I felt it was very surface in terms of the kids and too much about the feelings of the author.
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Format: Paperback
I am not a parent. I do, however, have a family. Mr. Mierau's riveting book reminds me that I am not alone in dealing with my own family's challenges; every family has them. This book tells such a compelling story that I found myself reading passages to others. The way Mr. Mierau is able to link the emotions of several generations is stunning and gut wrenching. His book will stay in your soul, and it will make you feel.

Carolyn B.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa7987c18) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa79995f4) out of 5 stars An adoption memoir, but something more.... Sept. 12 2015
By Serendipity.HH - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Detachment is a thoughtful look at the struggles we all face as we incorporate our own childhood experiences into the adults and parents we aspire to be. The juxtaposition of Mireau's memories and mixed feelings towards his own parents as his two younger adopted children struggle to make sense of their own lack of memories of their birth parents is both touching and heartbreaking. Is it better to have a painful past or no past at all? Can we be a better parent than our own? Mireau's love for his wife and children shows him the way. Mireau's honest memoir paints a picture of a man trying to move toward a positive future as a more understanding father, husband and man. Beautifully written, it's a book worth reading.
HASH(0xa799fb40) out of 5 stars A wonderful and engaging read March 4 2016
By J. T. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I love this book. Brutally honest family portrait. At one level a picture of a couple living in Canada adopting 2 brothers from Ukraine. But this very touching story entails multiple and intriguing levels. Families have histories and Maurice explores the multi-generational effects of trauma in his family. His Mennonite forebears were persecuted in Ukraine. They suffered execution, rape and ravages of war, poverty and political oppression.
The book is a story about marriage. Betsy and Maurice struggle with who they are individually and as a couple. The reader gets an intimate, moving and sometimes funny glimpse of a relationship large enough for despair and hope.
It is a story about lives of individuals. The reader gets the clearest view of Maurice but meets the entire family. These folks are fascinating and it is a gift to get to know them.
The book tells a tender, raw, worrisome, hopeful story about international adoption. I highly recommend this book for those who adopt or are considering adoption.
Maurice is an amazing story teller. His writing magically engages the reader. I had trouble putting this book down. Highly recommended!
Detachment: An Adoption Memoir (Freeland Books)