Birth Story ala The Thirteenth Tale


” All children mythologize their birth.  It is a universal trait.  You want to know someone?  Heart, mind and soul?  Ask him to tell you about when he was born.  What you get won’t be the truth; it will be a story.  And nothing is more telling than a story”.

This is my favorite passage from The Thirteenth Tale.  This idea, this theory, that everyone has their own little birth story.  As I was reading this, I felt my heart start to beat just a little bit faster as I realized this was true for me.  I do have a birth story, and this is mine.

I was adopted as an infant when I was 6 weeks old.  My birth parents are 2 wonderful people who had been waiting for a child for almost 8 years.  When I was five, my mom called me to her room.  It was easy to see she was in a bit of a state.  Her eyes watery, red faced, in a shaky voice she begin to tell me that she wasn’t my real mother and that my dad was not my real dad.  She explained very clearly that while she my my father loved me more than anything in the world, they were not  my “real” parents.  She explained that my real mother could not afford to take care of me and gave me up so that I could have a better life.  Of course, it was a closed adoption and she didn’t really know exactly what the motivation was for giving me up, but this was her way to try to make it seem understandable.  It worked, it made sense to me.  I was five and I got it.  But, because I was five, I needed more info.  I needed logistics.   Where exactly did I come from?  How did I end up with my current parents?  Did I come from the birth canal or the stork?!  This is where the real story begins.  My mom told me that I was special, that they “chose” me out of all of the other little babies that needed parents.  I loved this idea.  I envisioned a warehouse of babies just sitting on the floor waiting to be plucked.  They picked me!  As a five year old, I loved that this was my story.  Of course, in a teeny part of my five year old brain I knew that this was just a story,  but it was  more fun to believe in than the truth, just like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  Overtime,  the myth faded and lost its magic, but like most myths, it served its purpose which was to help me understand that regardless of exactly how it came to be, I had two wonderful parents wo loved me unconditionally and thought I was special.

That was my birth story.  Do you have one?

See below for my rivoting thoughts on The Thirteenth Tale:

I started reading The Thirteenth Tale on the plane ride to Boston.  The hype of this book has been astronomical, so I was grateful for a 3 hour plane ride with no distractions other than possible death by plane crash or an annoyingly friendly passenger to distract me.  Thankfully, neither of which ensued.

I liked this book.  It held my interest but not as much as some of the other books I have read this year.  I came up for air every now and then, and even paused to read the airline magazine.  I didn’t take it to the bathroom with me which means, quite frankly, that it didn’t quite captivate me the way I had hoped.  I liked that the main characters were book lovers and the peculiar setting.  To be honest, I found the story just a tad dreary.  Vida’s history was not a happy one, her family’s disfunction seemed hopeless to me and I felt myself slipping into a melancholy state of mind after long bouts of reading about her life.  The introduction of Aurelious in the book was too convenient for me to be believable, and I never felt any connection for him or Mrs. Love.  

That being said, I thought the storyline and the plot were very interesting and there is some really lovely writing in this book.  I would recommend it.  I don’t have rating system in place yet but I’m thinking it was a  3.5 out of 5.  My advice, read it, but wait for the paperback.


11 Responses to “Birth Story ala The Thirteenth Tale”

  1. I think you and I give this book the same rating; though it was interesting to read the personal effect it had on you !

    Yep! It was cool that that one storyline really rang true with me. Thanks!

  2. Oooh, I’m a little disappointed. I have been looking forward to reading this. Well, I’ll see how it fares.
    That is a really interesting birth story…and I’m with Melrose Plant, it’s cool when books have that effect.
    Don’t be disapointed. You might really like it! It was a good book, it may have just been a bad choice for a trip.

  3. It sounds like we had pretty much the same reaction to the book. By the way, I wrote in a previous comment on your blog, that I didn’t post your comment (on my blog) yet, because of a major spoiler and wondered if you would mind editing it out?

    les, I emailed you regarding that. I don’t know how to edit my comment. Can you just do it on your end? That would be fine.

  4. This is a great review and I know what you mean about Aurelius I think overall I thought it was a bit dreary too but I was in just the right mood when I read it!

    I think you kind of nailed it. I think it may have been a bad choice to bring on a trip. I’ve said before I think I would have liked it better snuggled up at home near the fireplace with a glass of wine.

  5. I love your birth story. Thank you for sharing that. Regarding, the Thirteenth Tale. I am there with you. I did like it a lot and especially the first part where the main character talks about her life in the bookstore, etc. but overall I wasn’t blown away. I think it was due to the fact that I already knew quite a bit about it going into it and that it was so talked about. Still a good story.

    Agreed. Sort of a mix of feelings regarding TTT.

  6. Hmmm, I never got that email. Gotta check my spam filter. Anyhow, sorry but I can’t edit it from my end. At least I don’t think I can. I’ll try again. It’s a great comment in spite of the spoiler. Sorry!

    Thats OK, thanks for trying. Thanks for not posting my spoiler (rookie mistake). I’m glad you got to read my comments at least.

  7. Hey, Sheri. I finally figured out how to post your comment. I simply cut & paste (and removed the spoiler) and posted it with a disclaimer that it was me posting for you (and I provided a hyperlink to Bookie since that would’ve shown up had you posted). So, it’s up on my blog – finally! Thanks again for the comments. I honestly didn’t mind the spoiler but was afraid someone might complain…

    Thanks! I appreciate you trying so hard to get it posted.

  8. I was so excited to read this book and like everyone so far, I ended up a little disapointed. It got a dull and a little depressing. I am sending it to Nicole to see what she thinks.

    Well, maybe Nic will like it.

  9. Glad to hear you all found it disappointling dreary so I can move it down on my ever-increasing list. I love your birth story. Do you remember when that guy Randy(?) in college and you discovered that you were adopted from the same place at the same time? I need to press my Mom for a birth story. All I ever got was that I was an accident – oops!

    I do remember that….craziiness!

  10. Thanks for the review and the story. I took the liberty of adding a link to Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. (www.semicolonblog,com) I hope you’ll stop by some Saturday and add your own link to an upcoming review.

    Thanks! That is such a compliment. I will be stopping by!

  11. […] Sherid (The Thirteenth Tale)20. Semicolon (Possession: A Romance)21. Cathy (The Reformation)22. Carol (THe Greatest English […]

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