Forever Lily


LillyMy friend Kathy Fahrion, a great recommender of books, placed this in my hands one day last fall, saying I had to read it. Forever Lilly is Beth Nonte Russell’s memoir of an adoption trip to China, and Kathy, I’m glad I read it.

To be honest, I started it once and laid it aside because it didn’t grab me. Russell sprinkles her adoption narrative with a series of dream sequences that eventually lay out a parallel story set in feudal China. The whole “dream” seemed too Disney to me, like I was reading the first draft of Mulan.

Recently I picked it up again, and it grabbed me when Russell finally meets the baby. Her description of the plight of Chinese orphans, particularly females, is compelling. I have a better understanding of the conditions there for millions of babies, and Russell tells a good story. The details of her first adoption, given the fact that she originally set out as a spectator, are fascinating.

The whole understory that supposes that she’s playing out an unfinished drama from feudal China is still a bit much for me to swallow, but the last two thirds of the book were a great read.

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2 Responses to Forever Lily

  1. David says:

    Cool review. My brother Jeff is doing a novelized version of his grand-mother-in-law’s life. She was stolen by slave traders and shipped to San Fransisco where she was a sex worker until she got too old (13, or 14). She was rescued by a Methodist group. Jeff got interested because he saw a picture in a Methodist magazine of her and a group of girls singing to President Teddy Roosevelt on a mission trip! Jeff’s been down to SF to see the actual places, and has gone through the Methodist Group’s archives…fun stuff, and still very close to home.

  2. Jocelyn says:

    Holy Pajeesus, but I hate dream sequences.

    But the rest sounds great. I have a good friend who just made that trip to China this past summer to pick up her now-daughter, Eva. I’ll recommend this to her.

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