Book Review: Finding Aster by Dina McQueen

Finding AsterOne of the last books I read was Cutting For Stone, a novel my book club was reading, which tells the story of Marion and Shiva Stone, twins born into a missionary hospital in Ethiopia. It was a brilliant story for a lot of reasons but I’m telling you about it here because I started reading it around the same time that I heard about Finding Aster by Dina McQueen.

Finding Aster is Dina and her husband’s story of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia  – about the things in her life which lead up to her decision to adopt and about the process of international adoption that they went through.

I could not stop marveling over the odds that both of these books would so randomly make their way onto my bookshelf at the same time – a brilliant novel that focuses mostly on medicine and family ; and a non-fiction portrayal of the one woman’s experience in the world of international adoption – both of which take place partly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and partly in America.

That is obviously where the similarities between the two books end, but I just had to share that tidbit with you so that you’d know I’ve been reading about Ethiopia for almost two months now, long before picking up my review copy of Finding Aster. Between the two books, I’ve read so much about the poverty that has existed in Ethiopia for so long – the lack of medical attention that mothers there receive, never mind the rest of the population (actually both books also talk about fistulas and the causes and results of this problem which often goes untreated – did you know that in Ethiopia, there are an estimated 100,000 women suffering with untreated fistula, and another 9,000 women who develop fistula each year?) which is a major reason that there are so many little babies in Ethiopia looking for a home. I have no plans to adopt a child either domestically or internationally, but this book was still fascinating to me from a humanitarian outlook.

I thought it was great that McQueen outlined all of the high points and low points of her adoption story, many that I’m sure most adopting families can relate to or would want to know about beforehand – in addition to all the wonderful facts and information and resources that she outlines throughout the book. This would be a great resource for any families considering adoption, domestic or international – and a story that will simply touch others.

The book does not touch upon a lot of Dina’s experience actually parenting Aster (apart from the first few days of the adoption), this is truly just her story of “finding” Aster and finding motherhood – it’s a well told, heart warming and informative book – and also a quick read. You won’t have a problem finishing this one quickly in between all the other demands in your life vying for your attention.

In short, I definitely recommend this book. It was very good, an easy read and very informative. Thanks to Stephanie at PR by the book and Dina McQueen for providing this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review.

Coincidentally this book also marks the first book I have finished in my Fall Into Reading Challenge hosted by Kat @ Callapidder Days. You can see the rest of the books on my list here.

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