I Would Meet You Anywhere: A Memoir

Mad Creek. Nov. 2023. 248p. ISBN 9780814258835. pap. $24.95. MEMOIR
This is a story that was never supposed to be told, the author’s life and origins a secret that was never meant to be revealed. These were the terms and promises of the institution of closed adoption—never agreed to, of course, by Ito (coeditor, A Ghost at Heart’s Edge: Stories and Poems of Adoption) herself. While books about adoption often address themes like secrets, loss, displacement, and grief, this thoughtful memoir expertly and courageously depicts the specifics and context of Ito’s story—the legacy of a U.S. concentration camp for Japanese people; growing up in all-white small towns; the challenges of reconnecting with family members who either clung to promised anonymity or weren’t aware of the author’s existence. Readers will be immersed in Ito’s yearning and bewilderment when basic facts (the identity of her biological father; that her children are indeed her birth mother’s grandchildren) are denied or deflected. The book’s descriptions of being hanbun hanbun (half and half) are beautifully and painfully wrought and illuminating.
VERDICT The tension and fear of wanting to tell one’s story, to be seen, to know and be known are palatable throughout Ito’s stunning, brave, extraordinary book.
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