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Cover for Make Me a Mother

Make Me a Mother

A Memoir

Susanne Antonetta


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A woman unexpectedly finds her best self through a sleepy bundle handed over at the airport in this heartfelt and surprising memoir.

In Make Me a Mother, acclaimed memoirist Susanne Antonetta adopts an infant from Seoul, South Korea. After meeting their six-month-old son, Jin, at the airport—an incident made memorable when Susanne, so eager to meet her son, is chased down by security—Susanne and her husband learn lessons common to all parents, such as the lack of sleep and the worry and joy of loving a child. They also learn lessons particular to their own family: not just how another being can take over your life but how to let an entire culture in, how to discuss birth parents who gave up a child, and the tricky steps required to navigate race in America.

In the end, her relationship with her son teaches Susanne to understand her own troubled childhood and to forgive and care for her own aging parents. Susanne comes to realize how, time and time again, all families have to learn to adopt one another.

Praise For Make Me a Mother: A Memoir

In this honest and thoughtful memoir, Susanne Antonetta examines not only her own adoption journey but also family, home, and parenting. At once personal and universal, Antonetta ultimately shows us that no matter how we make a family, ‘each love has its own body of water.’
— Ann Hood, author of The Obituary Writer

Reflecting on her troubled childhood, aging parents, and Korean-born son’s complex sense of his own origins, Antonetta wrestles with the vexing conundrum of human connection. Call it adoption, call it something else. This book ‘gives a shape to what love is.’
— Ralph James Savarese, author of Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption

An award-winning memoirist’s moving account of how adopting a South Korean baby taught her about motherhood and love.
— Kirkus Reviews

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393068177, 256pp.

Publication Date: February 17, 2014

About the Author

Susanne Antonetta is the author of the memoirs A Mind Apart and A Body Toxic, a New York Times Notable Book, as well as the poetry collections Bardo, Petitioner, Glass, and, most recently, The Lives of the Saints. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Republic, Best American Essays, and other publications. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her husband and son.