Growing up, my mom had an old, battered paperback copy of The Family Nobody Wanted. When I was about five, while learning the finer points of reading in the bathtub, I dropped it in the water! I read it several times as a child until I accidentally left it at my violin teacher’s house as a preteen and never saw it again. I recently saw a reference to the book and decided to look it up at my local library. Boy, am I glad I did! Helen Doss’s memoir tells the story of how their very unusual family—comprised of twelve adopted children of all different races—came to be. Told as a young wife that she would never be able to bear children, Doss experienced years of longing and heartbreak before she and her husband were able to adopt their first child. While trying to adopt a second child, they discovered that while the waiting list for Caucasian children was long, there were many more children who were considered “unplaceable” because of their skin color and racial backgrounds. Applying an incredibly amount of tenacity and perseverance to the problem, Doss eventually convinced an adoption agency to let her adopt a mixed-race child (the social worker, vehemently opposed to the idea, insisted that they couldn’t possibly be happy with a child who looked so “different”). Desperate to provide a home for these unwanted orphans, the Dosses eventually end up adopting twelve multiracial children (and fostering two more!). I emerged from this book full of admiration for a woman with enough love, spunk, and heart to not only take in so many children in need, but to make a happy, loving family out of all of them! This is a perfect read for anyone who has ever been touched by adoption, and for anyone who believes in the importance of a loving family.
There is no real profanity in the book, but there is one instance in which a character begins to say a minor swear word and then stops and apologizes.
There is some mild violence; a troubled foster child obsesses over wanting a knife, several children play with knives without understanding what they are doing, and a man is severely beaten because of his ethnicity. All of these are handled gently and without any graphicness.
Mature Subject Matter:
Mature themes throughout the novel include racism and bigotry, as well as some passing references to abuse and neglect. Although this is a memoir mostly directed toward adults, because of the large number of funny anecdotes about Doss’s children, it could easily be enjoyed by kids and young adults as well!
Alcohol / Drug Use: