Plot/Idea: Hay has written a necessary book to help those who have discovered through DNA tests that their biological father is not the person they considered to be their father. This is a shocking discovery that can break apart families, cause internal angst, and lead to depression, fear, confusion, and a whole other slew of difficult emotions.
Prose: Occasionally there are some awkward sentences, and sometimes Hay has exchanged the intended name for another, which could be clarified in a proofread. Nonetheless, this book is wonderfully written – a balanced blend of storytelling, advice, and resources. Hay writes honestly and with deep emotion.
Originality: This book is highly original in its focus. Hay presents difficult themes kindly, with the necessary empathy that people in this position would demand. Countless readers will be assisted in their life journeys of self-discovery by reading Hay's lovely book.
Character Development/Execution: The book reads smoothly and clearly, and is divided between stories, resources, advice, and other aspects so that the reader stays focused and interested.
Date Submitted: October 14, 2021
Hay’s book is rooted in ample research into this pressing but under-discussed topic as well as her own experience as an NPE herself, someone whose “anger and feelings of helplessness were sometimes overwhelming.” She expects that readers reeling from similar discoveries of their own might be facing similar emotions (a chapter studying portrayals of the NPE experience “in fact and fiction” is titled “When Are You Going to Get Over This?”) A journalist by training, Hay busts myths and common assumptions about NPEs, especially the belief that “only one type of occurrence creates an NPE (an adult consensual encounter) with only one outcome of suitable reaction to an NPE (detached tolerance).” From her research, and the many real-life NPEs she meets, she introduces a host of scenarios and responses, some wrenching, as in the case of NPEs who are coerced by their families to keep their discovery secret.
A hybrid of journalistic investigation, personal memoir, and highly focused source of advice and comfort, Hay’s NPE will resonate with its intended audience, which includes people who know an NPE but aren’t one themselves. Occasional awkward phrasing and a tendency to quote at length make the book at times less inviting than it might have been, but throughout Hay proves an effective journalist and coach.
Takeaway: A skilled journalist offers facts and encouragement to people who have discovered surprises about their biological fathers through DNA testing.
Great for fans of: Libby Copeland’s The Lost Family, Stephen F. Anderson’s A Broken Tree: How DNA Exposed a Family's Secrets
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+