Friday, October 24, 2014

Release of Not Exactly As Planned: A Memoir of Adoption, Secrets and Abiding Love

I'm thrilled to announce the release of my new book.  It arrived from the printer yesterday, and it was quite the rush holding a copy in my hand for the very first time. It's been years in the making. I have to admit, a few tears fell from the corner of my eyes.

I gave two readings yesterday from the book at a conference at Ryerson Unversity here in Toronto, called Motherhood in Literature. I was on a panel with five other writers who also read from their works, all good, all well-written and interesting.

I have many people to thank who supported me on my extremely long journey through the nail-biting writing and equally nail-biting publishing process.

A good editor is worth his/her weight in gold, and I was lucky to have several great ones, probably in the platinum category. They included Canadian author Merilyn Simonds, writer Renate Mohr, and Beth McCauley, senior editor at The Editing Company in Toronto. And, I'm of course grateful to Andrea O'Reilly from Demeter Press for publishing my book.

My biggest thanks goes to my family, who allowed me to tell our story, MY way. 

To purchase Not Exactly As Planned online

And please visit my website at:

Here's a  Synopsis of the book:

Not Exactly As Planned chronicles Linda Rosenbaum’s arrival in Toronto in 1970 from the US after political upheaval and sexual violence in Washington, D.C. casts her on an unexpected journey north in search of safe haven. She lives a counterculture life in communes in Toronto’s American ex-pat community, eventually moving into the city’s mainstream. A move to Toronto Island, marriage, and parenthood through two unorthodox adoption processes finally bring a sense of safety and belonging.

Life takes a major turn when Linda’s son, adopted-at-birth, is diagnosed with irreversible brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome when he is six. She was determined to change Michael’s prognosis, illustrating the expectations that those raised on the activism of the 1960s brought to their lives and families. She no longer fights for other people’s sons — picketing for civil rights or demonstrating to bring soldiers home from Vietnam. She has to fight for her own son.

According to statistics at the time, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) was a sentence to failure in his life: he'd drop out of school; he'd be incapable of holding a job; he'd live on welfare, on the street or worse. The brain damage, they said, was irreversible.

With love, devotion, hope and all the medical knowledge she could accumulate, Rosenbaum sets out to change the predicted course of events. Though truth of the old Yiddish saying “Man plans, God laughs”  was testing her, she is determined to have the last laugh. She confronts the sexual violence in her youth; raises her children Jewish even as they share their father’s last name of Christmas; fights to save the iconoclastic Toronto Island community from developers’ bulldozers; and resolves to live with as much joy as she can while struggling to beat Michael's odds.

With compassion and humour, Not Exactly As Planned weaves the disparate threads of Rosenbaum's life into a story of acceptance, at once achingly unique yet universal to all parents.  Not Exactly As Planned  is a provocative story about hope, loss and acceptance.

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