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The Last Invisible Continent: Essays on Adoption and Identity (English Edition) di [Potter, Michael Allen]
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Lunghezza: 95 pagine Word Wise: Abilitato Miglioramenti tipografici: Abilitato
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Descrizione prodotto


These twelve essays span nearly twenty years of research and activism that chronicle one man's search for his family. Together, they explore the concept of personal identity from the perspective of someone who was erased completely by adoption in The State of New York.

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  • Formato: Formato Kindle
  • Dimensioni file: 1008 KB
  • Lunghezza stampa: 95
  • Editore: Kartografisk Utgaver; 2nd edizione (7 gennaio 2014)
  • Venduto da: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B00FCMC4J6
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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) (Potrebbero essere presenti recensioni del programma "Early Reviewer Rewards") 4.8 su 5 stelle 10 recensioni
3 di 3 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Full Disclosure 5 ottobre 2013
Di Jordan Smith - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
OK, full disclosure: Michael Potter was my student once, a good while ago. After reading this wonderful book, I don't think I taught him a damn thing he didn't know already or wouldn't find out for himself. You can see it in the sentences: elegant, whip smart, spun like a coil of DNA and carrying as much information about who this person is and as much potential.Usually a blurb about the author's journey of self discovery is a kind of metaphor for coming into privilege, but there's nothing of that in this book. MIchael Potter had to find out who he was because he didn't know, because the adoption laws of his state kept him from knowing, because everything would have been easier if he had just let it all go, and he knew how vital it was to resist that temptation. This isn't a book about how all things work out for the best; it's a book about the courage and dignity that comes with trying to make things right. It showed me things about the city where I work that I couldn't have imagined (just read the section where the author has to save his birth mother from the crack dealers who have effectively kidnapped her); it showed me what it is like to live when not knowing who you are is as fundamental as the kind of rootedness many of us have the good luck to take for granted.
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle A superb mixing of the personal and the political 7 ottobre 2013
Di Marley Greiner - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
Although I am an adoptee rights activist I seldom read adoption books outside of history or other topics I have a specific interest in. I almost always avoid memoirs. To be honest most are awful. It may be good therapy to write your adoption story, but please leave it in your desk drawer!

Michael Allen Potter's The Last Invisible Continent: Essays on Adoption and Identity is quite a different story. I've been familiar with Mike's work for several years. I knew part of his story. I knew this book would be important. I was thrilled when he emailed me a few days ago and told me the book was finished and on Kindle. I downloaded it immediately.

And holy moley! What a book it is! Unlike the typical weepy adoption memoir this one is hard and gritty. It's of the street, but also of the heart. Mike doesn't pull any punches about his mother's mental illness, his battle with alcohol, or his rotten adoption, which he discusses almost in passing, though it it obviously the core of the essays.

My personal favorites are the essays "The Re-education of Michael Allen Potter" and "Checking the Bastard Box."

In "Re-education", Mike recounts how is mentally ill mother ends up living in a crack house--evicted from her own modest government-subsidized apartment by some rockhounds down the street who then extort her to live in the dump. Mike leaves San Francisco for a quick trip to Schenectady to return her to her rightful home. She's ambivalent about leaving, but happy to see him. His run-in with her "landlord" (not to mention his mother's reaction to his arrival) is both scary and funny. What strikes me most, though, is Mike's respect for her illness. He doesn't treat her like she's crazy. Ever. He watches out for her in person and from afar, yet respects her independence and choices, even while he worries. Much to Mike's surprise and relief he manages to scare the shit out of her crack dealer tormentors who end up towing his line.

"Checking the Bastard Box" examines the "fake Mike" the adoptee without his records or roots.

The essay opens thus:

"When I arrived in San Francisco, late in the summer of 1996, I had someone else's name. In my bags were packed photographs of someone else's family and every form of ID that I brought with me was fake; my driver's licence, all of the credit cards that helped to propel me across the continent, my birth certificate, my Social Security and ATM cards. All fraudulent. My medical records contain no information. My blood type has never been recorded. The person whose name appeared in thick block lettering on my English degree was just as fictitious as the Pucks and Oberons of my undergraduate studies."

Those few sentences describe the identity conundrum that many adoptees live. In existential terms we have no authentic identity. Our identities are state constructed, a Potemkin village of fictitious documents, family lies, and the unwanted paternalism of the American a culture of American adoptino secrets and lies.

Mike like any thinking bastard knows that bastards are erased from their history. Nothing, apparently happened to us until we were adopted. Saved from one oblivion and dumped into another. Our existence is determined solely by our relationship to the state and the person or persons to whom the state transfers our bodies.

In "Check the Bastard Box," Mike descries this erasure:

"I do not have legal access to my own immediate or extended family members, medical records or heritage. My name was changed three times before my tenth birthday, and these name changes were (allegedly) meant to convey a sense of inclusion into those new facsimiles of family units. In reality, however, what adoption did in both cases was to simply transfer ownership of a human being from the state to unrelated private citizens upon completion of sizable financial transactions."

I can't end this review without sharing what happens when Mike attempts to obtain non-ID information from the State of New York. From "In Propria Persona:"

"In February 2000 I received the results from the New York State Department of Health's Adoption and Medical Information Registry. Almost 30 years after the fact, Peter M Carucci, Director of Vital Records wrote to inform me that my parents were white, Americans and that my father was male and that my mother was female."

Later in the essay he notes that he was also informed "that my brother was (astonishingly) male."

In 1981 I had a similar experience. Unlike Mike, I had already received my OBC from the State of Ohio and I was looking for information on my unnamed father. I was informed by a social worker from Toledo Crittenten Services that my father was white, a high school drop, blue-eyed and a man.

In the end, Mike jettisons' the Fake Mike and claims his original self:

"I took back my own name for myself, but I also did it for my sister and my brother and for the thousands of adoptees whose lives, identities, and families are still being held hostage by the State of New York."

The Last Invisible Continent is an important book, a superb mixing of the personal and the political. I don't know how anyone living outside of the adoptee rights movement (which already knows the truth about adoption) could read this and not realize by the end that adoption secrecy and sealed records, maintained by the corrupt and corroded adoption industry and it's church and political cronies, must be eradicated.

Mike, as those ubiquitous theys say, "knocks it out of the ballpark. Michael Allen Potter is right up there with memoirists (and memoiresque) Craig Hickman, Emily Hipchen, and Dan Chaon.

Read this book! You can download it on Kindle or purchase a hard copy from
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle An example of honest storytelling... 8 ottobre 2014
Di Jennifer Apps - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
As an adoptee I don't tend to enjoy adoptee memoirs. So often they are stories that seem to be aching to be told by someone, who at the same time is tethered by loyalty to their adoptive parents. Any thing close to discontent is a seeming betrayal and they (to me) gloss over many aspects of being adopted. I understand this desire to shed adoption in a positive light; however I don't care to read it as it doesn't tell a complete story. The Last Invisible Continent isn't like that though. Michael Allen Potter is a witty writer, who uses his humor well, but can also deliver a thoughtful and heartbreaking story that demonstrates the complexities of adoption. His is one story and by no means is the story of all adoptees, but it is by far one of the most real accounts I have ever read. It challenged me to think a lot not just about adoption, but also parenting and mental illness. Thank you Michael for such honest storytelling.
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle thrilling, moving, touching, informative, and most of all personal 4 ottobre 2013
Di Ebrahim Helmy - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
This book was recommended to me by I friend. I'm not an avid reader by any means, but I thought why not. I'm glad that I read the book. It was moving and kept my interest and three hours later I found myself done with the book. The book also took me through a gamut of emotions. I found myself laughing,crying, mournful and angry at times. Michael shed light on a topic that the general public has no idea about unless they are adopted. I feel like that this piece of work is eye opening to the injustices that the adoption system in the United States currently uses . I hope that Michael's story serves as a catalyst for change in this country's laws and codes of conduct when it comes to adoption. What I found moving most of all was Michael's journey to find who he truly was. In retro spect after reading the book, we all in one way or another have searched for who we are. What makes this book such a good read is imagery and the descriptions of that places and events Michael has experienced. I honesty felt like I was there with him on his journey. I would recommend this book to anyone, and I can not wait to read more works from this author.
4.0 su 5 stelle An important and extremely well written memoir 24 ottobre 2013
Di BBChurch - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
"The Last Invisible Continent" is the memoir of adoptee Michael Allen Potter's search and reunion with his schizophrenic first mother, but it's more than that. In a clear, uncompromising, and singular voice, Potter lays out how his adoption permeated his life. There is no map for the topology of adoption and the plethora of adoption narratives in books, TV, films, blogs, and other media, speaks to a hunger for meaning, but the overwhelming majority of these are written and consumed by women. Potter's narrative is an important addition to the adoptee narrative because his standpoint is male, and equally so because Potter is a very good writer.
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