I Would Meet You Anywhere: A Memoir by Susa Kiyo Ito is out! I received my first-day copy a couple of days ago. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I can’t wait. In the meantime, I want to spread the word on this long-awaited memoir with a pre-reading review, if there is such a thing.
I’ve met Susan a couple of times, but have known her online since–well I dunno. Maybe before Bastard Nation was formed, so that’s a long time.
I last saw Susan at an AAC conference–I can’t remember where. (Sacramento?) She performed her one-woman play, The Ice Cream Gene, based on her adoption. It was funny. It was sad. It was adoptee truth. It resonated. It was terrific!
That weekend Susan gave me a Tiki T-shirt. She’d brought it with her for no specific person in mind but knew she’d find the right person to give it to when she saw them. I’m wearing the shirt in the selfie I took for this blog, but you can’t really see it because I am very bad at selfies and the more I took, the worse they got.
While I haven’t been able to read the book yet, I have read the Preface. It so resonates with me and, I believe, will so many of us caught in our own adoptee secrets and selves.
I was never supposed to tell this story. It is challenging to write, and publicly share a story which holds a secret at its core. I have been a secret my whole life. I have also been writing about it for more than three decades. This book represents an excruciating tug of war between my wanting to know and wanting to tell, against the forces of that secret
Perhaps because I have lived with my existence as a secret– and because so many details of my own life, the heritage, and history have been kept from me–that the need to know about and tell my story has been consuming. The risk of telling this story comes at a great cost, but the cost of not telling it is equally Painful.
Susan’s words remind me that adoption by design builds secrets– a tangled wall of family, state, and internalized personal rules of identity, history, and self-worth that for some reason are never expected to be broken, without pain to us and others. That’s how adoption works, even in the “best.” of them.
You can read more about Susan, I Would Meet You Anywhere, and upcoming personal and media appearances on her website, The book is published by Mad Creek Books, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press. There are also a bunch of great reviews already online. Just surf.
I will attempt to give a full review I Would Meet You Anywhere later but book reviews one genre I’ve never been able to grasp.
(No, it will never be X!)