Laura Shaine Cunningham; HarperTrophy; 2006
This story reminds us that our efforts to protect our children from the sometimes difficult truth, while generally well-intended, are often misdirected and misunderstood. New questions will continue to surface those from the past that are yet unanswered.
Zoya Blume is a 12-year-old girl who has not had an opportunity to process some questions and mysteries from her past. When her mother leaves, promising to be back in seven days and leaving a magician friend in charge of caring for her daughter, she gives Zoya a diary and instructions to write her truth and “search for her first memory.” Zoya believes that her first memory is locked up in the little plaid suitcase that she carried from the orphanage when she was adopted at the age of four.
The diary entries give us Zoya’s perspective as she struggles to make sense of her mother’s disappearance, the presence of the Astounding Armand, the power that the Buka has over her, and the secrets in the plaid suitcase. Through Zoya’s eyes, we learn about her life at Roxy Mansion, the mysteries of the Stone Girl and the midnight crying, and the truth about the Disgusting Boy.
The role of the magician seems appropriately mysterious, but in the end it is his magic and the support of Zoya’s gypsy friend that help to unlock the mysteries to give Zoya a new understanding of her own past, her mother’s past, and their life together as a family.
My 13-year-old daughter, who was also adopted at the age of 4, recommended this book to me. As our children grow, so does their sophistication to understand the truth, and so must our respect for their maturity grow.
“Zoya Blume” is an easy read, delightful and poignant. Single adoptive parents, this is one of the rare books where we can see our family represented. Zoya’s adventures and unique perspective will be enjoyed by many.