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My Real Children

Walton, Jo

(Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
My Real Children
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It's 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. "Confused today," read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know-what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don't seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev. Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War, those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?
Publisher: New York :, Tor,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765332653
0765332655
Branch Call Number: FICTION WALTON 2014
Characteristics: 320 pages ;,22 cm

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From Library Staff

In her confused state near the end of her life, Patricia Cowan has two sets of memories of two very different lives, diverging at the point where her fiance gave her an ultimatum. In both she finds both joy and sadness, and witnesses two very different worlds take shape.
(Rachael's fave)

Remembering two different pasts that reflect contrasting historical events and relationships with different people, an elderly Patricia Cowan wonders about her identity while gazing at a moon that might house benign or malicious technologies. This is new, and will likely we available on e-book soon.

Comment by: multcolib_rachaels May 27, 2014

In her confused state near the end of her life, Patricia Cowan has two sets of memories of two very different lives, diverging at the point where her fiance gave her an ultimatum. In both she finds both joy and sadness, and witnesses two very different worlds take shape.

Patricia Cowan is elderly, and confused. She remembers two separate lives, dividing at the point where her fiancé gave her an ultimatum. In each Patricia found a whole, complicated, glorious life.

Patricia Cowan is elderly, and confused. She remembers two separate lives, dividing at the point where her fiancé gave her an ultimatum. In each Patricia found a whole, complicated, glorious life.


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Sep 10, 2014
  • athena14 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I'm a lesbian and wanted to like this book. I imagine that Jo Walton wanted to show how unfairly gay people were treated, not so long ago, but the children and Bee's injuries just wore me out.

Jul 18, 2014
  • yvox rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Jo Walton is a story-teller.

What is it about an author's style that makes a reader read and read and read? From one sentence to the next, I was not reading a book, I was living a story. How does she do that?

(Do you think I liked MY REAL CHILDREN?)

Patricia is at the end of her life. She suffers as her mother did from Alzheimer's/dementia/"I forgot who I am". But she does remember her life. Trouble is, she remembers two lives. Which life is true, which life happened? My only problem with this book is that I was so looking forward to Ms. Walton's neatly wrapping up these tales with satisfying answers. Spoiler alert! she doesn't. She leaves you with questions: Do our choices affect the world? Would you choose differently if you could see the detailed movie of the life a choice would make?

Read MY REAL CHILDREN, you will like it. And if you haven't yet, then read TOOTH AND CLAW. And I'm checking my library for what else this gifted author has given the world.

Jul 13, 2014
  • Michael Colford rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Patricia is feeling confused today. At least that's what the note by her bed tells her. In fact, at her advanced age, in the nursing home where she lives, she often feels confused and forgetful, but what's she remembers distinctly are the two lives that crowd her memory. One where she married Mark and raised four children in a world that is at peace and has a colony on the moon; and another where she spent her life with her beloved Bee and their three children, on a beleaguered planet suffering from nuclear detonations and fatal fallout.

Jo Walton, whose last novel, Among Others is among my favorite reads, spins a straight-forward, subtle tale of a woman's life, or rather, two lives, and how a single decision can propel that life into two very different paths. And could that one person's quiet, unassuming life also have major repercussions across the globe? Just like the theory that the flap of a butterfly's wing can cause a hurricane halfway around the world, Walton wonders if a single decision could make the difference between peace and violence. Which life would you choose if given the choice?

Jun 23, 2014
  • dscrimshaw rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I'll read anything Jo Walton writes because everything else I've read by her is outstanding.

Here the writing in terms of language and wordchoice is terrific.

But except for one choice that split the world in two, the characters just seemed to bounce along with external events.

And if the central choice caused the huge difference between the two worlds, we never found out how.

Jun 19, 2014
  • ehbooklover rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A book about the how one person’s decision, no matter how small, can affect their life’s path and perhaps even change the world. An intriguing premise and thought provoking theme kept me reading despite the fact that most of the characters in the book seemed underdeveloped and one dimensional.

May 27, 2014
  • multcolib_rachaels rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In her confused state near the end of her life, Patricia Cowan has two sets of memories of two very different lives, diverging at the point where her fiance gave her an ultimatum. In both she finds both joy and sadness, and witnesses two very different worlds take shape.

The notion that one personal choice can make an astounding difference, not just in our lives, but in the lives of the planet around us, is a fascinating one; it's given an even deeper look in MY REAL CHILDREN as Walton gives the gift of the ultimate of remembering to a woman suffering from dementia. She can remember, in her old age and near death, the diverging paths of her life, and the joy and pain of each. This tremendous book shows how we can find love in the most wondrous places, and how there are many different ways to be happy and find satisfaction.

What if you could remember two versions of your life? Parallel lives - a woman with dementia struggles to remember which life was real.

Apr 20, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I have long been a fan of personal alternate history narratives -- whether the film SLIDING DOORS or Lionel Shriver's novel THE POST BIRTHDAY WORLD. The notion that one personal choice can make an astounding difference, not just in our lives, but in the lives of the planet around us, is a fascinating one; it's given an even deeper look in MY REAL CHILDREN as Walton gives the gift of the ultimate of remembering to a woman suffering from dementia. She can remember, in her old age and near death, the diverging paths of her life, and the joy and pain of each.

This tremendous book shows how we can find love in the most wondrous places, and how there are many different ways to be happy and find satisfaction.

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Apr 20, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

She hadn't been important, in either world, she hadn't been somebody whose choices could have changed worlds. But what if she had been? What if everyone was?

Apr 20, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Now or never, Trish or Pat, peace or war, loneliness or love? She wouldn't have been the person her life had made her if she could have made any other answer.

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app11 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52