Here's the thing about Ada: she has a hard time trusting. Being unloved by her mother -- the one person who is supposed to love you no matter what -- has done quite a number on her feelings of worth and loveability. Even when adoptive mother Susan's love is steadfast, Ada still doubts and does things to self-sabotage.
I am no expert, but I do have loved ones with exactly this issue! Which is why Ada feels so real to me. I love that Kim takes us into the confusion of Ada's emotions. Ada's such a strong heroine -- and yet so needy! It reminds me to reach out to those people in my life who appear strong, but maybe need love. And when they reject my efforts, to reach again. To never stop reaching.
Here's a favorite passage:
"On May 13, 1941, I celebrated my real birthday for the first time. I was twelve years old.
I hadn't known my birthday until I'd found my birth certificate last September. Susan had made up dates to put on our identity cards. She had celebrated our pretend birthdays too.
Mam never celebrated birthdays. Mam never celebrated anything.
Maggie was back at school, but Ruth and Jamie picked flowers from the hedgerows and covered the breakfast table with them. Susan gave me a piece of bacon and a whole fried egg for breakfast. She and Lady Thorton stacked presents by my plate – new books, three of them.
It was too much. Church-steeple panic crawled across my skin. I handed the bacon to Jamie. I pushed the books out of sight. I made myself choke down the egg. Susan would be angry if I wasted it.
I should have been used to birthdays. Man should have celebrated my birthdays.
“It's okay,” Susan said, watching my face. “Whatever you feel, it's okay.” She put her arms around me.
“Why didn't she love me?” I whispered.
“Because she was broken,” she said. “Remember that. She was broken, not you.”
I had the bad foot, but the foot worked better now. The foot wasn't the reason. Something else must be wrong with me. Most mothers loved their children.”"
Please don't miss this wonderful book!