Small Worlds: Adopted Sons, Pet Piranhas, and Other Mortal Concerns.

Author:Carter, Trina
Position:Book review
 
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Work Title: Small Worlds: Adopted Sons, Pet Piranhas, and Other Mortal Concerns

Work Author(s): Robert Klose

University of Missouri Press

186 pages, Softcover $19.95

Essays

ISBN: 0826216757

Reviewer: Trina Carter

Far from his home in Maine, a man shares his first night in a hotel room in the grim "worn to the bones" city of Moscow with a boy he has adopted from an orphanage. Under a midnight sun, the author finds "the beauty beyond the shadows" in the first glint of fatherhood.

Such is the thrust of this collection of personal essays that addresses the adaptability of human beings to new and different environments. Klose groups his book into eight sections according to themes such as surviving in a cold climate, teaching and learning from others, and raising two boys on his own. Topics range from the comical (learning the clarinet) to the sentimental (yearning for good old Converse sneakers), from the whimsical (turning river pumpkins into a legend) to the cultural (debating whether Maine has any).

This mix of reflections on his experiences reads like a rummage sale, where the reader can pick up the book, open it at random, and find something worth knowing or thinking about. Klose, associate professor of Biological Sciences at the University College of Bangor, wrote for twenty years for the Christian Science Monitor; his previous book is Adopting Alyosha: A Single Man Finds a Son in Russia.

The experience of fatherhood---of finding not one but two sons and adopting them---informs much of the book. He takes pride in their adjustment to "Maine's backwaters" as well as his own as a child...

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