Publishers Weekly calls MAMALITA “harrowing,” “moving,” and “deftly handled”

This morning, my agent, Jenni Ferrari-Adler of Brick House Literary, and my publicist at Seal Press, Eva Zimmerman, sent me the fabulous news that Publishers Weekly reviewed Mamalita in its current issue, and called it “harrowing,” “moving,” and “deftly handled.” Thank you for sharing, Jenni and Eva. You made my day!

For information on how to order your own copy of Mamalita, click on the “BOOK” tab above. Publication date remains November 1, although some suppliers are delivering early.

You can read the full Publishers Weekly review here:

Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir
Jessica O’Dwyer, Seal, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-58005-334-1
O’Dwyer’s harrowing and moving journey to adopt a Guatemalan baby offers a look into one person’s experience in the frustratingly convoluted process of adopting from unscrupulous “facilitators.” O’Dwyer had gone through an early divorce and menopause at age 32 before marrying Tim, a divorced dermatologist over 50. They put together an adoption dossier and found an L.A. agency that promised a quick adoption while cutting the bureaucratic red tape. Intent on adopting a certain “Stefany Mishell” (they fell in love with from her online photo), the desperate couple soon discovered that the agency’s methods were dilatory and sloppy, neglecting the important legal paperwork, such as filing the requisite DNA test, and using shady notarios (private attorneys), so that in the end the promised six-month adoption extended over a year. Moreover, O’Dwyer’s occasional visits to Guatemala, where she met Stefany’s foster family and spent a weekend with the baby at the Camino Real hotel in Guatemala City, turned into a permanent residency, as she moved to a city north of the capital, Antiqua, to live with Stefany (now Olivia) until family court finalized the adoption. Dealing with the greedy foster family, managing the baby’s early separation anxiety, navigating the middlemen and interminable waiting are all deftly handled in O’Dwyer’s somber tale. (Nov.)


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9 Responses to “Publishers Weekly calls MAMALITA “harrowing,” “moving,” and “deftly handled””

  1. Marianne Lonsdale says:

    Yahoo! And well deserved. Can’t wait for my signed copy

  2. cynthia rovero says:

    great news jessica, you deserve the positive attention as does your wonderful book.

  3. Jessica says:

    Thanks, Marianne and Cynthia, Writing Mamas compatriots. Thrilling to share the joy with friends. I hope to see you both at my Book Passage Launch on Saturday, November 13 at 7 p.m. !!

  4. anjie says:

    Wow! I want to read that book! Let me know when you want to come to Ashland for a signing at Bloomsbury; I’d love to have you share your deftly handled story with my new community. Congratulations!

  5. Jessica says:

    Ashland! I’d love to go there to share my deftly handled story. ;-) and sign books at Bloomsbury. But especially to catch up with you and the rest of your Rogue-alious family. Thanks, Anj!

  6. anjie says:

    Seriously! It’s a 5-hour drive from Tiburon! If you need help getting something on the calendar, I’m on it. Email me if you want me to get in touch with Bloomsbury and my writer/parent connections. It would be really wonderful if you came to town.

  7. Jessica says:

    Consider it done. Thank you, Anjie.

  8. Dorothy says:


    I just saw this post and wanted to say how happy I am for you getting such a great review!! Well-deserved, I’m sure. I learned while I was away that the original credit card I used to pre-order your book on Amazon had expired, so I haven’t received my book yet. Can’t wait to read it!

  9. Jessica says:

    Thanks, Dorothy. When the book arrives, hope you like it. You’ll recognize many parts from workshops at Joyce’s and Writing Mamas. Glad we shared the process.

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