Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
When I began this book, it was with preconceived notions. I expected a feel-good book. I know several families that have adopted “international” children. The children are loved and well cared for. I find it disconcerting that anyone would treat a child the way Mary/Hien was treated. I am delighted that she was reunited with her mother.
Oceans Apart is the Memoir of Mary Mustard Reed. She was only seven years old when her mother entrusted her care to Sam and Margaret Reed. Hien, later renamed Mary, had small pox; Yvonne knew the Mustards could better care for her. Life with the Mustards was fraught with abuse and neglect. Sam was usually indifferent and Margaret was abusive. Every time she looked at Mary she was reminded that Sam cared deeply for Yvonne. Mary had long believed her mother was dead. She was ecstatic when she discovered a glimmer of hope that her mother may have survived the bombing. It was a miracle when Mary was reunited with her mother.
Oceans Apart is a story of extremes. Her mother loved her so much that she was willing to give her up. The Mustards felt nothing for her. I found it ironic that Margaret waited until she was on her deathbed to ask forgiveness for her abuse. I like happy conclusions, and this one did not disappoint me. How wonderful that Mary found her mother after all those years. Oceans Apart proves that obstacles can be overcame. The photographs added reality to the story. This is one you must read.