'Found' is the first of Lauck's works I've read. I wasn't sure jumping in with a memoir in the middle of a "series" was the greatest idea, but thankfully that worry turned out to be moot. 'Found' is a fine stand-alone, and I don't feel I really missed anything not having read her other books, as is the case with a lot of fiction series'. So if that's something you're grappling with, don't worry about it. Though I'm sure reading her other books would give a more fleshed-out portrait of the writer, jumping in mid-series isn't a problem.
It was my choice to read Lauck's 'Found' for the Amazon Vine program. Considering how burned out I am on the memoir genre (having just been through a couple years' worth of memoir mania, then declaring I was so over it), it surprised even me that I chose it. I didn't read it in the best of circumstances, as far as reader attention goes. It was my working out on the elliptical trainer book. I like to read nonfiction when I'm working out, and it's pretty much my litmus test for books. If it can keep me interested while I'm sweating like a fountain, clenching my teeth and swearing, it's a decent read.
'Found' moves quickly, and I enjoyed Lauck's ability to walk the fine line between writing emotionally and coming off sounding whiny and self-pitying. Because who among us hasn't had a crappy life, at one time or another? And who wants to revel in someone else's misery? 'Cause I don't know about you, but I have my own dysfunctional material to wade through.
The basic story, as you'll likely already have read in other reviews, revolves around Laucks' search for her birth mother. After trying other methods of finding herself and discover her own identity, she figured out the only way to put all this to rest and find peace would involve tracking down her mother. This takes a while. In the meantime there are broken relationships and the birth of her two children, her life as a writer, journalist and everything else that comes with normal, everyday life. All the time she's trying to make the best of the not-knowing, uncertain she'll even be successful. It's necessary to find a way for that to be okay, too, because there's never a guarantee things are going to work out the way you hoped.
Though adoption's not something I've ever had to deal with, a lot of 'Found' could be applicable to other tough life challenges as well. Lauck had a mother she desperately wanted to find. I'm saddled with parents I wish I'd never known. Doesn't sound comparable, but in a lot of ways it really is.
So many bad things people experience come with the same baggage: depression, lack of self-esteem, feeling of being misplaced, sort of, or uncertain who you really are. Laucks' experiences are, in many ways, universal. So her methods of coming to terms with them are, likewise. Though it isn't always necessary to identify with the issues dealt with in a memoir, it can be very helpful when you do.
Laucks' writing does justice to her journalist experience. It's methodical, answers all the who, what, when, where, etc., and is just an enjoyable read. The style's lovely, as I wrote earlier never descending into self-pity. But it is very introspective, illustrative of the necessity of self care and forgiving others for having - intentionally or not - hurt you, in ways little and huge.
I enjoyed it, though I think I may *really* be done with the memoir for a while. I'd recommend her, and somewhere down the road maybe I'll check out some of her other writing. So, for what she intended and how well the book succeeded, I'm giving her the full five stars. Because I think she did an exemplary job, even for this memoir-weary reader.