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Boise author Cynthia Hand Gets Personal in her latest novel

Hand will host a book release party at Rediscovered Books Wednesday, Nov. 6


Cynthia Hand was adopted at an early age, and while not biologically, her adoptive parents are indeed her real parents. However, that didn't stop people from prodding her with questions of whether she wanted to meet her "real" parents. She was curious about who her biological parents were, but in Hand's mind, her real family had adopted her long ago.

To her, it speaks to the ignorance displayed in pop culture when it comes to adoption.

"I've always been a little bit annoyed by the way film and television views adoption," she said.

Hand's newest book, The How and the Why, doesn't necessarily attempt to set the record straight on adopted kids, but it does reflect a more real, personal view of adoption. Hand will host a release party and discussion for her new book at Rediscovered Books in Downtown Boise Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The book follows Cassandra McMurtrey, an adopted child with a rather charming life. However, questions of where she came from and who she is still bounce around McMurtrey's mind. That's when she finds a series of letters written to her from her biological mother shortly before she was put up for adoption.

The narrative dances back and forth between the letters written to the protagonist and McMurtrey's first person perspective. These letters may be able to answer the questions that McMurtrey's adoptive parents couldn't. Hand herself became curious about similar things when she was around 19 years old. Still, that didn't diminish her relationship with her adoptive family, but there are certain things that connect you to the person who gives birth to you, she said. Hand added that she even struggled with this curiosity, noting that it made her feel disloyal to her adoptive parents.

"I wasn't particularly interested in meeting my birth parents," Hand said.

Hand said she actually found it easier to write from the perspective of the mother writing her unborn daughter letters, considering she is a mother now. While the topic deals with adoption and the stresses that come with it, she wasn't writing only to adoptees.

"I think it's just about the ways that we find family," she said. "I don't intend it to be a book that is just readable and intended for adoptees."