By: Bryan Foreman
Publisher: BForeman Books
Publication Date: June 22, 2023
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: July 18, 2023
Novelist Bryan Foreman applies his wordsmithing wit and wisdom to the tale of a tormented teen who is secretly longing for a sense of true identity in his newest book, Discovering Mom.
Daniel is an adopted child, something he didn’t know until his natural curiosity at seeing his aunt late in pregnancy prompts the boy to ask his mother if he came out of her belly as his aunt’s offspring will soon do. His somewhat estranged but prosperous parents – a distant but errant father and a hardworking but anxiety-ridden mother - decide to level with him, and thus Daniel learns that he is the son of a Caucasian mother and a Native American, Comanche father. At first dismayed at being a “half-breed,” and worse, half “bad guy,” he soon learns to take pride in this ancestry, even asking for an Indian costume for his ninth birthday. But his dark features and knowledge of his background will make him an object of scorn with his schoolmates, until he meets Jasmine, also of mixed (Black/White) race. Though young, the two bond, loyally defending one another and rebelliously taking on the role of defiant outcastes. Daniel’s zeal to meet his birth parents begins to eat at him, and, remarkably, he learns his mother’s whereabouts and name – California, and Karen - with the help of a concerned grown-up in Jasmine’s family circle. After many phone conversations with Karen, the young couple – just seventh graders - jump on a bus and head to California. What Daniel will find there is a genuinely loving, caring woman whose life is unfortunately heading for disaster. Karen has joined a bizarre religious cult and has a serious, mysterious past that will gradually unfold to Daniel as he digs deeper, learning secrets about the creepy creed and its dictatorial leader that will call for a battle of wills. It is a battle that Daniel must win to secure his newly burgeoning self-respect and sustain the very life of his newfound parent.
Foreman, a dedicated fiction writer, has interwoven complex themes and lightning-fast action, revealed through the eyes of a tormented youngster determined to become a better person than many of the grownups who oversee him. Daniel’s phone conversations with Karen are a tender combination of a mother’s sincere concern and a son’s resolve to seal the relationship. His closeness to Jasmine, which will be especially crucial as the story progresses, develops over time from puppy love to a quality far more enduring. Foreman’s humor abounds throughout this well-paced adventure, with dialogue appropriate to the varying group settings, and scenarios that can evoke smiles along with those that will have readers holding their breath – even shedding a tear or two - as his cinematic plot progresses.
Quill says: Foreman’s sky-wide, open-hearted, and sometimes closed-fisted story of a misfit youth determinedly seeking and triumphantly finding a niche and a purpose in life should be read by anyone who has ever had a dream and worked to make it come true.
To learn more about Discovering Mom, please visit the author’s website at: www.bforeman-books.com