This is the second time I’ve read a book this year and not known until the end that it was based on a true story. Just like my experience with Grace is Gone, I got to the end of Before We Were Yours to find A Note From the Author about the real life story of Georgia Tann. Tann is considered the “Mother of Modern Adoption,” which sounds like a really beautiful moniker, and in many ways, her work benefited children throughout the world. However, the dark underbelly of Tann’s system is ripe with scandal.
Georgia Tann and the fictional story told in Before We Were Yours reminds me of the infamous musical Annie. Tann is so reminiscent of Miss Hannigan that I was compelled to do a quick Google search to see if there may be a connection. I couldn’t immediately find anything, but I would be surprised if there wasn’t an intentional parallel.
The first two-thirds of Before We Were Yours moved slowly and repetitively. There were a few times when I almost gave up on finishing, but I pushed through and was pleasantly surprised by how the last third picked up. The book goes back and forth between the Georgia Tann-era and present day. Within the present day part of the book, there is an odd love story intermixed with the main plot. Usually I am all in for a love story, but this one seemed like a weird afterthought.
Overall, I’m just not sure what to think about this book. I wanted to feel moved. The children’s story is certainly heartbreaking, but there was something missing. Those impacted by Georgia Tann deserve to be known, but I’m not certain that this book does their story justice.