As a mom raising multicultural children and a book lover, I am always looking for great books about multicultural families. Recently, I had the great pleasure to read “Global Mom” by Melissa Dalton-Bradford. It was the first memoir by a multicultural family I’ve come across so far, and it is by all means an extraordinary book. So extraordinary that in fact, I struggled with this review because I wanted it to do the book- and its wonderful author- justice.
I am also very honoured to have Melissa’s permission to share her pictures in this post. Thank you, Melissa.
The story starts with a table. A table, from Norway that had been handpicked and handmade from Melissa’s own yard, a table that she and her family have then carried around on their journeys.
The first time we hear about the table, it is being carried into their new apartment in Paris. The local handymen can’t wrap their mind around the fact that someone decides to carry such a huge table with them all the time. We are then taken back to the very beginning, to the US where Melissa and her husband Randall were asked to move for the first time, to Norway. Then, there is a phone call, and off they go to Munich, Germany, and later Singapore, to end in Geneva, Switzerland. Altogether, as the title tells us: “sixteen addresses, eight countries and five different languages, one family”.
The book however, takes an unexpected and tragic turn when her son Parker dies at only 18 years old, trying to rescue a friend from drawning. This, as Melissa writes, makes her go visit yet another country, the country of loss. One that she’ll carry everywhere she goes.
The greatest allure of this book is the vividness of Melissa’s writing. Her words make you feel as if you’re really invited along for her journeys and adventures. You laugh and feel and experience with her. Using just her words, Melissa paints little pictures: when she tried to get her children into a barnepark in Norway by hiding in the woods and observing the children playing in the snow. The way their third child was born and how the Norwegian bureaucracy had a problem with his name. When Melissa was pregnant for the fourth time and with great humour describes the way she gets treated by the French doctor. She is truly a magician who makes pictures come alive with her words
It is visible that this is not a book about a mom who has lived and raised children in multiple countries. It is so much more than that. It is a book about faith and about loss and about the power of family love. About staying together in the face of adversity and drawing strength from each other. It is about learning other cultures and languages, and about making a home wherever you are.
I am sure that “Global Mom” will resonate with readers of all nations, religions and languages- Melissa is truly a global mom, not only because she has travelled and experienced so much, but also because she will speak to all kinds of parents, no matter where there are.
While it is a memoir, and talks about a highly specific situation (even though more and more families become mobile, just like Melissa’s), its messages are highly universal. Not only that, Melissa’s beautiful writing will appeal to everyone.
In short, “Global Mom” is a book that will truly make you laugh, and cry, and feel inspired. A must-read.
Melissa Dalton- Bradford is a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, writer, independent scholar, professional soprano, avid reader, and a serious avoider of all things mathematical. Her daughter Claire just came back from a mission in Italy where she had spend 18 months. Her son Dalton is soon leaving for foreign voluntary service and the whole family is moving yet again- this time to Frankfurst am Main, Germany. Melissa’s next book, “On Loss & Living Onward: Collected Voices” will be released in May.
You can find Melissa on her blog, Melissa Writes Of Passage, follow her on Facebook on the Global Mom Facebook Page, and please buy her book, Global Mom: A Memoir. Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family on Amazon.