Wednesday, August 14, 2013

You think vampire novels are angsty? Try reading young adult books from the 80's and 90's...

I remember back when I was a teenager I read a book called "The Face On The Milk Carton".  It was one of those typical angsty young adult novels that were so popular back in the 80's and 90's ... honestly I couldn't even begin to tell you how many books I read back then about kids with terminal illnesses or whose parents died ... but this one was about a teenager who finds out she was kidnapped as a toddler and left with a couple who believe they're her grandparents.

Then one day she sees her own face on a milk carton, feel compelled to call the number and find out if it's really her, and then all hell breaks loose.  She's forcibly removed from her grandparents house and made to go live with her real parents, the grandparents have to prove to the cops that they knew nothing about it and really did think she was their grandkiddy, and a generally awful time is had by all.

I remember, at the impressionable age of 15, just loving it!  It was so angsty, so melodramatic.  I got to be righteously indignant on behalf of the girl, feel bad for the parents, feel even worse for the grandparents, and generally twist myself up into emotional knots all the while knowing that it was completely implausible and probably would never happen.

Except that apparently it did happened to this poor guy [link].

For those who don't want to click on the link, the cliff notes version is that a guy who was kidnapped as a baby back in 1964 only to be returned to his parents about a year later, recently had a DNA test done that proves he's wasn't actually the kidnapped child.  The cops had done their best with matching the shape of his ears, bless their hearts, but I guess without the scientific options we have today it was never going to be a 100% guarantee.

I suppose he must have had an inkling about it, if he went to the trouble of having the DNA tests done, but I'd imagine it still came as a bit of a shock.  To find out you're not who you thought you were.  That you're not the child your parents thought they'd lost, then miraculously regained.

It does make me wonder how I'd handle it if I found out that I'm not who I thought I was.  Would I want to know who my parents really were, or would I decided that it didn't matter?

Still, that's not likely.  I've got my grandmother's hair, my father's feet, and my mother's inherited arthritic condition.  If it turned out I was actually a foundling dropped off on the doorstep one rainy night, that'd be one hell of a coincidence, don't you think?

41 comments:

  1. I read that book too and remember practically bawling through it. I was quite an emotional youngster :)

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  2. What a strange case. I wonder if his real parents had another child returned to them. So many questions....

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    1. Unfortunately it was more than fifty years ago so it's unlikely they'll figure it out.

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  3. I didn't read the book but I always find these types of stories interesting. I won't go into detail as I don't want to hog your comment section but I was kidnapped in 1960. Back then there wasn't Amber alerts or even a Missing and Exploited Children agency. Things were handled differently. When I was an adult I went back to talk to the police and detectives that initially were supposed to find me and asked them how it was handled. They remembered my case but said the laws only covered the state they worked in at that time. Once I was taken over state lines there was nothing to be done.

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    1. Wow, you were kidnapped? Obviously it turned out okay because you're here now, but it must have been terrifying at the time.

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  4. At the very age of 37, I still wish I was adopted. Never read that book, I was always more of a "Troubled teens taking revenge on the world" kind of reader :P.

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    1. I was always a "terrible tragedy or near death incident" reader myself ;D

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  5. I read that book too, and I think there's a TV movie of it too that I've watched.

    My brother and his girlfriend had a baby last week, and the security when visiting the hospital was immense, there were multiple buzzered doors to work our way through and the baby had an electronic tag on her ankle, like criminals have, to stop her going missing! This put my mind at ease because I've always been scared that if I had a baby it would get mixed up with someone elses and I'd take the wrong one home (this is probably a result of reading too many books like 'The Face on the Milk Carton'!)

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    1. There was a TV movie, I remember watching it when it came out. It was pretty good if I remember.

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  6. I can't imagine finding out that my mom and dad were not parents. What caught my attention was him writing his parents a letter. That baffles me and it makes me wonder what his relationship with them was like when he was growing up. It is a sad story for everyone involved.

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    1. It does make you wonder if the relationship has soured and that's why he got the test done, doesn't it.

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    1. It could potentially be good news for whoever his real parents are, but the likelihood of them ever finding that out is pretty slim.

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  8. Years ago I had a friend whose wife found out she was adopted. Her parents had died and she found the papers in the attic. She changed her name back to what was on the original birth certificate and went off to find her 'lost' family.

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    1. I'm not sure how I'd react to that if my parents were dead and I found out then.

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  9. I'd be willing to pay for a DNA test if there was a possibility I wasn't related to my crazy family.

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    1. Paternity tests seem to be a rite of passage in my family, seeing as most of the men have had to take them. It's already been proven that I'm stuck with my crazy relatives.

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    2. LOL! I don't think any of my family have ever felt the need to do a paternity test, but I suppose there's a first time for everything.

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  10. All that angst and melodrama sounds like all the links that get shared on Facebook.. ugh. I swear some of the ladies there LIVE for that kind of stuff.


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    1. LOL! Facebook is both hypnotising and terrifying, I've found.

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  11. Living the lie would be an interesting thing, that's for sure. There is a book out called "I know my first name is Steven" and there was a movie made about his story.

    My Aunt knows a woman who was kidnapped at a very young age and raised by strangers. She thinks she knows her first name, or what it might have been, but isn't positive and still as an adult has no idea who her real parents are.

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    1. I only know one person who was ever kidnapped, and it was more of a "stupid tourist travelling in India makes the mistake of trusting the wrong people" situation. He ended up safely back home, even if they did steal thousands of dollars from him while they had him.

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  12. I vaguely remember reading that book as I raided my local library for all those types.

    The amount of people who are adopted, these days we think it's a good thing, decades ago it wasn't as babies were being taken from mothers simply because they were too young and not married.

    I wish to God I was adopted but my older sister is stupid enough to go around telling others she thinks she's adopted yet has her birth certificate that says mum if her mum yet she's so stupid she keeps saying it, just not to mum.

    Fucked up family I have!

    A bit of a bloggie makeover I see!

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    1. Yes, I decided it was time for a new header, but I'm not very creative so I decided to go with the minimalist approach. I think it works though.

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  13. I LOVED that book when I read it back in the day! Sadly, I don't find it too hard to believe. I've read a few memoirs lately around kidnapping and its terrible.

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    1. Yep, real life kidnappings tend to be more horrible and with fewer happy endings than the made up ones.

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  14. Guess I have to read this book! Found your blog on the Rainbows and Honeysuckle bloghop and I'm so happy that I did!

    Elba//I Heart E

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  15. i wish i had some rich parents out there waiting for me...but i am the spitting image of my mother, just like i was cloned...hmm

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    1. I'm not exactly a clone of anyone in my family, but my feet are exactly like my dads so I think that's pretty telling.

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  16. omg! those Lurlene McDaniels books! I read them all! And the Face on the Milk Carton also became one of those Lifetime movies.

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    1. Oh yes, Lurlene McDaniels! I think I read all of her books!

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  17. I honestly don't know how I'd react if I found that out. I definitely have to read this book, though! To me everything in the 90's was better! Music/tv/movies/books. etc!

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    1. I was a kid in the 80's and a teen in the 90's so both eras hold a special place in my heart.

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  18. Now I want a DNA test... My ears match no one in my family!!

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. That's a good point. My ears are nothing like anyone else in my family. More shame for them, I've got nice ears.

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  19. Gosh, I can't imagine a family having to go through the ordeal of having someone kidnapped, be reunited and then discover that you were reunited with the wrong baby!

    I wasn't really into tear jerky stories, I can only remember reading one as a roughly under ten child, which was called "See Ya, Simon" about this cheeky monkey little kid who had MD (Simon) and the BFF who told the story. That one made me cry, and it was one of the few contemporary fiction books I read as a kid. I was always about wizards and adventures and pirates and shit.

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  20. Oh no! The real story of what happened is awful, but I have to be honest: the beginning part where you're describing the plot of the book kinda made me laugh. Oops...ugh...my soul.

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  21. I remember going home from school one day and asking my Mum whether I was adopted. Her reply? "Do you think I would have kept you if you were?"

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