“Lori Jakiela is one of our very finest local writers, and her books are wonderful gifts. If you haven’t yet read her, do yourself the favor of starting right here.” – Pittsburgh Magazine
Once, on a street in New York City, author Lori Jakiela stopped on a whim to visit a palm reader. She told Lori, “We all have two lives and we carry the maps of those lives with us. Our left hands mark the lives we’re born with. Our right hands mark the lives we make for ourselves.”
Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe is a book about mapping those lives – the lives we are born with and the lives we are allowed – and lucky enough – to make for ourselves.
Belief is part adoption narrative and part meditation on family, motherhood, nature vs. nurture, and what it means to make our own authentic human connections. It extends the possibilities of creative nonfiction at a time when many people are talking about what exactly truth-in-memoir means. The book’s patchwork form mirrors the fragmented experience of being an adoptee confronting — and trying to heal — her roots.
Belief is the story of one woman’s search for her birth mother coupled with the parallel story of her own motherhood and her own re-making. It’s about what it means to be a mother, what it’s like to have two very different blood connections, and what it means to form a family.
Belief is about searching for roots and what that means, exactly. It’s about finding a balance between the families we’re born into and the ones we make ourselves.
PRAISE FOR ‘BELIEF’
“Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe is Jakiela’s third memoir and her finest work to date … It is … at once harrowing, hilarious and cry-yourself-to-sleep sad.”
— Pittsburgh Magazine
“Through metaphors and a fragmented, lyrical style that reflects the writer’s background as a poet, Jakiela communicates the sense of a fragmented self experienced by many adoptees with little information about their origins. ‘An adopted person’s story is someone else’s secret,’ says Jakiela, the author of two previous memoirs. A laugh-out-loud funny writer in much of her earlier work, Jakiela shows herself to be equally at home in this compelling and poignant story of her search for her birth family and for her place in the world.”
“This is a book about the lies we are told, the lies we tell ourselves, and the things we just believe without proof. It searches out the authenticity in all of it and illuminates how beliefs sometimes persist because we need both the truth and the lies to make life livable–to keep loving ourselves and each other. … Jakiela recognizes that the life she has created for herself, deeply connected to her husband and children, is the one that matters, while readers recognize those places in themselves where belief and truth mingle.”
— Weave Magazine
“Belief is a moving memoir that sifts through the overlapping, conflicting, and at times buried stories of the narrator’s adoption narrative. … Lori Jakiela crafts a compelling version of herself as narrator, devoid of sugar coating. Readers of this memoir are on the journey with her, alternating between elated and upset, cautious and rash, fiercely independent and in need of familial support.”
— Small Press Review
“This engaging, multifaceted creative nonfiction memoir is exquisitely written and effortlessly draws the reader into a series of philosophical issues. Ostensibly the narrative concerns the narrator’s quest for her biological mother and medical history through the Catholic Charities following the death of her adopted mother. However, it soon develops a series of narrative threads moving back and forward in time, which concern nature versus nurture, motherhood, authenticity and mapping a life.”
— Tears in the Fence
“Jakiela is a master at weaving past and present together; at creating a seamless picture between who she was, who she has become, and who she does not remember–the self that she cannot grasp. Her memoir is like a recipe: “a proof of an exchange, a transaction between generations” Imbued with raw feelings of love and doubt, Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe is an unforgettable story from the first page to the last.”
— JMWW Journal
“Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe is the story of one woman’s search for her mother, but more than that it’s the story of what we all long for, the feeling of belonging to a family and knowing how safe we are there, how protected and loved. Lori Jakiela’s memoir is filled with heart-wrenching scenes and moments of transcendence. It doesn’t look away from the ugly, but it always finds the light that rises above it. To read this book is to experience our lives and their complicated arrangement of disappointment, sadness, wonder, and joy. I won’t soon forget it; neither should you.”
— Lee Martin, author of Such a Life and From Our House
“I am a big fan of Jakiela’s writing, and Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe has all of her gifts on full display. This memoir is sharp, insightful, sad, and often darkly funny. Her prose is honed to perfection, sure, but it really is her big heart and her wisdom about the stupid, terribly imperfect, and beautiful world that makes me want to read anything she writes.”
— Greg Bottoms, author of Angelhead and Pitiful Criminals
“Adoptees look out at the world from the eyes of what was lost. We can’t help it, but we can transform it. Lori Jakiela’s new memoir—Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe—is a beautifully written journey into one woman’s process of letting go of what was lost, and the messy dignity of human transformation. Her story is one of life, of reaching for life. With a deep gift for storytelling and unsparing, beautifully gritty self-examination, she brings the reader on the harrowing journey with her. It’s an important ride, and an important book.”
— singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier
“Brilliant, heartbreaking and fiercely honest. In Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe, adoptee Lori Jakiela tells a story of losing her birth family twice, yet creating abiding connection and love with the family she creates. A powerful, essential read.”
— Linda Carroll, author of Her Mother’s Daughter and Love Cycles
“’What is the nature of your search?’ asks the Catholic Charities counselor at the beginning of Lori Jakiela’s memoir. There is no simple answer. It is a search full of pain, vividly remembered or imagined details, and laughter—not all of it from trying not to cry. Jakiela leads the reader through her search for her birth family, the rejections, the struggles to understand, and the victories, and intertwines this with her memories of the sometimes uncomprehending parents who raised her, her discoveries about their wounds, and her day-to-day struggles as a parent to much-loved small children. No part of her life is easy—nor are the lives of any of her families. But Jakiela’s spirit and voice and sense of the absurd keep the reader involved. I couldn’t put the book down.”
— Marianne Novy, author of Reading Adoption: Family and Difference
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lori Jakiela is the author of the memoirs, The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious and Miss New York Has Everything, as well as the poetry collection, Spot the Terrorist!, and several limited-edition poetry chapbooks. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and elsewhere. She’s worked as a bingo-hall waitress and a journalist, and spent nearly seven years as a New York City-based flight attendant for Delta Air Lines. She now teaches in the writing programs at The University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg and Chatham University, and lives in Pittsburgh with her husband/author Dave Newman and their two children.