A NATIONAL BESTSELLER AND FEATURE FILM STARRING HALLE BERRY AND JESSICA LANGE
"Riveting...impossible to turn away from." —THE BOSTON GLOBE
"Losing Isaiah pushes all the current cultural buttons...[Margolis] gets inside the head of every character." —THE WASHINGTON POST
"[E]ngrossing and, to its credit, offers no pat answers to complicated issues." —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY
Three-year-old Isaiah has two mothers: and they both want him.
Margaret Lewin adopted Isaiah as a newborn—and she and her husband, Charles, give the boy all the love a child could want and everything that money can buy. But can even the most loving, caring white family be responsible for raising a black child?
Selma Richards is the boy's birth mother. When Isaiah was born she was illiterate, unemployed, and a crack addict. Giving up her son was the best thing for both of them—at the time. Now Selma has weaned herself off drugs, has a responsible job caring for another couple's child, and is learning to read. She's not rich and she doesn't live in the best neighborhood, but she's healed herself.
LOSING ISAIAH raises one of the most complex and emotional moral questions of our times, and keeps you rooting for both women until the inevitable and heartrending conclusion in which one mother ends up losing her son.
Recent headline-making custody cases are echoed in this contrived, yet provocative book. Selma Richards, black, illiterate and drug-addicted, sold her premature baby boy Isaiah to Margaret and Charles Lewin, an affluent white couple, for $25,000. Two and a half years later, Selma has turned her life around: she is drug-free, employed, learning to read--and she wants her son back. But Isaiah is now a cherished part of the Lewin family and they will not give him up easily. Using the connections of her sympathetic reading tutor, Selma hires a powerful attorney, and a bitter custody case begins. What is in Isaiah's best interests? A strong cultural identity? Emotional and material security? Mystery writer Margolis ( Disappearing Acts ) turns a sharp eye on the legal system, the media and the less savory side of family life. Selma's pompous and self-serving attorney has his own reasons for taking her case. Charles unwisely begins an affair with a seductive co-worker. And Selma is pressured into adopting a deceptive life style. The message of the book is manipulatively delivered, some passages seem extraneous and the frequent switches in point of view are a blow to cohesion. Nonetheless, the story is generally engrossing and, to its credit, offers no pat answers to complicated issues. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection.