Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good Book and Veronica Mars

Good read:

I've recently read the book, Stealing Buddha's Dinner by a Vietnamese-American named Bich Minh Nguyen. I loved the book and I recommend it to everyone who loves a good story and loves to read about food. The author came to the US in 1975 as an infant with her father and grandmother and uncles. Her mother is conspicuously missing, but, there is an explanation towards the end of the book.

Veronica Mars (do not read if you are still netflixing Season One - spoiler alert):

Last night I watched an episode of Veronica Mars from Season 1. It was an episode in which one of the secondary characters, Mac, finds out that she was switched at birth with another child, and when she discovers that she is not biologically related to her family, many things make sense to her. (I.e. she has never felt like she belonged in her family.) The casting director of this show did an amazing job of filling the roles of Mac's biological mother and sister - who look ASTONISHINGLY like the actress who plays Mac, while the actress who plays the other "switched at birth" child looks remarkably like the actress cast as Mac's non-biological mom.

Anyway, this got me thinking - how much of our personality is defined by biology and how much is defined by sociology? Obviously, my daughter will be aware that she is not our biological child - aside from the obvious physical differences, she will have a memory (I hope anyway) of our becoming a family. Will she be a teenager filled with angst about not "truly" belonging to us? I'd like to think that there is more power in environment, and making one feel like one belongs in that environment, than in genetics, but, I guess it's an age old question, isn't it? In a way, the episode made me sad, because Mac longs for the family she belongs to biologically (and not just because that family is rich and hers is not). But, in the end, she turns and walks away from her bio-mom's car and gets into a camper with family, i.e. the family she was raised in, to go on their annual camping trip.

(On a separate note, I thought the episode raised some interesting legal questions, such as, who would be entitled to inherit from the estate of the wealthy family? Probate court is an area of law that favors blood ties...I started to think that, in such a situation, the children would need to be formally adopted by the alternate families...obviously, the show didn't delve into the subtleties of Probate Law in California.)



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