• To the root: adopted memoirs of a Samoan princess in exile

      Hassel, Jody Marie (2012-12)
      "To the Root: Adopted Memoirs of Samoan Princess in Exile" traces the author's eventful search for and reunion with members of biological family in a memoir of personal essays. The author's search for her birthfather explores thematic elements of loss, abandonment, cultural identity, racial identity, and reconciliation. The memoir explores and challenges boundaries of creative nonfiction through a mosaic of extended narrative scenes and lyric personal reflection. Autobiographical scenes convey the author's family life and upbringing in Interior Alaska tracing her journey through to adulthood, when she travels to Samoa to receive a traditional rite-of-passage tattoo and familial royal title. Resisting an entirely linear retelling of accounts, impressionist reflections on yoga and Polynesian dance are connected to the author's experience of adoption. To the Root reaches a deeper understanding of self as adoptee, as daughter, as agent of lineage.