Michaela Foster Marsh and her brother Frankie grew up as “twins” in Glasgow, Scotland in the sixties. Born only weeks apart, Michaela was white and Frankie was black, and they were an unusual sight in their dual pram. Despite the doting of his parents and the unceasing love of his sister, Frankie’s life was rarely easy, and it ended far too soon when a fire took him when he was only twenty-six. But for a devastated Michaela, Frankie’s effect on her life was only beginning. She embarks on a search to learn what she can about Frankie’s birth family, a journey that takes her to Uganda, to a culture and a family she never knew, through twists and turns and remarkable coincidences – and to a mission and to a connection with her African brethren she never could have imagined.
Starchild is a remarkably candid memoir that plays out on both a personal and global scale. It is the story of the intimacies of siblinghood and the complexities of multi-racial adoption. It is the story of the unique connection of extended family and the unique commitment to an adopted homeland. It is the story of long-held secrets revealed and long-maintained barriers broken. And it is ultimately the story of a sibling relationship that transcends borders, time, and life itself.
‘Starchild: A Memoir Of Adoption, Race And Family’ by Michaela Foster Marsh is a really important book and one that I’ll be recommending to everyone. It had me absolutely riveted during my wee reading retreat in gorgeous Crail on the east coast of Fife and I am finding it really hard to put into words what a fascinating, moving and unforgettable read that this was.
Starchild is one of the most moving and memorable books I’ve ever blogged about and I’m delighted to be sharing my review today and hoping that other people will discover this book for themselves and get an insight into Michaela’s unforgettable story. It is funny and relatable as well as traumatic and emotionally raw at times and I just could not stop thinking about it. Michaela’s journey to try and find Frankie’s biological family after they lose him allows us a real insight into the many thousands of people across the world have a shared history that they could be totally unaware of – and reminds us once and for all that there is far more connecting us than dividing us across the globe.
Starchild allows to see what it was like living in a mixed-race family in Glasgow for Frankie and Michaela and asks us to think about the meaning of family as we see for ourselves their very real sibling bond. Michaela shows incredible resilience and determination after the tragic loss of Frankie and takes us with her on her journey to Uganda so we can see her working to honour his life and connect with his roots with a hugely postive impact for so many people. It truly demonstrates the idea that when we do things for others, the positive impact can be far far bigger than we could ever have imagined and the emotional connections far deeper too.
The people that you meet in this book remain with you for a long time after you’ve finished turning the pages. It’s such an epic story that I feel like it’s impossible to close this book and not feel a strong connection to these people as you know that all the time you are reading it that there are thousands of families right now who are struggling to be accepted as mixed race families and many adopted children who never get to meet their biological families either – the world is undoubtedly full of real stories like this that are still happening and this book reminds us of the impact of human kindness and the strength of a sister’s love.
The universality of this idea – that family can be far more diverse a concept than may of us realise – never erodes the sense that these are real people whose real lives we are getting an insight into and Michaela’s story is an extremely moving one – which is an important part of why I really think that you should read it too. I can’t forget her emotional as well as their literal journey to Uganda and found it incredibly moving to hear about the lengths she went to and the impact she has had on so many brothers and sisters lives since.
This is an important read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. A powerful story of love and connection across the globe – it’s a book that contains a great deal of heartwarming moments, despite its many sad moments and challenges too -I feel humbled to be able to share their story and so glad that I was invited onto the blogtour and discovered it for myself. Make sure that you get yourself a copy of Starchild this summer , you won’t be able to put it down.
“STARCHILD is an odyssey; a spiritual voyage of self-discovery. Michaela Foster Marsh, through sheer – obsessive even – dedication, illuminates and highlights a path, no matter how jaggedly rocky, that can help lead towards emotional fulfilment.” –Peter McDougal, BAFTA and Prix Italia award-winning screenwriter
Michaela Foster Marsh is an acclaimed musician with three albums to her credit whose work has appeared in television and film, including Dawson’s Creek and The Matthew Sheppard Story.
She has been invited to sing at the Monaco International Film Festival, the Cannes International Film Festival, and for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. She is the founder and Executive Director of Starchild Charity, which works primarily with vulnerable children and women and which recently built a School for Creative Arts in Vvumba, Uganda.
In 2017, she was a finalist for Scotswoman of the Year by the Evening Times and has received a Prime Minister’s award for her work in Uganda. She lives with her partner in Glasgow.