“I always hoped [Mary Williams] would tell her incredible story. She's a writer of uncommon clarity and humor, and the arrival of her memoir is cause for celebration."—Dave Eggers, author of What is the What
As she grew up in 1970s Oakland, California, role models for Mary Williams were few and far between: her father was often in prison, her older sister was a teenage prostitute, and her hot-tempered mother struggled to raise six children alone. For all Mary knew, she was heading down a similar path.
But her life changed when she met Jane Fonda at summer camp in 1978. Fonda grew attached to the bright girl and eventually invited her to become part of her family, becoming the mother Mary never had. Mary’s life since has been one of adventure and opportunity—from hiking the Appalachian Trail solo, working with the Lost Boys of Sudan, and living in the frozen reaches of Antarctica. Her most courageous trip, though, involved returning to Oakland and reconnecting with her biological mother and family, many of whom she hadn’t seen since the day she left home. The Lost Daughter is a chronicle of her journey back in time, an exploration of fractured family bonds, and a moving epic of self-discovery.