Postcards from Cookie

Postcards from Cookie : A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles, and a Whole Lot of Mail

3.98 (203 ratings by Goodreads)
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Award-winning journalist and host of Black "Enterprise" Business Report Caroline Clarke's moving memoir of her surprise discovery of her birthmother-Cookie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole-and the relationship that blossomed between them through the heartfelt messages they exchanged on hundreds of postcards. Caroline Clarke was born in an era when adoptions were shameful, secret, and sealed. While she wondered about her biological parents, she kept her curiosity in check, until a series of small health problems raised concerns about her genetic heritage and its consequences for her two children's lives and her own. Though Spence-Chapin Family Service, the agency that handled her adoption, could not reveal the name of her birth mother, it was able to provide details that lead to a shocking truth. Caroline's birth mother and her family were related to a friend. The woman who gave her life was none other than Carole "Cookie" Cole, the daughter of iconic crooner and pianist Nat King Cole.
Drawing on details provided by the agency and her own investigative skills, Caroline embarked on a life-changing journey of discovery that stretched from coast to coast, forged through e-mail, phone calls, and post cards. The constancy, volume, and intimacy of her steady correspondence with Cookie filled the days and distance between them. Through brief yet poignant messages squeezed onto three-inch open-faced squares, mother and daughter revealed themselves, sharing secrets, taking risks, and ultimately building a bond like no other. A heartfelt, inspiring tribute to both Caroline's adoptive parents and her biological mother, Postcards from Cookie illuminates the enduring power of love to shape and guide our lives.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 165.1 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 539.77g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Harper
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0062103172
  • 9780062103178
  • 1,748,877

Review quote

"A moving account of a woman who finally finds out who she is." -- New York Times Book Review "Page after elegant, funny, and poignant page, POSTCARDS FROM COOKIE astounds. The power of Clarke's writing is matched by the complex and remarkable relationship between two extraordinary and unforgettable women." -- Patrik Henry Bass, Essence "A sensitive memoir of identity and self-discovery... Splendid, soul-baring." -- Publishers Weekly "A loving ... account of the enduring power of family love." -- Booklist (starred review) "The exchange of postcards, phone calls and emails between mother and daughter are moving, and Clarke's capacity for forgiveness is real." -- Juicy "Caroline Clarke has written more than a memoir. Postcards from Cookie is an iconic portrait of a singular American family -- complete with celebrity and wealth, secrets and lies, heart pounding loss and hard-earned, often uneasy, love." -- Veronica Chambers, author of Mama's Girl "I'm excited to add Postcards from Cookie to the bookshelves at my restaurant, the Red Rooster. This stunning memoir is so emblematic of the love and joy I see in our patrons every day; a never-ending story about family, friendship, love and history." -- Marcus Samuelsson, co-owner of the Red Rooster in Harlem and award-winning author of Yes, Chef "Clarke's prose is elegant, crisp and deeply personal, and her narration is gripping... Clarke effectively explores her crisis of identity by peeling back layer after layer of a complex, riveting personal history... A captivating memoir." -- Kirkus Reviews "No, seriously - you're going to want to read this book because Postcards from Cookie will send you away satisfied." -- Long Island Pulse "Their journey of reunion is captured with sensitivity, as Caroline describes all the anxieties (including those of her adopted parents) in this touching diary which reveals the joys and sorrows of adoption." -- Iron Mountain Daily News "Downright riveting... Read it." -- Ebony "A 'must read' novel-like memoir." -- Black Enterprise
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Back cover copy

"There are moments in life that you envision. Winning the lottery. Meeting the love of your life. Cradling your newborn child for the first time. And, if you're adopted, discovering your birth parents. I had occasionally dared to imagine this moment. But I'd never imagined it would be like this."

Award-winning journalist Caroline Clarke was born in an era when adoptions were shameful and secret and sealed. Her story begins with a happy childhood in the Bronx, as the only child of educators, both with strong ties to their large West Indian families. She never had any desire to know her birth parents until her thirties when some health questions led her to contact Spence-Chapin Family Services.

The adoption agency's response sparked a series of stunning discoveries. Caroline knew her biological family and had so for more than twenty years. Her birth mother, nicknamed "Cookie," was the eldest sister of one of her dearest college friends; thus, Caroline's girlfriend was actually her aunt. Moreover, the family was a prominent one, storied in old Hollywood and known throughout the world for not just one but two generations of musical greatness, including the famous singer Natalie Cole and her iconic father, Nat King Cole, whose music had actually filled Caroline's life as she was growing up. Cookie was his first child.

And so Caroline's story begins again. Drawing on details provided by the agency and on her own investigative skills, she embarks on a life-changing relationship with Cookie that stretches from coast to coast, forged through e-mails, phone calls, and hundreds of postcards. The constancy, volume, and intimacy of their steady correspondence fills the days and distance between them, even as the two remain respectful of Caroline's connection with her devoted parents.

Through messages squeezed onto three-inch open-faced squares, they share confidences, take risks, unite their families, and ultimately build a bond like no other.

Postcards from Cookie is a story about family. It's about loss, reconciliation, and w one woman's acceptance of the secrets and lies she discovers about the people who have most shaped her life. An uplifting modern-day fairytale, this extraordinary story just happens to be true.
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About Caroline Clarke

Caroline Clarke has spent most of her career at the media company Black Enterprise, where throughout the years she has held several key positions. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Smith College and a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. A passionate advocate for adoption, she lives in New York with her family.
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Rating details

203 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 32% (64)
4 41% (83)
3 23% (46)
2 4% (8)
1 1% (2)
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